Mobile phones aren’t only for use on the go—and that’s the case around the world, where smartphone owners are at least as likely to text, tweet or skim the internet while on the couch as they are to check the latest sports scores while running errands. But in Mexico, home use beats out actual mobile use by a wide margin.
A Google survey conducted this year by Ipsos MediaCT and TNS Infratest found that nearly nine in 10 smartphone owners in the country used their phones to go online from home. Three-quarters did so from work locations.
Less than two-thirds of smartphone owners, meanwhile, said they went online on their phones while “on the go.” It was more common to go online from restaurants, and about equally likely for users to go online at cafes or coffee shops.
Smartphone usage in Mexico—especially usage of the mobile internet—has some unusual characteristics. Owners of second-hand smartphones who have no credit card or cannot afford a data plan use Wi-Fi hotspots to access the internet. It is similar to a trend observed in the US about five years ago. However, there are two key differences: First, users in Mexico are connecting primarily via mobile devices, like smartphones and feature phones, while laptops and netbooks were the preferred devices among US hotspot users. But what really makes Mexico unique is that access to hotspots is usually granted by fixed broadband providers to their subscribers only. This trend will likely foster smartphone adoption but will not boost mobile broadband subscription uptake immediately.