Mobile/Executive Summary/Trends/Strategies

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Introduction

Based on our research, we have come up with four trends that are going to define the mobile experience globally, and especially in the Global South, in the next five years. The trends have served as guideposts for Wikipedia's mobile strategy, and are outlined below. It is important for Wikipedia to dedicate resources to develop a robust mobile platform and since mobile users will be segmented based on their usage, Wikipedia should develop two mobile platforms to provide a great mobile user experience.

Trends summary

  • Mobile gateway: In the coming years, the mobile web will grow faster than desktop Internet, and most users in the Global South will come online using the mobile web.The lukewarm growth in the mobile web users its enhanced capital investment of new mobile sets and low purchasing capability in developing countries like INDIA AND

China. The problem or issue requires immediate redressal by induction of low cost additional platforms to the 2G SETS FOR ANOTHER 5 YEARS by which time the said 2 G sets will outlive leading to fresh purchases of developed new 3G sets. Alternatively more publicity is required to surrender back the 2G sets now in vogue in place of 3 G sets on a nominal or applicable enhanced cost to provide sophisticated 3 G service to the existing and new 3 G mobile users. This requires a standard guarantee in the price line of the value added 3G product for another 5 years besides the monthly internet licensing fee.

  • Segmented users: Despite the deployment of 3G services in most countries in the Global South, the majority of users will not have access to faster networks or devices, which segments users based on access speeds. The functioning of mobile web in cities is laudable in some parts but in districts and taluq or sub districts and villages in south requires stability mostly due to less working channels, slippages in power and defective inter connected systems and cell towers working.
  • Barriers to mass adoption of 3G: There will be significant barriers to mass adoption of 3G networks in the Global South, such as the high costs of monthly data plans and expensive 3G devices. Still some people are under wrong notions that if internet is seen for major part oof the day, their brains will be changed to bad habits including their personal growth, children growth and family growth. This requires to be addressed.
  • Social networking and the mobile web: The increasing popularity of social networking websites like Facebook will nudge users to go online using mobile phones.

Recommendations summary

• Develop and support a robust mobile platform for Wikipedia: provide editing tools for mobile versions of Wikipedia and pilot with English Wikipedia.

• Develop partnerships with network providers in key regions to provide thin client at no or low cost data access. (The mobile Internet user experience will be segmented based on speed of access of data in the Global South, and Wikimedia should have a two-pronged mobile strategy targeting both those users who will be using high-speed networks to access mobile Internet and a larger group of users who will continue to access mobile Internet on slow-speed networks.)

• Develop and support the mobile gateway (m.wikipedia.org) for faster networks and 3G devices with multimedia features and the ability to share content.

• Develop and support Wikipedia’s thin client (mobile.wikipedia.org) to provide those who don’t have 3G access or devices that support 3G connectivity with access to Wikipedia's content.

• Since Facebook is now the focal point of the mobile web experience, provide integration of mobile versions of Wikipedia sites with Facebook mobile.

• Provide a robust mobile user experience with easy search, hot fixes for font size, and the ability to collapse and expand sections of articles.

• Provide location-aware information on the mobile.

Trend: mobile will be the gateway to the Internet

Short Description

• In the coming years, the mobile web will grow faster than desktop Internet, and most users in the Global South will come online using the mobile web.

Trend

The mobile web is growing at a phenomenal pace, and it is forecast to overtake the desktop web in 2014: in other words, more users will access the Internet using a mobile phone rather than a PC for the first time. Approximately 900 million people currently access the web with mobile phones, compared to 1.4 billion desktop Internet users. In 2014, mobile web users will outpace desktop users (approximately 1.7 billion mobile users to approximately 1.65 billion desktop users). By 2015, the number of mobile web users is expected to increase to 2 billion. Assuming an annual growth rate of about 2 percent annually between 2010 and 2015 in cell phone subscriptions (77 percent of the world's population will have cell phone subscriptions in 2010 and 87 percent will have subscriptions in 2015), about 6.35 billion people worldwide will have a mobile phone subscription and approximately 1 out of 3 subscribers(or 2 billion out of 6.35 billion) will be accessing the Internet on mobile phones.

One of the biggest drives for growth of the mobile web is the high cost of broadband in the Global South. According to a report by ITU (a United Nations agency for information technology issues) “broadband remains the single most expensive and the least affordable service in the developing world”: the mobile web is cheaper than broadband.



Mobile v s desktop Internet.xlsx-1.jpg

The Mobile Web Will Outpace the Desktop Web Source: Morgan Stanley, Mobile Internet Report, 2009


Suggested strategies for Wikipedia

  • Develop and support mobile versions of key Wikipedia sites in multiple languages.
  • Provide a robust Wikipedia user experience on mobile including auto fixes for font size, easy search-through autofills, and the ability to collapse and expand sections of articles.
  • Beyond increasing readership, provide tools that enable users to edit Wikipedia on mobile: pilot these tools on English Wikipedia, and later provide editing tools for other Wikipedias.

Technological implications

  • Integrate the API for the mobile version with the main website.

Trend: users in Global South will be segmented based on devices and networks.

Short Description

• Despite the deployment of 3G services in most countries in the Global South, the majority of users will not have access to faster networks or devices, segmenting users based on access speeds.

Trend

With the ubiquity of mobile devices and the increasing popularity of mobile Internet, 3G networks are being rapidly deployed around the world. Countries in the Global South and the Global North are switching to 3G networks from slower 2G networks. Morgan Stanley forecast that 3G penetration will grow exponentially, reaching 2,776 million (43 percent of global mobile phone subscribers in 2014), but growth in 3G networks will be concentrated in the Global North.

Depending on usage of devices and networks, users in the Global South will be of two types: (1) Those who access the mobile Internet through 3G networks and smartphones. These users will be more similar in user behavior to users in the Global North who use smartphones and 3G networks than to users in their own countries who don’t have faster devices or networks. (2) Users who use low-end devices on slow networks.


WorldWide 3G Forecasts

Region 2007 2008 2009 2010E 2011E 2012E 2013E 2014E
W Europe 17 25 39 54 67 77 85 92
Japan 72 84 91 96 98 99 99 100
Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) 4 5 7 13 19 25 31 37 (63)
North America 20 29 38 46 54 61 67 74
Eastern Europe 2 5 9 16 26 29 34 40
Middle East & Africa 1 3 7 12 19 25 30 35 (65)
South & Central America 1 2 4 7 10 12 15 17 (83)

Source: Morgan Stanley Mobile Internet Report, 2009

Suggested strategies for Wikipedia

  • Wikimedia should have a two-pronged mobile strategy for users who will be using high-speed networks to access mobile Internet and for a larger group who will still access mobile Internet on slow-speed networks.
  • Develop and support the mobile gateway (m.wikipedia.org) for faster networks and 3G devices with multimedia features and the ability to share content.
  • Develop and support Wikipedia’s thin client (mobile.wikipedia.org) for mobile to provide access to Wikipedia's content to those who don’t have 3G access or devices that support 3G connectivity. Develop partnerships with network providers in key regions to provide the thin client at no or low-cost data access.

Trend: barriers to mass adoption of 3G networks will continue to exist

Short description

  • Even in 2015, there will be significant barriers to mass adoption of 3G networks in the Global South such as high costs of monthly data plans and expensive 3G devices.

Trend

While mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous, most users in the Global South use low-end or secondhand mobile devices: 3G devices remain out of reach for most mobile users. In addition, unlimited data plans are extremely expensive in the Global South, which leads to a need for a mobile thin client that can be accessed by those that pay for data by the kilobyte. (For example, the cost of an unlimited data plan in Egypt is about 50 percent of the GDP.)

3G Devices Remain Expensive

Region 3G Device as Price as % of GDP/capita 3G Penetration (2008)
Africa 6.9% 2%
Developing Asia 4.1% 4%
Latin America 1.8% 2%
Middle East 1.8% 7%
E. Europe 1.2% 2%
Developed Asia 0.4% 75%
W Europe 0.4% 31%
N America 0.2% 29%

Source: Morgan Stanley Mobile Internet Report, 2009

Suggested strategies for Wikipedia

  • Develop and support Wikipedia’s thin client (mobile.wikipedia.org) so mobile can provide those who don’t have 3G access or devices that support 3G connectivity with access to Wikipedia's content.

Trend: social networking will continue to rule the mobile web

Short description

  • The increasing popularity of social networking websites like Facebook will nudge users to go online on their phones.

Trend

Online social networking on mobile phones has grown exponentially around the globe, and this trend will continue. More and more users will be nudged to go online just to stay in touch with their friends and family using the mobile web. According to Novarra, a provider of mobile Internet gateways and browser platforms, social networking, search, video and display ads on phones have grown significantly. In fact, social networking websites rank highly among websites accessed on the mobile web. According to Opera’s rankings, at least one social networking website features among the top five mobile websites in the US, Russia, the UK, India and South Africa.

Social Networking is Growing on the Mobile Web Mobile content growth, 1st to 3rd quarter, 2009

Content Type Growth (%)
Social Networks (page views) 190
Search (queries) 87
Video (views) 74
Display Ads (views) 52

Source: Novarra

Suggested strategies for Wikipedia

  • Since Facebook is the focal point of the mobile web experience, integrate mobile versions of Wikipedia sites with Facebook mobile.