Almost all of the stuff you can find on the Internet now, whether you view it, download it, or generate it as a user, is well suited to be delivered by fast Internet technology: broadband and cable networks. But all that cool Internet stuff may not be as well suited to a mobile phone — or as appealing, if it isn't produced in the right format or context. That's because the similarities between the mobile Internet and the wired Internet are (for the most part) skin deep — and the differences are complex.

Ten years ago, the challenge for wireless carriers, mobile phone manufacturers, and Internet-based content companies was how to give customers access to the huge amounts of information and services available on the Internet on the go.

The mobile Internet, on the other hand, has overcome this challenge. To access the mobile Internet, this is all you need:

  • A smartphone, tablet, gaming console, or other portable device that can go online: First and foremost, you can't jump onto the mobile Internet without a mobile phone or other mobile device.

  • A mobile browser: To make the Internet work on mobile phones, wireless carriers created and installed made-for-mobile website browsers in all mobile phones. Although mobile browsers and desktop browsers have their similarities, you still find that using a mobile browser to navigate the web is a unique experience. (For one thing, while 4G LTE might be the fastest wireless service yet, it's still pretty slow compared a regular browser.)

  • A data plan: To use the mobile Internet, you have to have a data plan from your cell phone provider.

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