More than two billion people globally will use mobile devices to connect to the Internet in 2016, with countries like India, China and Indonesia leading the way, research firm IDC said.
Overall, an estimated 3.2 billion people (or 44 per cent of the world's population) will have access to the Internet in 2016, IDC said in a statement. "Growth in Internet access is taking place around the world, but some countries are seeing particularly rapid growth.
China, India, and Indonesia lead the way and will account for almost half of the gains in access globally over the course of the next five years," IDC added. The combination of lower-cost devices and inexpensive wireless networks are making accessibility easier in countries with populations that could not previously afford them, it said.
According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), India was expected to reach 402 million by December 2015, registering a growth of 49 per cent over 2014. About 306 million of these are expected to access Internet from their mobile devices.
IDC said the global mobile Internet userbase is forecast to grow at two per cent annually through 2020 unless significant new methods of Internet access are introduced. Efforts by Google, SpaceX, and Facebook among others to make the Internet available to the remaining 4 billion people via high altitude planes, balloons, and satellites are underway.
However, it remains unclear how successful these endeavors will be and when they will be operational at scale, IDC said. "Over the next five years, global growth in the number of people accessing the Internet exclusively through mobile devices will grow by more than 25 per cent per year while the amount of time we spend on them continues to grow.
This change in the way we access the Internet is fueling explosive growth in mobile commerce and mobile advertising," Scott Strawn, Program Director of Strategic Advisory Service said. The study found that more than a billion people use the Internet to bank online, to stream music, and to find a job. More than two billion use email and read news online and more people than ever before are making purchases online, it added.