Mobile Internet to Overtake Wired Access by 2015Some call it the post-PC era, like former Apple CEO Steve Jobs would. Some claim that the popularity of tablets and smartphones is just a fad, as former Asus Chairman Stan Shih once said. But make no mistake about it: Mobile Internet is on the rise. In fact, IDC says mobile Internet access will overtake wireline access by 2015.

Wired connectivity is doomed, and it will eventually meet its demise starting with a loss to mobile Internet access come 2015. By that time, wireline access in the U.S. -- which includes cable, DSL, dialup and other terrestrial wireless service -- will have been overtaken by broadband access from mobile phones and tablet computers.

Mobile Becoming Dominant

IDC predicts that mobile Internet access will see a compound annual growth rate of 16.6% from 2010 to 2015, which is bolstered by the popularity of mobile Internet-enabled devices like smartphones and tablet computers. On the other hand, wireline access will be on the decline, and will actually stagnate through this period.

IDC's Media and Entertainment VP Karsten Weide says users have been taking the fact that we now have multiple means of gaining access to the Internet for granted. However, once mobile devices overtake the PC, we can expect a drastic change in how websites and web services will be designed. "Soon, more users will access the Web using mobile devices than using PCs, and it's going to make the Internet a very different place," Weide says.

A Changing Information Landscape

Aside from this bold statement, IDC's New Media Market Model predicts that 40% of the world's population will have access to the Internet by 2015 -- a growth from 2 billion in 2010 to 2.7 billion in that year. Throughout this time, mobile advertising will have a bigger share of the pie, from 11.9% today to 17.8% by 2015. B2C spending on e-commerce will likewise get a big boost. Currently a US$ 708 billion industry, this will balloon to US$ 1.285 trillion by 2015.

IDC's study involves Americans using their smartphones, tablets and notebook computers. The study has determined that almost half of American users get online with a wireless-enabled notebook computer or mobile broadband card. The younger demographics are more likely to use mobile data services. Apart from the U.S., IDC has also identified Japan and Europe to be likely places where mobile will soon overtake wired access.

It seems the post-PC era has indeed dawned upon us. The question now is how drastic will all these changes be in the way we gain access to information.