The mobile internet in Europe is huge. This year it already accounts for €585 ($780) for every adult in the 13 major European countries, or a total of €512 billion ($682 billion) in revenues, and growing rapidly. M-payments, m-commerce, mobile entertainment and other applications are widespread, driven by some of the highest rates of smartphone adoption globally. By 2017, seven of the top ten countries for smartphone penetration will be in Europe, and the US will lag behind at number 11. Expect to see Europe continuing to drive innovation in the mobile space.
In less than a decade, the mobile Internet revolution has overtaken the digital revolution and is still accelerating. Mobile penetration is increasing, the costs of access and devices are coming down, and more and more people in both developed and developing economies are using the mobile Internet as their first—and often their only—means of going online. To be sure, there remain big issues of infrastructure, remote-area access, data security, and personal privacy, among others, to be addressed. But the combination of consumer demand and market-based innovation has consistently and successfully driven the mobile Internet’s growth, generating enormous economic and social benefits. As we have argued before, for almost everyone on the planet today, regardless of where he or she lives and works, the mobile Internet is already, or soon will be, a life-changing phenomenon.