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Mobile Phones to Rival PC for Internet Access

Today, the personal computer remains the dominant platform to access the Internet globally. However, Internet access via the mobile phone actually outpaces wireless access from a notebook PC in many of areas of the world � a statistic driven largely by the massive install base of mobile phones throughout the world as well as more developed wireless networks, according to Ipsos Insight.

Indeed, Internet browsing via a wireless device is showing robust growth in many global markets. France and the U.K are exhibiting the strongest growth in this trend, while Internet usage via mobile phone in Japan also continues to grow rapidly. Today, four in 10 adults browse the Internet on their wireless handset in Japan, double the rate from 2003. However, growth in Internet browsing on a mobile phone is flattening in other leading markets, such as the U.S. and Canada, where wireless Internet access via notebook PC appears to be emerging as the stronger out-of-home Internet platform.

Globally, just over one-fourth (28 percent) of mobile phone owners worldwide have browsed the Internet on a wireless handset, up slightly from 25 percent at the end 2004. Interestingly, growth in this behavior for 2005 was driven by the older users (age 35+), indicating that surfing the Internet on a mobile phone is emerging as a mainstream activity, no longer dominated by the traditional early adopter segment � young males � typical of many new consumer technologies.

In addition to web-browsing, a number of other mobile phone activities witnessed significant growth this year. SMS text messaging remains the most popular activity among consumers, while other communication-based wireless activities are also growing. Over half (52 percent) of all mobile phone households today have sent or received a text message, and over a third (37 percent) have sent or received e-mail on a mobile phone. In general, almost all wireless device activities experienced growth in 2005 � including m-commerce, conducting financial transactions, sending or receiving digital pictures, and downloading entertainment content.

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