Internet Services and the Shift toward Mobile Internet and Ubiquitous Connectivity

Internet Services and the Shift toward Mobile Internet and Ubiquitous Connectivity

Mohamed Abdalla Nour (University of Sharjah, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch099

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The revolution in wireless and cellular communications has led to a remarkable growth in smart mobile devices capable of Internet access and mobile web browsing. In particular, the advent of the third generation (3G) cellular networks, followed by fourth generation (4G) networks with tremendous increases in transmission capacities, has accelerated the convergence of the Internet and wireless telecommunications and networks. The Internet is thus becoming increasingly mobile and user-centric, with mobility, ubiquity, and anywhere/anytime flexibility characterizing the new mobile Internet. With the 4G communications technology increasingly replacing 2G and 3G cellular networks, the future potential of mobile communications in general, and mobile Internet in particular, seems to be enormous. Fourth-generation cellular networks are envisioned to be truly broadband systems, allowing for significantly higher transmission, ranging from 10Mbps to 100Mbpds (Dekleva, Shim, Varshney, & Knoerzer, 2007), and providing global roaming across multiple wireless and mobile networks (Varshney & Jain, 2001).

Taking advantage of the concomitant advancements and improvements in cellular and wireless telecommunications, mobile devices continue their unabated evolution, proliferation, and diffusion. Mobile phones in particular are increasingly becoming miniature computing devices, with processing power and storage capacities that ravel desktop computers of a few years ago. Smart phones are a special type of these devices with integrated features and a growing list of advanced and innovative features and capabilities enabled by continuous advances and innovations in hardware, sensing, navigation, and monitoring technologies, and fuelled by competition among the major industry players. Given its remarkable potential, the smartphone has been recognized as a game-changing and user-empowering information technology (Dery, Kolb, & MacCormick, 2014; Jung, 2014).

The penetration rates for mobile phones and mobile broadband continue to rise worldwide and in several economies in the developing and the developed worlds (ITU, 2014a & 2014b). High penetration rates are occurring even in developing nations, such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and many of the gulf countries, supported by significant investments in 3G and 4G network infrastructures (see Table 1). Additionally, according to the Cisco (2015)‘s Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2014 to 2019, worldwide mobile data traffic will increase nearly tenfold between 2014 and 2019, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57 percent, and smartphones, laptops, and tablets will drive about 94 percent of this global mobile data traffic increase. This proliferation of mobile phones, particularly smartphones, has propelled an enormous growth in mobile device applications (apps), and has accelerated the adoption of mobile Internet.

Table 1.
Mobile cellular and mobile broadband penetration rates for 2010-2013
Country/RegionMobile Phone Penetration RatesMobile Broadband Penetration Rates
Saudi Arabia189.2%194.5%187.4%184.2%n.a.40.8%56.4%85.1%
Rep. Korea104.8%107.7%109.4%111.0%97.7%104.3%105.1%105.3%
Arab Region87.9%96.7%102.6%105.1%10.2%13.3%14.3%19.0%

Source: ITU (2014b).

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Entertainment: Downloading, playing, and enjoying entertainment media (such as games, music, and video) from the Internet.

Mobile Advantage: The convenience, flexibility, and personal satisfaction provided by an Internet service or application when delivered through the mobile Internet instead of the fixed Internet.

E-Transactions: Buying goods and services over or through the Internet (same as e-Commerce).

Technology Diffusion: The widespread adoption and use of a particular technology.

Technology Acceptance: Adopting and accepting to use a particular technology.

Preferential Adoption: Choosing by way of preference one Internet channel over another.

E-Communications: Sending and receiving (communicating) information (data, voice, and video) through the Internet.

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