IRISH MOBILE users are more likely to access the internet through mobile devices than users in most other countries, according to a new study from Accenture.
Some 77 per cent of Irish internet users use mobile devices such as phones, tablets and netbooks to access the internet, compared to a global average of 69 per cent.
The figures are contained in Mobile Web Watch 2012, an annual study by Accenture that studies the mobile phone usage habits in 13 countries across Europe, Latin America and South Africa.
Brazil, South Africa and Russia also showed a high propensity towards mobile internet access, in line with other emerging markets such as India, where a relatively low level of personal computer ownership has led to greater usage of mobile phones to access the web.
Irish people over-50 are also more internet-savvy when it comes to using their phones to access online content in comparison to the global average. While 47 per cent of people over the age of 50 worldwide access the internet through a mobile device, that figure is 60 per cent in Ireland.
Overall, quality of network was deemed to be the primary factor when choosing a network provider for mobile internet access, with the cost of data ranked the fourth-most important factor. More than 90 per cent of Irish consumers ranked network quality as the top criterion in the selection of a service provider, followed closely by coverage and then connection speed.
Cathal Quigley, senior executive at Accenture’s communications, media and technology practice, said the growth in use of mobile devices to access the internet is opening up a host of opportunities, as well as challenges for Irish businesses.
While noting that a considerable sustained investment in infrastructure upgrades will be required, the fact that a majority of Irish respondents said they were willing to pay for services is “exposing a potentially untapped source of revenue”.
Ireland was the only country that reported a higher use of mobile internet services among women than men, the survey said.
While an average of 73 per cent of men use mobile devices to access the internet globally compared to 69 per cent of women, in Ireland that trend is reversed, with 78 per cent of women using mobile devices to access the internet, compared to 76 per cent of men.
Receiving and sending emails is the most common internet activity on mobile devices, with 73 per cent of people using their mobile devices to access email. Some 63 per cent of users use their mobile devices to access online communities such as Facebook, the survey found.
Information-focused apps, such as train schedules and weather information, are the most popular forms of programmes or apps downloaded onto mobile devices, with 81 per cent of Irish mobile device users downloading these forms of apps, compared to an average of 72 per cent.
The survey also showed that using game consoles to access the internet was increasingly popular in Ireland, with 34 per cent of respondents here using their game console to access the internet. Spain was slightly higher at 36 per cent, while the UK had 30 per cent usage. Some 40 per cent of Irish consumers accessed the internet through TV, the survey found.