"A new set of advanced wireless technologies now promises to bring affordable, high-speed Internet connectivity to the masses. This set of technologies, and the market opportunity they create, has been termed the "Portable Internet", and is the subject of a new ITU report."
From the free summaries posted on the ITU website, I extracted these highlights:
- Portable Internet in this report means "a platform for high-speed data access using Internet Protocol (IP)"... it includes "advanced wireless technologies" such as Wi-Fi.
- Since 2000, Internet penetration has grown at a slower rate than mobile (blamed on the dot.com crash).
- Internet users often "face a trade-off between higher connection speeds and mobility" --> fixed-line technologies generally = higher speeds but low mobility; 3G mobile networks = greater mobility but at lower speeds.
- Here's a table (from ITU) of Portable Internet technologies:
A lot of those acronyms aren't mainstream yet, but within 5-10 years they may well be!
The Rise of Asia/Pacific
The Asia/Pacific region seems to be a particular area of growth for mobile technologies. I've just started reading a book called The Asia-Pacific Internet Handbook, which I hope will provide some insights into this trend towards the mobile internet. The ITU press release has this to say about it:
"The Asia-Pacific region passed the symbolic mark of one billion telecommunication users, mobile phones and fixed lines combined in October 2003. Until now, those users that wanted to have high-speed access to the Internet had to have a fixed-line connection. Before the end of this decade, another billion users of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are likely to be added to the region's networks, but the majority of them will be connected using radiocommunications."
In a separate press release, ITU reported that Asia-Pacific has overtaken North America in both Mobile subscriber numbers and Internet users. Largely due to China, where the huge population makes them a key country for the mobile internet.
Maybe I'm in the right part of the world after all ;-)
All of this augers well for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, which I'm willing to wager will be the 'Portable Internet Games' - or whatever the catchphrase for mobile internet will be by then!