Abstract - The Information Society 26(5)

The reality beyond the hype: Mobile Internet is primarily an extension of PC-based Internet

Petter Nielsen and Annita Fjuk

The Mobile Internet (MI) has been hyped as the next big thing by telecom operators, handset manufacturers, and content providers. However, recent studies indicate that the usage of Internet via mobile phones has remained quite flat. We inquire into this discrepancy by focusing on actual usage of the MI and the motivating factors behind its use. Based on focus group interviews in Norway and Hungary, we argue that MI usage is interrelated with and is an extension of the PC-based Internet. The key motivation behind MI use is to attain information in situations where the PC is out of reach. In effect, MI has not led to the development of new usages. The expectation that the development of new killer applications will lead to an explosion of new usage is therefore misguided. MI usage is and will perhaps continue to be a mere extension of PC-based Internet usage – and that such use activities are the very nature of MI.

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