Thirty-eight percent of cell phone users in Western Europe will use mobile Internet services by 2013 according to a new five year forecast by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). The growth in adoption means that 125 million Europeans will access the Web regularly from their mobile phone — triple the number that do so today. One of the key drivers will be the proliferation of 3.5G-enabled devices, which will overtake the number of GSM-only and GPRS phones by 2010. By 2013, one in four consumers will own a 3.5G-enabled phone.

Forrester’s “European Mobile Forecast: 2008 To 2013” is based on interviews with 16 mobile operators and a survey of 22,000 consumers across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

“The mobile Internet is finally reaching the tipping point,” said Forrester Research Analyst Pete Nuthall. “But deploying high-speed mobile networks and rolling out advanced handsets are not enough to spark demand — our data shows that less than half of 3G phone owners use the 3G capability on their phone. To drive the mobile Internet, operators will need to push flat-rate data plans, increase the number of relevant services and applications, and introduce new devices that provide a better user experience.”

The Forrester report forecasts mobile Internet adoption across 17 individual countries:

  • Austria, Italy, the UK, and the Nordics in the lead for 3G adoption. More than 60 percent of mobile phone users in these countries will have either a 3G or 3.5G handset by the end of 2010. These countries will also be the quickest to adopt 3.5G, reaching penetration rates of more than 25 percent by the end of 2013.
  • France, Germany, and the Netherlands are middle-of-the-road countries. By the end of 2010, 3G and 3.5G penetration rates in these countries will range from 50 percent to 60 percent. However, by the end of 2013, these countries will be on par with the leading countries in terms of overall 3G adoption, albeit with a lower share of 3.5G phones — at around 20 percent of mobile phone users.
  • Belgium, Greece, and Ireland will be slow to catch up. Less than 50 percent of consumers in these countries will have either a 3G or 3.5G handset by the end of 2010. And by the end of 2013, less than 20 percent of mobile phone users will have a 3.5G device.

The report “European Mobile Forecast: 2008 To 2013” is currently available to Forrester RoleView™ clients and can be purchased directly at