Mobile web users to top 1.7 bn by 2013

High-bandwidth networks and Web 2.0 collaborative business applications will ramp up mobile Internet services

Increased penetration of 2.5/3G networks and a surge in demand for Web 2.0 collaborative business applications will ramp up the number of subscribers to mobile Internet services by almost a billion in the next five years

This is the headline finding of new survey data from Juniper Research who predicts that mobile Internet services subscribers will rise from the current 577 million users to 1.7 billion by 2013.

Looking at the service provider angle, Juniper adds that established mobile players will face increasing competition from web-based brands and will have to adapt their commercial strategies to accommodate greater collaboration with other members of the value chain, if future revenue growth in the mobile web 2.0 space is to be achieved.

One key prediction is the emergence of an open mobile Internet. It believes that the key applications will include social networking; User Generated Content (UGC); Instant Messaging (IM); Location Based Services (LBS); Search calls for delivery of the mobile Internet as it was originally conceived. That is defined as an open environment in which users are able to share, collaborate and exploit content/information without any one party controlling the value chain.

Juniper says that as with the fixed Internet, many mobile web 2.0 applications will need to be provided at base cost/flat-data rates (or even free of charge), forcing industry players to seek new revenue streams. It expects the new mobile Internet to mark a fundamental shift for the industry towards the D2C (direct-to-consumer) model and will place growing pressure on mobile network operators (MNOs) and handset manufacturers in particular, to relinquish some of their control over the value chain, by opening up their networks/devices to third-parties.

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