Mobile internet use to skyrocket
With the launch of 3G network in Lebanon, Telecommunications experts expect to see upswing in mobile internet usage as Lebanese would spend more hours on their mobile phones than computer screens.
While the total number of Internet users in Lebanon reached 1.3 million in 2010, up from 1 million in 2009, according to International Telecommunications Union (ITU), most Lebanese users spend hours upon hours browsing, reading RSS feeds, chatting on Facebook and updating Twitter. For experts, however, mobile internet use, is to be most popular in Lebanon, in the years to come. The trend forecast is mainly based on the introduction of the third generation technology 3G network into the Lebanese market at affordable prices and the proliferation of smartphones and their host of applications.
While these are some of several factors that have helped increase mobile social networks' popularity in Lebanon, experts anticipate mobile web use, in general, to grow, not specifically mobile social networking.
Fadi Semaan, a Lebanese businessman who is very familiar with that mobile internet use said, “for me, the mobile phone is the only way to get on the Internet wherever you are at home and office, while driving, walking, eating.”
It’s important to note, however, that social networking on the internet is popular in Lebanon. With a population of 4,228,000, Lebanon has 1,201,820 Facebook users, according to the report issued by Logicks Internet Marketing Agency in Dubai in July 2011.
The Facebook usage penetration rate in Lebanon, or the ratio of the site's users to the total population, is 28.4 percent. In the first quarter of 2011, Lebanon is among the top five Arab countries in Twitter user penetration rate with 1.85%, indicating room for growth, according to the Arab social media report, conducted by Dubai School of Government.
With mobile phone subscribers reached almost 3 million by end of March 2011, 3G is expected to be in high demand. That growing demand is eventually due to the result of the pricing tiers starting by $19.
3G is mostly used with mobile phones. A dongle can be plugged into a computer to enable user to connect to the 3G network. Telecommunications Minister, Nicolas Sehnaoui announced the introduction of the much-awaited 3G services in Lebanon in mid-October 2011.
However, with no statistic on hand, if the mobile social networks' popularity is the new trend we'll be seeing for some time, what’s next?
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