Lately, we have seen the tremendous power of the Internet as a source of information and tool for social change. We witnessed the beginning of an uprising, which became a modern revolution. According to our analysis of Opera Mini usage, there was a sharp uptake in the use of the mobile Web in Egypt, which was not surprising, given the circumstances in that country during the month of February. Even more interesting, perhaps, is that we observed a sustained increase in traffic to certain sites in Egypt, even after events in the region stabilized. We believe more and more people are becoming accustomed to the Internet as their primary news source, and that is especially true for people who need instantly available and up-to-date information in hot spots around the world.
Jon von Tetzchner,
Co-founder, Opera Software
Over the last couple of months, the world has been watching with great interest the astounding political changes occuring in the Middle East and North Africa — in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, and now Libya. The people at the heart of these revolutions have been using the Internet heavily, both as a means of organizing themselves in collective action as well as communicating their message to the world at large, garnering support from people in far away nations. Some believe that such rapid political change would not have been possible without the Internet. The Internet certainly provided a platform for those voices in the midst of conflict who might otherwise not have been heard.
To get a down-to-earth perspective on the statistics presented here, Opera Software conducted an interview with one of the millions of protesters on the ground. Ayman Shokr, an engineer in Cairo, participated in the protests alongside thousands — all united towards a common goal, through technology.
Protesters in Tahrir Square, photographed with mobile phone by Ayman Shokr
“The key success for the revolution was the way we connected, via Facebook and other social media via Internet, to mobile phones,” said Shokr. “It was a revolution based on communication.”
As seen in the statistics from the Opera Mini servers, numbers corraborate the story from Shokr. Facebook usage increased with millions of page views and stayed high even after the large rounds of protests were over.
With instant, global communication, the happenings in Tahrir Square were not limited to select media, as previously seen. Through the mobile devices and use of social websites, it became a person-to-person communication experience.
“It was amazing how the whole world supported us, thanks again to the many forms of communication that enabled us to be connected worldwide,” said Shokr. “After the revolution’s victory, it was incredible to hear the president of the United States say that we want our children to mirror the spirit and unity of Egyptian people and Berlusconi say that there is nothing new in Egypt, as Egyptians are used to making history. That’s the power of communication.”
To read the rest of the interview, follow up the My Opera article.
In this month’s report, coinciding with our spotlight on mobile Internet usage in the Middle East, we decided to take a closer look at some of the relevant sites visited by Opera Mini users in Egypt. We observed some interesting patterns and points of interest in the months of January and February.
In February 2011, 89.8 million people used the Opera Mini browser, 51.5 billion pages were served and 7.3 petabytes of operator data were compressed for Opera Mini users. (Due to February having fewer days, we expected and observed minor decreases in Opera Mini users, page views, and data transferred compared to January.)
In February 2011, the Opera Mini browser had over 89.8 million users, a 0.6% decrease from January 2011. Since February 2010, the number of unique users has increased 77.5%.
Opera Mini users viewed over 51.5 billion pages in February 2011. Since January, page views have gone down 1.6%. Since February 2010, page views have increased 133.6%.
In February 2011, Opera Mini users generated over 790 million MB of data for operators worldwide. Since January, the data consumed went down by 1.7%. Data in the Opera Mini browser is compressed up to 90%. If this data were uncompressed, Opera Mini users would have viewed over 7.3 petabytes of data in February. Since February 2010, data traffic is up 139.0%.
|Month||Data transfer (MB)|
The Philippines passed the United Kingdom, Turkey and Kazakhstan in terms of total Opera Mini users in the month of February. Mexico is back on the list of top 20 countries.
For more information about the State of the Mobile Web report, please contact Pål Unanue-Zahl palu[at]opera.com, +47 2369 2400.
Get updated each time we release a report.