Some 6.8 percent of Web traffic originated from “non-computer” devices in August 2011, compared with 6.2 percent at the end of the previous quarter, ComScore said. Mobile phones accounted for 4.4 percent of that traffic, while tablets made up 1.9 percent. Mobile Internet access

That might not seem so significant, but is the start of a long-term trend. As was the case for voice services, which continue to drift in the direction of increasing wireless usage, so Internet access increasingly is going to shift in the direction of mobile or untethered use.

That doesn’t necessarily mean people will abandon fixed-line service for wireless access, but that people will start to spend more time interacting with Internet services and applications in a mobile device context

New Zealand Commerce Commission

Consider just one data point, the situation in New Zealand. At the end of June 2010 there were 4.7 million mobile connections in New Zealand, 1.88 million fixed line voice connections and 1.05 million fixed broadband connections. In other words there already are more than twice as many mobile voice connections as fixed connections.

Over time, as smart phones become the dominant share of mobile devices, the number of mobile broadband accounts in service likewise will grow, overtaking the number of fixed broadband connections.

There is one way in which mobile Internet access is likely to different from voice services, however. There has been a shift in usage from fixed to wireless modes. But overall usage is growing.

That isn’t the case for voice. Total mobile call minutes increased to 4.44 billion between 2009 and 2010, while fixed line call minutes continued to decline, with non-chargeable minutes totalling 4.65 billion and chargeable minutes 6.29 billion.

The point is that Internet access increasingly is going to follow the pattern of voice. More endpoints will shift to mobile.

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