Categorized | Science & Technology

Going Mobile

With broadband penetration still lagging, Indonesian consumers are becoming more attached to mobile Internet compared to other Southeast Asian countries, a survey showed.

A Nielsen poll released on Monday showed that 48 percent of Indonesian users accessed the Web through cellphones, compared to 36 percent in Thailand, 35 percent in Singapore and 29 percent in Vietnam.

“Phones and tablets offer easy access to the Internet for many Indonesians without having to rely on broadband services at home,” said Irawati Pratignyo, a Nielsen managing director.

The trend is expected to grow, with 53 percent of Indonesian respondents saying they would go online in the next 12 months through their mobile phones and 30 percent through other handheld gadgets such as tablet PCs.

The Nielsen study polled 11,700 respondents in nine major Indonesian cities from January through March.

The survey reflects heavy phone usage in Indonesia, with around 66 percent of citizens, or about 159 million people, using cellphones as of this month, according to consumer habits tracker TNS Mobile Life.

Izak Jenie, a director at cellphone company Nexian, said the mobile Internet craze had spread to rural areas, where customers increasingly demanded Web-ready mobile phones to access social networking sites.

“This trend is also spurred by growing numbers of Facebook and Twitter users in the country,” he said. “The era of voice and mail has been replaced by data.”

However, high mobile Web usage is only a tiny percentage of Indonesia’s overall Internet penetration, pegged by the government at 2 percent of the population, with many citizens still not wired due to the lack of supporting infrastructure.

One in five Indonesians has Internet access, less than the regional average of 38 percent. Internet cafes are the most common way to access the Web in the country, according to Nielsen.

“In markets such as Singapore, the availability of Internet infrastructure and pricing plans facilitate Internet penetration from their homes, while Indonesian consumers have a greater necessity to seek other avenues of Internet access,” Irawati said.

The state wants to raise Internet penetration to 30 percent by 2014 under its National Broadband Network program, estimated to cost up to Rp 169 trillion ($19.8 billion) and designed to boost the nation’s economy.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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