Low-Cost Smartphones, App Bundling Will Drive Philippines Mobile Internet Adoption

Smartphone adoption in the Philippines is nascent. Of that nation's 97 million people, smartphone penetration is about 15 percent, though mobile penetration is about 101 percent, and Internet penetration is about 39 percent. 

In Malaysia, smartphone adoption is 80 percent, in Singapore 87 percent, in Thailand 49 percent. In Indonesia, adoption is at 23 percent.

But that is expected to change over the next several years as low-cost smartphones costing between $50 and $250 are made available in all markets. 

Today's mobile Internet users are young, under 34 years of age. About 35 percent of mobile Internet users are between 25 and 34. Fully 53 percent are 16 to 24, according to On Device Research.

And mobility already is a big trend in computing. Some 30 percent of respondents to a survey own tablets, for example, compared to 23 percent ownership of desktop PCs. About 25 percent of respondents own notebooks or laptops. 

About 44 percent of mobile Internet users spend less than $12 a month on their data plans. About 32 percent of mobile Internet users spend between $12 and $41 a month on their data plans.

About half of all respondents say they have unlimited data access plans. About 17 percent have 10-Gbyte plans. Some 12 percent have 3-Gbyte plans. About seven percent have plans of 700 Mbytes or less. 

About 40 percent of respondents report spending at least five hours a day on their devices, and about 42 percent of total "screen time" is spent with social media. Over half of respondents say they stream music on their devices. 

About 70 percent of respondents who say they use Spotify, for example, are on a mobile data plan sold by GoSURF that bundles free access to Spotify as part of the mobile data plan. 

That is an example of the power of app bundling, even if such preferred access violates notions of "no application favoritism" that network neutrality supporters say they support. 

Mobile banking should emerge as an important value for smartphone users, as 73 percent of the population does not have a bank account, while credit card use is about three percent. 

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