The Missing 3.4B Internet Users

Over the next 5 years there will be 3.4B additional Internet users based on numbers from an Ericsson report released today. This is more than the number of users online today (Google says 2.9B users). These new users will not have used the Internet before and will have their first experience of the Internet on a Smartphone (and mostly these Smartphones will be Android) and will not have access to a PC at all. Most of these people will be from the Developing world and most of these will be from India and China.

So in 5 years the Internet will be the same but just with more than double the current users…. right?

The Internet will be very different in 5 years time

The nature and use of this new Internet population is so different from today that this new Internet will be very different for this new population. These new users will be mobile first and mobile only. Most new content generation will be from phones not PCs as is the case today and there will be a new set of phone Apps to create content — and a whole new set of mobile products/services to go with these apps.

Of course Facebook will still be there and because the mobile Facebook app does content generation as well as consumption Facebook might well survive the sweeping changes other Internet services will suffer from.

New Services

The new services will have to cope with different circumstances. Multiple languages, multiple unicode fonts, sporadic e-commerce capabilities and sporadic Internet connectivity and variety of wireless speeds. The business models will also be different. The amount of money that can be made per user in the developing world is less than 1/10th of that that can be made in the west, but the saving factor is there are many more potential users. Thus only large population services will survive. Low population services will be much more difficult.

Of course I am working on some of these new services and anyone that wants to know more please contact me.

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