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Expert sees fast growth in mobile Internet users
[December 27, 2012]

Expert sees fast growth in mobile Internet users

AMMAN, Dec 27, 2012 (Jordan Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The number of Jordanians using their mobile phones to connect to the Internet, while still relatively low, is likely to rise rapidly in the coming years as mobile providers compete to attract users to their data plans, a local expert said.

A survey released last week by the Pew Research Centre found that around 94 per cent of Jordanians own mobile phones, but a minority use them for Internet access.

The report indicated that 96 per cent of mobile phone owners use them to make calls, 68 per cent to send text messages, 47 per cent to take pictures and videos, and only 22 per cent to use the Internet.

But Jawad Abbassi, founder and general manager of the Arab Advisers Group, predicted a sharp upward trend in mobile Internet use in the Kingdom in the next few years.

"I expect Internet use via mobile to increase by double digits every year in Jordan, especially in light of the growing competition among service providers," Abbassi told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

"The more Jordanians are aware of the benefits of using the Internet on their mobiles, the more subscriptions will increase, especially as prices are competitive in the market," he added.

For many mobile Internet users, the attraction lies in apps that allow them to make calls or send messages for free.

"I have an Internet subscription on my mobile because I use several apps to make international calls and send SMSs for free," said Faten Sameh, a secretary at a private clinic in Amman.

"I pay JD6 per month for the Internet on my mobile, but it is worth it because I use apps such as Viber, Whatsapp and Tango and sometimes I call friends in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf for free," she explained.

Ayham Mohammad, a worker at a garment store in Jabal Al Hussein, said the same.

"I pay about JD4 for Internet on my mobile," he said. "I do not have Internet at home because I do not need it, but having Internet on my mobile helps me stay connected all the time. I make and receive international calls almost every day," said Mohammad.

"When there are no customers at the shop, I also use my mobile to access Facebook and watch videos or listen to songs on YouTube," he added.

The Pew report's statistics on mobile Internet use in Jordan were similar to those from other countries in the region.

Among Egyptian, Lebanese, and Tunisian mobile phone users, 14 per cent, 24 per cent, and 20 per cent, respectively, use their phones to access the Internet, the survey showed.

Mobile penetration in Jordan reached 138 per cent by the end of September, with about 8.767 million users (many Jordanians own more than one mobile phone), while Internet penetration in the country stood at 63 per cent, according to recent figures released by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.

___ (c)2012 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) Visit the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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