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Henry M. Robert

Ukrainians to be online always and everywhere..

70 percent of Internet users believe access to social networks vital
13 November, 2012 - 00:00
REUTERS photo

Internet is now a must: some 70 percent of Ukraine’s urban population has access to the web. Desktops remain the most widespread devices for surfing the web, although their proportion is plummeting from 83 percent in 2011 to 72 percent in 2012. Laptops and mobile phones are becoming increasingly more popular, with 43 and 36 percent respectively. The penetration of mobile broadband access (including Edge and CDMA) is still sluggish (21 percent), although this is 5 percent up in 2011. The number of fixed broadband services users remains unchanged (2 percent). These statistics were presented by Ericsson. The traditional survey of the Ukrainian market by Ericsson ConsumerLab 2012 was focused on consumer suggestions in the sphere of telecommunication products and services.

In April and May, 2012, 505 respondents aged 15 to 69 were polled in three cities: Kyiv, Donetsk, and Lviv. The surveyors insist that this sample group is representative of four million people from all walks of life. Besides, an additional online poll was held for 1,526 respondents in the same age group (15 to 69), who use the Internet at least once a week. This is the second time such a survey has been conducted in Ukraine.

“Ericsson conducts annual surveys in over 40 countries worldwide, which enables a comparison of the situation in Ukraine and suggests interesting conclusions. For one, the use of desktop PCs for accessing the Internet has considerably dropped in comparison with past year, whereas the number of users surfing the net from their laptops or smartphones has increased,” says Eric JOHANSSON, senior consultant for Ericsson ConsumerLab in Northern Europe and Central Asia. According to him, this is indicative of users’ desire to remain mobile and be online always and everywhere. The pollsters believe that smartphone owners will be increasingly accessing the Internet: 35 percent of those interviewees who were going to purchase a smartphone find instant access to the web very attractive.

Curiously enough, the survey suggests that in some spheres Ukraine is showing greater progress than highly developed economies. This is particularly true for online communications: thus, 60 percent of Ukrainian Internet users regularly exchange instant messages, share photos, or update their statuses in social networks. In the US and Germany this figure is 41 percent, while in Sweden it is slightly higher, 47 percent.

The survey results also recorded an increase in accessing the Internet from mobile phones. The volume of non-voice traffic (data traffic) has considerably grown among smartphone users, and is now comparable to that in developed economies. This increase is basically credited to the “pioneers,” mostly young people.

There has been a considerable increase in the use of IP telephony and other alternative methods of communication, such as instant messages and social networks. Interestingly, the access to social networks is becoming crucial: 70 percent of Internet users are on social networks, where they mostly watch videos, read articles and blogs, or listen to music. It should be noted that despite their vexation with providers having full access to personal information, half of the users are prepared to share this information to improve the quality of existing services or creating new ones.

Unfortunately, Ukrainian consumers’ relatively low purchasing power curbs the penetration of ICT: over the past year, the number of owners of smart devices grew only by 5 percent. However, our survey indicates a high interest in consuming telecommunication products and services, which makes permanent access to the Internet a key motivation for the purchase of a smartphone. It is the purchasing of devices that experts believe to be the major obstacle for developing the ICT industry in Ukraine. Their assessments project only a slight growth in the numbers of smart devices. For instance, two-thirds of the respondents said they were not planning to buy any devices in the next 12 months. At the same time, the growth of using laptops, smartphones, and tablets is expected below 10 percent.

Another major hindrance in the implementation of hi-tech services is bad connection. Overall 69 percent of users prefer Wi-Fi to 3G for accessing the Internet. The reason is that Ukraine does not have well-developed networks supporting 3G standards.

By Alla DUBROVYK, The Day