A Nielsen-conducted survey (n=5K, released in Feb.) for Tellabs, with respondents in the US and Europe, found rising expected demand for data services and mobile Internet access. The survey data speak to future intention rather than behavior, but they point to significant growth for data services and mobile Internet access over the next couple years:
The research, conducted in the five larger Western European countries and the United States by The Nielsen Company for Tellabs, analysed 10 mobile data services. It reveals that more than half of the approximately 200 million mobile data users in those countries expect to increase use in the next two years . . .
The detailed breakdown of the top five services that non-users intend to start using shows that anticipated demand is not evenly split. U.S. consumers will drive more new mobile Internet use than Europeans: Around half of U.S. non-users of the mobile Internet intend to use it in the next two years, compared with a third of non-users in Europe.
Intend to start using mobile data services in the next two years:
Source: Nielsen (2009)
What the chart above shows is that almost half of non-users in the US today anticipate adopting the mobile Internet over the course of the next couple years. Price will be a big influencer and driver of this adoption, but also group behavior and culture.
If we assume approximately 60 million mobile Internet users in the US today (based on the most recent comScore data). That means roughly 180 million mobile subscribers in the US are not "online." If 50% of that group adopts the mobile Internet in the next two years, that would mean 150 million mobile Internet users total by 2011.
Those figures are aggressive but the culture around mobile Internet adoption is shifting and these data reflect that shift.