The Internet IS The Mobile Network–Or Will Be Soon

If there’s any doubt about the mobile phone’s superiority on reaching consumers, two recent news articles –about such disparate subjects as the United Nations and Craigslist–will erase it.

First, the International Telecommunications Union reports that global cell phone penetration will grow from around 50 percent early this year to 61 percent by the end of 2008. The forecast, which the ITU first presented during the United Nations Millennium Development Goals gathering, focused on growth in developing economies, where the population of consumers with disposable income continues to increase. Marketers should take heed; as General Hamadoun Toure of the ITU told ClickZ, “It is technically feasible to connect the world the the benefits of ICT, and that is a viable business opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark noted that his site is the No. 1 domain surfed on mobile phones in the United States–and said that this has implications for all companies with Web sites. “The best tool for Internet access for everyone in the future will be our phones,” he told iMedia. “Right now the universal manifestation of the ‘Net is actually texting. I consider texting part of the Internet.” Craig, as he prefers to be called, wasn’t off the mark–in Japan people refer to text messages as “email” and for many consumers, it’s the only regular “email address” they have.

In both cases, it’s obvious that mobile phones are increasingly becoming the top way that people the world over–in the United States and emerging countries alike–are going to access the Internet. As well as access their friends, family, business contacts and the like, via text messaging. Digital marketers, then, will have to consider the most mobile-friendly way to craft their messages–not just texts, but email, online ads, Web sites, and on and on.

Have no doubt: The mobile network and the World Wide Web is already enmeshed. Soon, they may even become as one.