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Mobile internet? It ain't just for the iPhone

'Dumb' handsets involved in half of sessions

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Statistics released by mobile software company Novarra show that it's not just owners of status-symbol handsets who are surfing the internet these days, with around half the mobile sessions coming from "dumb" handsets.

The figures only cover networks that have deployed Novarra's software, which pre-loads content and optimises it for the receiving device, as well as logging customers' internet usage. Novarra reckons the product opens up the internet to dumb handsets, and presents the figures to prove it, though the company prefers to talk about "Multitasking Parents" and "Mobile Millennials" rather than raw statistics.

When it comes to data the company tells us that mobile users are typically diverse: the top 500 sites visited account for less than thirty per cent of sessions, so everyone is going their own way. Sessions are split between those lasting less than five minutes (40 per cent), and those longer than 15 minutes (also 40 per cent), indicating a clear division between those looking for specific data and those stuck in a meeting.

There are also a couple of interesting snippets about regional differences - such as the fact that Indian users do a lot of banking on their phones, while US users almost never do. But the most interesting stuff is about Novarra itself and the data it is capturing on mobile surfers in a way that would probably see fixed ISPs nailed to the wall.

"Two thirds of US mobile phone users and one quarter of all users globally have access to some form of mobile internet service via the Novarra platform today - perhaps without even realizing Novarra is behind their mobile internet experience."

Practices such as slipping adverts between pages, inserting ISPs' banners, and collecting browsing behaviour all received short shift on the fixed internet, but seem to be acceptable in the mobile world where expectations are lower and users more obliging. ®

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