“The next billion” is a growing population of new Internet users who will leverage mobile phones to connect to the world around them. There is a lot of discussion in the telecommunications industry about these next billion Internet users, as they will present brand new mobile behaviors to the industry that are completely different than the first billion.
For many in the western world who were the first adopters of life online, mobile represents the second screen in their digital journey – following desktop and laptop computers. For the next billion, their future is completely intertwined with that of mobile. As mobile service providers look to serve this rapidly growing market, it will be impossible to be successful without understanding the how the role of the mobile service will change how the next billion interact with each other, and the global online community.
By 2020, quality, powerful smartphones are estimated to cost as little as $10, opening the world of connectivity to brand new users in markets such as India, Brazil, China, Indonesia and Nigeria. For the next billion, their experience with the Internet will come completely from the mobile phone, from a population who considers their mobile device as a primary screen opposed to a secondary screen. To the next billion consumers, a computer is a smartphone – and it also doubles as a TV, a wallet, a classroom, and a portal for government and individual communications. Over the next few years, the average internet user will become more like these next billion users than the first billion.
With the right strategy backed by advanced data infrastructures and the power of 5G, there is an incredible opportunity for mobile service providers to become the window to the world for consumers in these burgeoning markets. The next billion will shape a unique approach to mobile consumption – for example, those who have matured alongside the internet tend to lean toward text over voice, whereas this new population is more comfortable with voice and visually based interfaces. To appeal to this next generation of user, providers need to be calculated in the way they build applications, portals and experiences – they must mirror the next billion’s mobile expectations – video-focused and voice-friendly with seamless navigation.
Equally important as the consumer-facing user experiences are how business models and back-end systems are aligned to support the growth and preferences of this new consumer base. Since mobile devices serve as a central hub of activity between payments, entertainment and communications, the platforms which power the experience need the flexibility to enable providers to experiment with new digital services quickly – enhancing those that work and allowing others to fail fast. Equally important will be the ability to on-board new users quickly into an ecosystem of services they care about, with localized ways to pay for content and services.
To prepare for the next billion to come online, it’s critical for the wireless industry to build flexibility and scale into their operations by leveraging the cloud, today. After all, the sky is the limit for how this next generation of mobile users will interact with the possibilities of the connected world.
CSG’s solutions support more than 300 million mobile users worldwide. Discover more about our approach to mobile services here.