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Facebook spearheading internet on mobiles

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facebook.jpgSocial networking is being credited as the driving force behind a steep increase in internet usage on mobiles.

Operators claim to have seen a huge growth in mobile internet use (as opposed to mobile broadband). Analytics firm CCS Insight has recorded a 47% rise this year. CCS has said that unique users of internet on mobiles will total around 25 million by the end this year, compared to 17 million at the end of 2007.

At the launch of its INQ phone last week, 3 said that hits on Facebook from its devices had doubled in the last six months, reaching 44 million in October alone. To put this in context, Google searches were at just two million in the same month.

Vodafone claimed that overall internet usage has more than trebled over the past 12 months, with over 100,000 unique Vodafone users logging on to Facebook everyday.

Meanwhile, 3 said that usage of its internet-based communication services has achieved an equally large spike, with the total number of consumers using internet services (such as Facebook and Skype) and email reaching over 800,000 – up from around 250,000 a year ago.

The growth has been attributed to the availability of cheaper unlimited data packages and faster network speeds. It is also said to be down to improved handset capabilities, which have become more compatible with the internet and offer better web browsing usability, especially due to improvements to the touch-screens on devices such as the iPhone.

Last week, Ofcom’s International Communications Market Report found that the number of consumers using social networking on mobiles has reached 800,000 per day in the UK.

Orange also reported a ‘strong uplift’ in internet usage on users mobiles over the past 12 months in the UK.

Paulo Pescatore, CCS Insight analyst, told Mobile: ‘This year has been one of the biggest ever for the rise in internet usage on mobiles. There is always the challenge of the small screen but touch-screen devices are changing that. Improved networks and more transparent data packages have also been important.’

Mobile UK

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