Mobile internet on rise, but not ruling web yet
A third of all households used a mobile phone to access the internet last year, according to Statistics New Zealand.
This is a 26% increase in mobile phone data use since 2009, when just 8% of households made use of it, states the Household Use of Information and Communication Technology 2012 survey.
Plenty of choices are now available to access the Internet – the number of households who get online using multiple devices has almost doubled from 21% in 2009 to 40%.
The desktop computer is no longer the preferred pick for internet usage – in 2009 it was used in two thirds of homes for internet, but now getting online at home is a job shared with a combination of other devices.
Dr David Stewart, senior lecturer in marketing at Victoria University, says the ways mobile technology companies are marketing their services have an impact on how mobile internet usage has jumped so quickly.
“Whether these companies are privately owned entities or not may change the way they can provide expensive services,” Dr Stewart says.
The high costs of providing mobile data services means companies need to find the resources for competitive deals to keep people interested, and this may not mean the uptake of services will continue at the same speed.
Over time, service providers will explore ways to make the cost go down, as seen with last year’s TelstraClear and Vodaphone merger, he says.
New technology is often slow to catch on with consumers and is an example of diffusion theory at work.
“Experts and industry professionals pass their knowledge and acceptance of products onto the general public and it takes a while for it to be accepted.”
He uses convergence of technology as an example.
“Ten years ago there was a lot of talk about convergence of ideas to market products. Convergence is upon us now.”
In wireless internet enabled televisions and increasingly high tech devices, convergence of technology is familiar to households.
“It would be interesting to see how specific numbers of smartphones affect the data of the usage.”
Smartphones account for over half of all mobile phone sales, according to an article last month which references the rapid rise of people who want to purchase them.
The release on household ICT usage also notes other changes as Kiwis get more confident and dependent on being connected.
Half of all surveyed or at least 1.8 million people – had been shopping online in the last year.
Overall, four out of five homes in New Zealand now have internet.
Broadband connections are also rising in rural areas with two thirds of rural households using broadband, from 55% to 68% of all rural households.
In comparison, urban areas hooked up to broadband have risen from 64% in 2009 to 76%.
Dialup has almost disappeared with 90% of all recent internet users (in the past year) on broadband connections.
Just 4% of the overall population use dialup compared to 12% connected to it three years ago.
Laptops are now the most popular choice to get online as the choice for 61% of all recent internet users.
In just over three years, mobile devices which once made up 11% of internet access are now used in 42% of households.