UK embraces mobile social networking

UK mobile phone users are leading the way in taking social networking websites mobile, research has revealed.

Some 1.7 per cent of UK mobile phone subscribers, or 810,000 users, used their handsets to visit popular social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo and MySpace in the first quarter (Q1) of 2008, Nielsen Mobile research said.

It said this was slightly ahead of the European average of 1.6 per cent accessing such sites on the move in December 2007 and on a par with US levels.

"Social networking is already a global phenomenon, and going mobile is the next big thing," said Jeff Herrmann, Nielsen Mobile media vice president. "In the UK and the US especially, we already see millions of users of MySpace, Facebook and other social networks interacting with their virtual spaces while on the go."

And, while is the most popular site among US mobile users followed by Facebook, by contrast Facebook had the largest mobile audience among social networking sites in the UK with 557,000 unique users each month during Q1. MySpace comes second in the UK with 211,000 in the same period.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the popularity of Facebook and MySpace in the UK and US, Microsoft MSN Windows Live Spaces was ranked highly in other European countries. It took the number one spot in Italy, with 154,000 unique mobile users, and in France with 106,000. But it also came in second with 45,000 users against MySpace with 52,000 in Germany.

Herrmann suggested demand for such web content may help drive competition among mobile service provider pricing models, "evidenced by Vodafone UK's recent move to offer unlimited internet access as a standard feature of its new monthly mobile price plans," he added.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.