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The Internet Society's Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau has released the findings of a study that explores the behaviors and preferences of mobile Internet users in the region, saying it shows the shift in using the mobile Internet for purposes other than basic communication is yet to happen.

The survey was conducted across 37 countries and collected data from more than 1,600 respondents on frequency and patterns of use, devices and operating systems, as well as levels of satisfaction around the user experience. It found that those below 25 years old have a more diverse engagement with the mobile Internet, using it for activities that range from social networking and entertainment, to jobs and education. A similar trend was observed among respondents who are either mobile first, or have switched to mobile as their primary means of going online.

The study also revealed that the mobile Internet in Asia-Pacific continues to be seen primarily as a communications platform, with more than three-quarters commonly using it for a range of functions that include email, web searches, social media, and voice and messaging apps. By contrast, less than half of survey respondents use it for purposes that are more closely associated with socio-economic development, such as e-banking and government e-services.

The survey found that smartphones are overwhelmingly the mobile device of choice across all age groups of Internet users in Asia-Pacific, but highest among 15-24 year-olds. For other mobile devices, such as tablets and wearable devices, ownership was lowest among the younger respondents, with just over one quarter of 15-24 year-olds owning a tablet.

The Android operating system has the largest share (80 percent) of mobile Internet users in the region, which is consistent with its worldwide market share. Little over half of the respondents said they were satisfied (43 percent) or very satisfied (8 percent) with their mobile data connection speed.

The majority of those surveyed noted that faster connection speeds (77 percent) and lower data costs (68 percent) would encourage them to use their mobile data connection more often.

ISOC said: ""While the survey points to ways to increase the coverage and affordability of mobile broadband, the preference by many for connectivity over Wi-Fi also presents an opportunity to develop other wireless platforms and technologies that could allow future users in Asia-Pacific to access the Internet more cheaply, reliably and securely.""

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