Report: 512 million mobile internet users in Asia by 2015

Regular readers will recall how I’ve often lamented how the failure of certain web analytics firms to include mobile internet usage in their statistics renders their research and data fairly useless in Asia. To help prove my point, eMarketer has an neat data set looking at the use of mobile internet in the content.

Quick reminder: Asia is the continent where mobile internet access is the most significant, as Pingdom pointed out last year with this chart putting Asia on top, based on its share of web usage from mobile devices.

To confirm the small print, the data takes into account “mobile users of any age who access the internet from a mobile browser or installed application at least once a month”. It does not include SMS, MSS or mobile IM usage.

It remains unclear how, or to what extent, eMarketer have access to all mobile internet usage data across Asia while its predictions are of course all of its own, and not cut in stone. The 5% leap in mobile internet access between 2010 and 2011 demonstrates the potential of a medium which is tipped by many to become the primary access point for the internet for so many in Asia, particularly given that the cost of internet access is prohibitive to many as Ovum research recently found.

The chart plots a consistently strong growth in mobile phone owners in the continent with a less modest, but still impressive, growth of mobile internet users.

Its final prediction (that of 42.1%), that of mobile users will access the internet from their device, would give Asia 511,851,800 mobile users in 2015, which would more than triple the 117,353,600 users recorded in 2010.

Last year, British analyst firm Mobile Squared predicted that Asia would boast more than 1.4 billion mobile internet users in the same time frame (by 2015). Of course, any future gazing like this requires estimation of both the number of handsets and number of active mobile internet users, leaving considerable room for difference.