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Mobile Internet Adoption in Italy Makes Inroads

Mobile subscriber growth stagnates, but mobile internet users are set to reach critical mass

Italians have long loved their SIM-card-based mobile devices. eMarketer estimates that there have been approximately 1.5 mobile phone subscriptions per person in the country since 2009. But as a result of high penetration, growth has stagnated—total mobile connections in the country is holding steady in the low 90 million range, far above Italy’s total population.

Actual user numbers are quite a bit lower, however. According to December 2011 data from Audiweb, an Italian research firm that partners with Nielsen, mobile phone owners numbered 43.5 million that month, or 90.5% of the country’s 11- to 74-year-old population.

In addition, nearly 34.1 million mobile phone owners accessed the internet during the month, while 9.7 million people accessed the internet via their mobile devices, accounting for 20.1% of the total population.

eMarketer estimates that there were approximately 12.2 million monthly mobile internet users in Italy at the end of 2011, and that there will be 16 million in 2012. The difference in estimates between Audiweb and eMarketer may be due to the fact that eMarketer includes mobile phone users of any age, whereas Audiweb excludes users outside of the 11- to 74-year-old age group from its survey base. Considering how many kids play games on their parents’ smartphones these days, the number of mobile internet users under the age of 11 is likely to be substantial.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Marketers Attempt to Align Online Video and TV Campaigns” and “In Western Europe, Internet Behavior Differences Slight but Significant.”

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