Google: Pakistani users putting their Internet into a new gear

Published December 3, 2013
This Jan. 3, 2013, file photo shows a Google sign at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California. — AP Photo
This Jan. 3, 2013, file photo shows a Google sign at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California. — AP Photo

KARACHI: Pakistani users are shifting their Internet into a new gear in 2014, which will also be the year mobile internet overtakes traditional desktop internet, according to a survey sponsored by Google.

“We think 2014 is the year mobile internet overtakes desktop internet in Pakistan. Consumers are really starting to embrace smartphones and tablets,” said Tania Aidrus, Manager for Asian Growth Markets, Google Asia Pacific.

The top three activities in Pakistan, both on desktop and mobile internet, are: social media, email and general search. Interestingly, digital Pakistanis also like to learn on their smartphones with educational content coming in fourth. Also popular on smartphones are online banking, researching financial services and investments, and bill payments — pointing to a future where digitally literate Pakistanis make the Web work for them.

The main challenge of Internet proliferation in Pakistan are the quality and reliability of connectivity—including poor speed or bandwidth availability, perceived value-for-money, customer service quality, limited choice of plans and frequency of service interruptions. The unreliability of the power supply is also a factor.

“Emerging markets are starting from mobile, so if we lower Internet access barriers to consumers, business and communities, then we can expect growth far more rapid than what we are already seeing,” said Aidrus.

As other markets have demonstrated, growth on the Internet encourages growth across the economy. More businesses online means more information for people and incentives to create better networks and content that reflect local culture and needs. That will make the Internet more valuable and the economy stronger for Pakistan.

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