1.5 million surf the Internet on tablets

1.5 million surf the Internet on tablets
Updated 27 April 2013

1.5 million surf the Internet on tablets

1.5 million surf the Internet on tablets

A total of 1.5 million people in Saudi Arabia use tablet computers to surf the Internet, which is 15 percent of the 15.8 million Internet users in the Kingdom, according to a study on Internet usage in the Arab world by the Governance and Innovation Program of the Dubai School of Government. This is second only to usage in the United Arab Emirates. Several experts and users in Saudi Arabia believe this figure will rise even higher in the future because of the growing dependence on mobile devices.
“This is clearly a sign that Saudi is becoming a more mobile society. We use mobile devices on a daily basis, on high speed mobile networks provided by telecommunication companies in Saudi Arabia and the region,” said Mohammad Abdul Aziz, director at a Jeddah-based start-up company.
“It was only a few years ago that we had to wait in line at the bank or an ATM machine to check bank balances or pay bills. Nowadays, with a mobile device connected to the Internet, these tasks can be done through apps,” said 25-year-old university student Rayan Masoudi.
“We are seeing efforts by some in the commercial sector and government to provide their services through mobile applications to meet the demands and needs of their clients,” added Masoudi.
While these figures may be good for mobile device vendors, companies selling personal computers and laptops have seen a recent plunge in sales.
“Over the past few years personal computer sales, including laptops, were good. Now you hardly see people wanting to buy new computers or a laptop. Almost every season there are newer generation tablet computers and mobile devices released onto the market. These newer devices come with ready-to-use high-speed telecommunications technology,” said Omar Al-Nahdi, a personal computer vendor in Jeddah.
The report on Middle East Internet usage revealed that the United Arab Emirates has the highest percentage of Internet users using their tablets, at 25 percent. The sample of 3,500 people from 22 Arab countries found 39 percent use the Internet at home, 29 percent at work, 14 percent on their mobiles and 10 percent through other means.
The study showed 43 percent of users in Arab countries also use social media platforms at work while 17 percent said the Internet is blocked at their workplaces. However, the survey showed 36 percent of respondents spent between three and four hours a day browsing the Internet, 24 percent between one and two hours, 9 percent between eight and 10 hours and 6 percent over 10 hours.
There are currently 125 million Internet users in the Arab world, with 53 million of this total using social media to network with others in their communities and 71 percent saying the Internet has become an alternative to traditional communication.
A total of 52 percent said that the Internet has improved their communication with their governments, 32 percent use it for e-government services and 85 percent believed social media has helped to strengthen their communities.