Emerging TechnologyMobileThe Utilitarian Life of the Mobile Internet

The Utilitarian Life of the Mobile Internet

The mobile Internet population uses the Web in utilitarian ways.

Mobile Web users still approach the Internet as a utilitarian tool for vital information, rather than as a platform for entertainment. The Mobile Internet Report published by Telephia identifies email, weather and maps among the most accessed site categories by mobile users.

E-mail is the number-one use of the Internet on a mobile device. Of the 191 million U.S. wireless users, 4.8 percent access email on their devices. The highest saturation of mobile email users (41 percent) falls into the 35 to 54 age group. Three email services rank in the 10 most frequented Web sites accessed by mobile users. Yahoo Mail is the second-most accessed site with a 2.4 percent subscriber reach. MSN Hotmail, in third place, is reached by 2.1 percent of wireless users. AOL Mail is ninth on the list, with just one percent of users accessing mail through the site.

The second-ranked category accessed by mobile users is weather, with a 3.9 percent subscriber reach. The Weather Channel dominates the weather sites, ranking number one among the 10 top mobile Web sites. Again, the 35 to 54-year-olds dominate the weather checkers, with 43 percent of weather users falling into that age group.

“Business users, especially business travelers, will be most likely to access Web sites that provide time-critical information,” Kanishka Agarwal, VP of new products at Telephia, told ClickZ Stats.

Top U.S. Mobile Internet Categories, June 2005 (%)
Subscriber Age Breakdown
(% of audience for the category)
Web Site Category Subscriber Reach 18-24 25-34 35-54 55+
E-mail 4.8 19 29 41 11
Weather 3.9 20 28 43 10
Search 2.9 24 30 32 14
Sports 2.5 18 30 41 12
News/politics 2.1 14 22 45 18
Entertainment 2.1 18 42 33 6
City Guides/maps 2.1 23 34 36 8
Games 2.1 21 40 34 5
Portals 1.4 4 47 33 17
Business/finance 1.2 20 17 41 21
Note: The entertainment category includes movies, music, online magazines, celebrity news, horoscopes, and tarot reading Web sites. Games and Sports are tracked in two separate categories. Search URLs are broken out separately from the Portals category (e.g., search.yahoo.com vs. www.yahoo.com).
Source: Telephia, June 2005

MapQuest and Yahoo Driving Directions place seven and 10 on the chart listing the most frequented mobile Internet sites. Search ranks third on the category list with Google and Yahoo the most used search engines.

“Utility-oriented information is easy to deliver and render on devices since it is often textual,” said Agarwal. “As device capabilities as well as network bandwith improve, richer, more visual lifestyle and entertainment Web sites should gain greater traction.”

Beyond the pure utility of email and weather, many use their phones to get information on sports, news, politics, entertainment, games, business and finance.

Top U.S. Mobile Internet Web Sites, June 2005
Web Site Subscriber Reach (%) Average Sessions per User per Month
The Weather Channel 2.5 6.2
Yahoo Mail 2.4 6.3
MSN Hotmail 2.1 6.0
Google Search 2.1 7.4
ESPN 1.8 7.3
Yahoo Search 1.4 5.4
MapQuest 1.1 4.8
CNN 1.1 8.0
AOL Mail 1.0 2.8
Yahoo Driving Directions 1.0 3.1
Note: The entertainment category includes movies, music, online magazines, celebrity news, horoscopes, and tarot reading Web sites. Games and Sports are tracked in two separate categories. Search URLs are broken out separately from the Portals category (e.g., search.yahoo.com vs. www.yahoo.com).
Source: Telephia, 2005

The Mobile Internet Report was compiled with data from the month of June, 2005, and includes more than 1,200 panelists who responded to questions regarding their mobile Internet usage and demographics. The report is a subset of Telephia’s Audience Metrics product suite. The suite tracks audience and measures performance of mobile content and applications.

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