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Empirical research on mobile Internet usage: A meta-analysis of the literature


  • Gerpott, Torsten J.
  • Thomas, Sandra


This paper reviews 175 scholarly empirical publications on mobile Internet (MI) usage intensity levels and potential determinants of respective usage behavior at the individual subscriber level. Based on an overview of MI measurement approaches and units evidence on the development of the average MI data volume generated per subscriber over the last years is summarized. Interindividual variance in MI usage was found to be very large. This raises the question which factors contribute to explaining MI usage differences. A qualitative review and a meta-analysis of correlations between 22 variables grouped into four categories (country, personal user characteristics, MI attribute perceptions/behavioral intentions and factual use conditions) on the one side and MI usage criteria on the other were carried out. Enjoyment, behavioral intention to use MI, educational level, subscription of a flat rate and ease of use turned out to be the five antecedents with the largest sample size- and measurement error-corrected average correlations r¯a with MI usage criteria. Moderator analysis indicated that the approach to measuring MI usage behaviors (subjective versus objective) and geographic origin of a sample (Asia versus Europe/USA) significantly altered relationships between a number of predictors and MI usage. Specifically, mono-method work which measures both explanatory factors and MI usage in one questionnaire was prone to overestimate relationships between independent study variables and self-reports of MI usage. The review derives open research issues in three territories, namely measurement of MI usage, choice of MI usage determinants as well as study sampling and design.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerpott, Torsten J. & Thomas, Sandra, 2014. "Empirical research on mobile Internet usage: A meta-analysis of the literature," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 291-310.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:38:y:2014:i:3:p:291-310
    DOI: 10.1016/j.telpol.2013.10.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    15. Gerpott, Torsten J. & Thomas, Sandra & Weichert, Michael, 2013. "Characteristics and mobile Internet use intensity of consumers with different types of advanced handsets: An exploratory empirical study of iPhone, Android and other web-enabled mobile users in German," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 357-371.
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    Cited by:

    1. Liang, Julienne, 2015. "How fixed mobile usage interact? Does FTTH deployment influence the interaction?," 26th European Regional ITS Conference, Madrid 2015 127157, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    2. Yoonsun Oh & Jungsuk Oh, 0. "A critical incident approach to consumer response in the smartphone market: product, service and contents," Information Systems and e-Business Management, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-21.
    3. Arnold, René & Hildebrandt, Christian & Tas, Serpil & Kroon, Peter, 2017. "More than Words: A global analysis of the socio-economic impact of Rich Interaction Applications (RIAs)," 28th European Regional ITS Conference, Passau 2017 169445, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    4. Wellmann, Nicolas, 2017. "OTT-messaging and mobile telecommunication: A joint market? - An empirical approach," DICE Discussion Papers 256, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    5. Wellmann, Nicolas, 2017. "OTT-Messaging and Mobile Telecommunication: A Joint Market? An Empirical Approach," 28th European Regional ITS Conference, Passau 2017 169503, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    6. Wellmann, Nicolas, 2019. "Are OTT messaging and mobile telecommunication an interrelated market? An empirical analysis," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(9).
    7. González Chapela, Jorge, 2016. "Disentangling income and price effects in the demand for time online," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 65-75.
    8. Shan Du & Hua Li, 2019. "The Knowledge Mapping of Mobile Commerce Research: A Visual Analysis Based on I-Model," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(6), pages 1-26, March.


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