Internet access

Despite their being worth US$393bn, Internet access services still had plenty of growth left in the global market at the end of 2012: globally, just 40% of households were subscribed to fixed broadband, and less than one in four people had mobile Internet access.

Global spend on Internet access services will increase at an impressive, 11% CAGR over the next five years to reach over US$665bn in 2017. Mobile Internet revenues will drive much of the growth, overtaking those from fixed broadband in 2014 to account for 58% of overall Internet access spend at the end of the forecast period.

Global fixed broadband and mobile Internet penetration (%) 2008-2017

After years of home broadband being the most popular way to access the Internet, a fundamentally different form will come to dominate: access via mobile broadband, most often via mobile phones rather than PCs and laptops. Penetration of mobile-Internet services will reach 54% by year-end 2017 compared with 51% for fixed broadband.


The US is the largest territory in fixed broadband, with high penetration and high average revenue per user (ARPU). After exceeding the revenues of Japan in 2012, China is closing the gap on the US due to its aggressive double digit growth in subscribers despite considerably lower ARPU.
US, China and Japan fixed broadband access revenues (US$ mn) 2011-2017
Mobile Internet revenues, worth US$259bn in 2014, will account for more than 50% of total Internet access spend, overtaking those from fixed broadband. By 2017, mobile Internet revenues will exceed US$385bn and account for 58% of total Internet access spend.
Internet access revenues split by fixed broadband and mobile internet (US$ mn) 2008-2017
Growth will increasingly be driven by emerging markets. Brazil, China, India and Russia alone will account for 45% of fixed-broadband subscriptions and 50% of mobile Internet users by the end of 2017.
BRIC countries share of mobile Internet subscribers (%) 2012 & 2017
 

How we define this segment

This segment considers consumer spend on accessing the Internet and is split into two categories; mobile Internet and fixed-broadband Internet.

Fixed broadband includes both wired and wireless connections and is a subscription to a residential or small business. Internet-access services are delivered to a home, office or other fixed location provided by cable, MMDS, modem, xDSL, FTTx, WiMAX, proprietary wireless broadband, Ethernet, powerline communications and satellite-broadband technologies. Enterprise customers larger than SMEs are considered to have a leased line/dedicated cable and are not included within our coverage of residential fixed-line service.

Mobile Internet considers Internet access over the medium of cellular air interfaces, generally via a 2.5G network or higher. This covers Internet access via mobile devices and for connected devices that use embedded modems, dongles and data cards. Mobile Internet subscribers are considered unique users.

All fixed-broadband household and mobile Internet subscriber estimates are counted as year-end.

What data is included in the online Outlook?

Forecasts for consumer spend and penetration in the Internet access segment across 50 countries cover (where available):

  • Fixed broadband access spending (US$ m)
  • Mobile Internet access spending (US$ m)
  • Total Internet access spending (US$ m) (total = fixed + mobile)
  • Fixed broadband households (m)
  • Fixed broadband penetration (%)
  • Mobile Internet subscribers (m)
  • Mobile Internet penetration (%)
 
 
 
 

 
 

Regions/countries covered

North America

EMEA

 

Asia Pacific

Latin America

Canada
United States

Western Europe
Austria
Belgium
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Ireland
Italy
Netherlands
Norway
Portugal
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom

Central and Eastern Europe
Czech Republic
Hungary
Poland
Romania
Russia
Turkey

Middle East/Africa
Israel
Middle East/North Africa †
South Africa

Australia
China
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia
Japan
Malaysia
New Zealand
Pakistan
Philippines
Singapore
South Korea
Taiwan
Thailand
Vietnam

Argentina
Brazil
Chile
Colombia
Mexico
Venezuela

 †Comprises Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates