You are here

Internet Society Study Provides New Insight into Mobile Internet Use in Asia-Pacific

18 February 2016

Mobile is the primary means of online access for most, but its use is still largely restricted to basic communications needs

[Singapore] The Internet Society’s Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau today released the findings of a study that explores the behaviors and preferences of mobile Internet users in the region. While the results of the online survey highlight the extent to which the Internet has become a mobile phenomenon -- with half of those surveyed using mobile as their main means of online access -- it also highlights that the shift in using the mobile Internet for purposes other than basic communication is yet to happen. 

Conducted across 37 countries, the survey collected data from more than 1,600 respondents on frequency and patterns of use, devices and operating systems, as well as levels of satisfaction around the user experience. It found that younger people, specifically those below 25 years old, have a more diverse engagement with the mobile Internet, using it for activities that range from social networking and entertainment, to jobs and education. A similar trend was observed among respondents who are either mobile first, or have switched to mobile as their primary means of going online.

However, the study also revealed that the mobile Internet in Asia-Pacific continues to be seen primarily as a communications platform, with more than three-quarters commonly using it for a range of functions that include email, web searches, social media, and voice and messaging apps. By contrast, less than half of survey respondents use it for purposes that are more closely associated with socio-economic development, such as e-banking and government e-services. 

Rajnesh Singh, Director of the Internet Society’s Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau, said, “The mobile revolution has fundamentally transformed the way we access the Internet globally, and nowhere more so than here in the Asia-Pacific region where Internet access and mobile are largely synonymous with each other. The challenge we face now, at a point where more than half of the region’s 4.3 billion people are still offline, is to cultivate greater choice and encourage use of the mobile Internet in a way that develops its capacity to be more than just another means of communication.”

Key findings outlined in the report include:
1.The mobile Internet is primarily used for information and communication, with 90% of respondents using their mobile device to send and receive emails, and 87% use it both for social media and to search for information. 
2.Overall, 47% of those surveyed use a mobile device as their primary means of online access. 
3.Smartphones are overwhelmingly the mobile device of choice across all age groups of Internet users in Asia-Pacific, but highest among 15-24 year-olds.  For other mobile devices, such as tablets and wearable devices, ownership was lowest among the younger respondents, with just over one quarter of 15-24 year-olds owning a tablet.
4.The Android operating system has the largest share (80%) of mobile Internet users in the region, which is consistent with its worldwide market share.
5.Little over half of the respondents said they were satisfied (43%) or very satisfied (8%) with their mobile data connection speed. 
6.The majority of those surveyed noted that faster connection speeds (77%) and lower data costs (68%) would encourage them to use their mobile data connection more often.

While the survey points to ways to increase the coverage and affordability of mobile broadband, the preference by many for connectivity over Wi-Fi also presents an opportunity to develop other wireless platforms and technologies that could allow future users in Asia-Pacific to access the Internet more cheaply, reliably and securely.

For more information and to read the full report on the survey findings, please visit:

Further insight into global mobile Internet trends can also be found in the Internet Society Global Internet Report 2015.

About the Internet Society:
The Internet Society,, is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership around the world. It is also the organizational home for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). With its principled vision, substantial technological foundation and its global presence, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone.

Media Contact:
Noelle Francesca de Guzman,