There are now more smartphones in the world than inhabitants! That is to say that over 7 billion smart mobile devices are in use. On average 32 applications are downloaded on a smartphone, 90 % of those apps are free to download.These impressive numbers tend to confirm one major trend in mobile internet : People want and often need to have internet access. They want the services and applications to benefit from a “connected life” but, and above all, cost matters. This trend, far from being an epiphenomenon, is a worldwide marker of the smartphone users market. No matter where you live on the planet, getting access to the internet is a must. In some parts of the globe it can better people lives, and help them become self-sufficient. In others it will foster education or simply be the perfect entertainment companion or city guide.
No matter the usage and no matter where users stand on Maslow’s scale, the mobile internet fulfills a need. However, paying for it may build some “entry barriers” between “rich” and “poor” and not only in developed countries. If subscribing to a data plan seems to be a regular smartphone user’s act, the projects to connect the next 4 billion people cannot be the same.
First, because, as it already happens now with the first billion already connected, people do not want to be tied to a specific subscription and, secondly, because the extra Mega used outside the scope of their plan (over usage, roaming etc…) may turn a normal phone bill into an extremely unpleasant surprise. Lastly, because the current global 3G network services only account for less than 25% of the worldwide coverage. What is the point of paying for a data plan when about 75% of the planet is not covered by a data network? For some who live nowhere within range, this isn’t even an option.
This is maybe also one of the reasons why 90% of the applications downloaded worldwide are free. The 2010’s smartphone users are used to getting free basic services for most of the social accounts they use, private or professional, so they are a bit reluctant to pay upfront for an application they can’t have a taste of before committing further. However, free to download apps does not mean free to use…And that’s what smartphone users like. They can decide to upgrade, buy options or credits for their applications when they want. And when they use data on their smartphone they adopt the same consumption habit. Smartphone users are therefore not as versatile as they may seem, geeks or first time users, intensive or occasional, all that they seek is freedom of use and choice, cost control, quality services and…network availability.
In a nutshell, they want to Stay Connected.
How many apps do you need on your smartphone? Tell us in the comments below!