COVID-19 accelerated the growth of mobile internet users

DUE to the pandemic, governments around the world had imposed lockdowns and movement restrictions to curb the spreading of COVID-19. People and businesses then turned to digital channels for information, education, to stay in touch with family and friends as well as entertainment.

Influenced by lockdowns imposed worldwide, there was a spike in data traffic and increased use of broadband services as more people relied on connected devices and internet of things (IoT) devices throughout the pandemic.

As a result, in the first quarter of 2020, the number of mobile connections increased to approximately 7.9 billion compared to 5.2 billion at the end of 2019. It is predicted that there will be more than four billion mobile internet users by the end of 2020.

According to KPMG UK, Europe saw a spike in internet traffic during the peak of isolation, going to as high as 70% in 2 to 3 weeks. Streaming services observed a jump of approximately 12%, with tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, and YouTube reportedly having to lower video qualities in Europe to ease network strains.

Based on Google, Temasek and Bain & Company’s recent e-Conomy Southeast Asia 2020 report, total internet users rose to 400 million in 2020 (with 40 milion people came online for the first time this year) which accounts to nearly 70% of its population. Additionally, Southeast Asia’s internet sectors has hit US$100 bill this year and are on track to cross US$300 bil by 2025.

In fact, even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit, the usage of internet was already on the rise. Just that this pandemic accelerated the digitalisation and adoption of technology. Looking ahead, the number of new mobile internet subscribers will continue to move uptrend.

GSMA Intelligence, which provides data and analysis for the mobile industry, forecasted mobile connections will increase to 8.6 billion by 2025 with 610 million new added connections in which two-thirds of it are coming from Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa.



“In Asia Pacific – one of the fast-growing regions with nearly 500 million new subscribers since 2014 –will account for an additional 247 million new subscribers by 2025,” said Forest Interactive Sdn Bhd, a Kuala Lumpur based telecommunications platform provider.

“On top of that, the number of mobile internet subscribers will increase by 663 million people by 2025. This will bring the total number of mobile internet users in the region to around 2.7 billion, with China and India accounting for two-thirds of the increase.” – Dec 27, 2020

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