The amount of people accessing the Internet via mobile phone doubled in 2008, according to ComScore. “Over the course of the past year, we have seen use of mobile Internet evolve from an occasional activity to being a daily part of people’s lives,” said Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile at comScore. “This underscores the growing importance of the mobile medium as consumers become more reliant on their mobile devices to access time-sensitive and utilitarian information,” Donovan said.

While the biggest change in the mobile Internet has been in social networking, the number of people accessing the Internet with their mobile phones grew 107 percent between January 2008 and January 2009, growing from 11 million to 22 million. These figures do not include social networks and blogs, which comScore considers separately in the study.

In total, more than 63 million users checked the Internet with their phone at least once a month.

Not surprisingly, the biggest mobile Internet growth category was social networks and blogs, which grew a whopping 427 percent, from less than two million visitors to more than nine million. The second largest growth was in checking stocks and financial accounts, which grew 188 percent.

These were followed in growth by movie information, business directories and entertainment news. The smallest growth category was general news and information, which still more than doubled, growing 107 percent.

While the mass adoption of smartphones, especially following the iPhone 3G’s release, would seem to be the main driver of the mobile Internet, ComScore’s numbers tell another story.

Seventy percent of those accessing the Internet via mobile phone still do so via standard (dumb) phones. Only 30 percent use either smartphones or high-end feature phones (Samsung Instinct or LG Dare, for example) for Internet access.

By Mark Alvarez