Mobile Internet Usage in Pakistan to Overtake Desktop Internet in 2014: Study

Mobile-web-surfing

Users accessing internet from their mobile devices will overtake the number of desktop internet users in 2014, predicts a study published by IDC and sponsored by Google.

Study, that is based on survey of over 1,000 Pakistanis, revealed that desktop is dominant computing medium with 91 percent of respondents owning a PC at home. However, 45 percent of those also own a smartphone or tablet. 18 percent cite the latter as their primary device.

Mobile devices are gaining momentum: 86 percent use PCs to access the Internet daily, 77 percent use smartphones, 73 percent use feature phones and 59 percent use tablets daily.

This trend follows a decline in the prices of smartphones and tablets, and anticipated launch of 3G services.

Survey report said that Internet-capable feature phones are expected to continue to play an important role.

Report said that shift to mobile usage for accessing internet is also due to unreliability of the electricity supply which is also helping to promote the usage of tablets and smartphones in Pakistan.

“We think 2014 is the year mobile Internet overtakes desktop Internet in Pakistan. Consumers are really starting to embrace smartphones and tablets,” said Tania Aidrus, Manager for Asian Growth Markets, Google Asia Pacific.

Pakistani digital consumers are engaging more with the Internet than ever before: of those surveyed, 70 percent spend time daily on the Internet while 60 percent say it is also where they liked to spend most of their personal time.

The study revealed that home is the preferred location for Internet access — even for mobile-only users, who prefer to use their home wi-fi connection. The average hours spent on the Internet are 2.25 hours a day on weekdays and 3 hours a day on weekends.

The top three activities in Pakistan both on desktop and mobile Internet are: social media, email and general search. Interestingly, digital Pakistanis like to learn on their smartphones with educational content coming in fourth.

Also popular on smartphones are online banking, researching financial services and investment, and bill payments — pointing to a near future where digitally literate Pakistanis make the Web work for them.

Digital Consumer Survey
High household ownership of personal computers (PCs) among online users. Mobile devices are gaining momentum among the online users
Digital Consumer Survey 01
PCs are the primary device for accessing the internet but mobile devices are gaining momentum
Digital Consumer Survey 02
Social networking, email and search are the 3 most frequent online activities

The main challenge of Internet proliferation in Pakistan are the quality and reliability of connectivity — including poor speed or bandwidth availability, perceived value-for-money, customer service quality, limited choice of plans and frequency of service interruptions. The unreliability of the power supply is also a factor.

With digital Pakistanis living more of their lives online, the main opportunities are related to the economic contribution of the Internet, especially for small-medium businesses, as well as nutritious and local Internet content: education, research, financial services.

There are over 2 billion Internet users today. Throughout the 2000s, the Internet has been defined by developed countries, but it is now being defined by massive, developing countries like Pakistan.

“Emerging markets are starting from mobile, so if we lower Internet access barriers to consumers, businesses and communities, then we can expect growth far more rapid than what we’re already seeing,” said Aidrus.

As other markets have demonstrated, growth on the Internet encourages growth across the economy.

More businesses online means more information for people and incentives to create better networks and content that better reflect local culture and needs. That will make the Internet more valuable and the economy stronger for Pakistan.


  • aamir7

    While I agree to the value this report is going to add, I must contend that sample size of 1,000 respondents is too small.

    As per certain data-sampling rules, at least 2,400 individuals (out of 30 million internet population of Pakistan) should have participated in the survey to formulate the study.

    Also, through the findings, it appears that a certain social class was questioned only instead of applying random data collection techniques.

    For example, 45 percent of Pakistanis don’t own a smartphone or tablet, unlike found in this survey.

    • Azi

      Agreed Ammir bhai

  • abobobilly

    Disregarding the calculations of this article, it was an interesting read. However, i really don’t think its gonna happen anytime soon, not unless we start to get 3G or 4G services here which make people actually shift to Mobile Phone from PC.

    Remember we are talking about “Mobile Internet”. That doesn’t mean Internet running THROUGH Mobile i.e. WiFi …. which is what most people these days use.

    • Salman Abbas

      No, you got it wrong. Read the starting sentence of the article “Users accessing internet from their mobile devices”. Not necessarily via mobile networks.

  • Asim A.

    Two pages long study and not a single reference?
    How can I believe you?

  • Bilal Iqbal

    Despite of poor quality of research and sampling etc.. this article definitely points out the trend of people in the world for shifting internet usage over mobile devices.. this is due to low and mid range Android based smart phones which made it easy to use internet and other services against a reasonable price….

  • Editor @ Ephlux Insights

    I don’t see this happening till we get to 3G.

    GPRS is way too slow, unreliable and chokes at peak hours. Another thing that PTA needs to do is to make sure SLA’s are agreed to. Every ISP in Pakistan hides behind ‘we are giving you shared connection and can’t guarantee bandwidth’ – what the eff! – there should be some minimal level of guaranteed service.

    Commuters using the motorway between Lahore-Islamabad experience the long stretches where GPRS is so slow that you can’t even get e-mail let alone browse hi-fidelity internet portals. Once 3G arrives, yes it will sharply tilt towards mobile. However, also note that less than 5% of users in Pakistan have smart phones. That probably will change too when there is 3G and people can access richer content creating a demand stimulus for smart phones. 2014 will be interesting.

    I hope the 3G auction goes through by March of next year as promised by PTA chairman. if it happens we will begin to see 3G speeds by 2nd half of 2014 once Telco’s had a quarter to roll out the service.

    • oSA

      in the end of February 3G launched…. but it will be too expensive……