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Egypt has shown a fast disposition toward mobile phone usage—the International Telecommunication Union estimates that there were 83.4 million mobile phone connections in 2011 among a total population of about 82.1 million. But smartphones have made slower progress in penetrating the population. A January–March 2012 survey of individuals in Egypt commissioned by Google as part of their “Our Mobile Planet” study, conducted by third-party research firms, found the smartphone adoption rate to be only about 26%.
But those who do have smartphones and other internet-enabled mobile devices have taken quickly to using both the mobile internet and apps, according to an April poll in Egypt conducted by mobile advertising network Plus7. The survey found that more than six in 10 respondents accessed a mobile website or used an app several times a day, while about one in 10 did so at least once a week.
Users in Egypt also demonstrated a voracious appetite for apps. Two-thirds of those polled had downloaded more than 10 apps, with downloading activities most common among those ages 19 to 24. Web presence seemed to be the most important factor in driving downloads—41% of respondents said they had gotten an app because they had seen it online somewhere, while 35% cited its presence on an app store. Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends trailed both of those sources, at 17%.
Given Egypt’s uncertain political climate and a low rate of fixed broadband subscriptions, it’s unsurprising that the most popular use of the mobile internet was to access news and information, an action performed by 57% of users. That was followed by social network use (43%), searches (42%) and email (40%). Younger people in Egypt were more likely to use smartphones to play games or send instant messages, much like younger smartphone users most everywhere else.
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