US leads the world in mobile browsing

Bango reports that the US now leads the world in mobile web browsing, accounting for 29 percent of global traffic. In all, Bango's February 2009 data identifies mobile web users spanning 208 different countries and 1,811 different handsets.

While Bango cites the publicity surrounding Apple's iPhone as a catalyst behind mobile web uptake in markets like the US and the UK, the firm credits the absence of fixed-line broadband and PCs for growth in regions such as India, South Africa, Indonesia and Egypt, where mobile devices are often users' sole point of access to the Internet.

Bango says that the growth of mobile web traffic is matched by an increase in users paying for premium mobile content, adding that the U.S. now represents 57% of mobile payments worldwide.

The data indicates that despite a growing appetite for mobile web browsing in markets like India and Indonesia, web traffic doesn't always translate to purchases - only five countries in the top ten browsing nations (Portugal, South Africa and Spain as well as the US and UK) also landed on the Top 10 payments list. According to Bango, browsing rates are only converted into high purchase rates in markets where users enjoy reasonable disposable income and can pay for premium content via their phone bills.