UK mobile phone subscribers are leading a global charge to take social networking to the streets, new research reveals.
Research firm Nielsen Mobile said that the UK leads Europe in mobile social networking on a percentage basis, and that the US boasts comparable numbers.
Approximately 810,000 UK mobile subscribers, roughly 1.7 per cent, visited social networking websites on their mobile phones in the first quarter of 2008.
Nielsen said that this percentage was slightly higher than in other major European markets, where 1.6 per cent of all mobile subscribers (4.1 million in all) accessed social networks via their phones in December 2007.
MySpace.com was the leading social networking site among PC users in the US, and also the most popular mobile internet social networking site with 2.8 million unique mobile users in December 2007.
Facebook, which has the second largest audience among social networking sites, had 1.8 million unique mobile users in December.
In contrast, Facebook led mobile social networking sites in the UK with 557,000 unique mobile users per month in Q1 2008, while MySpace followed with 211,000.
Facebook and MySpace were also among the top social networking sites in other European countries during the first quarter of 2008.
However, MSN's Windows Live Spaces led in Italy (154,000 unique mobile users per month) and France (106,000), and ranked second in Germany (45,000) behind MySpace (52,000).
"Social networking is already a global phenomenon, and going mobile is the next big thing," said Jeff Herrmann, vice president of mobile media at Nielsen Mobile.
"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.
"Consumer demand for mobile social networking may be a significant driver of mobile service pricing models as evidenced by Vodafone UK's recent move to offer unlimited internet access as a standard feature of its new monthly mobile price plans. "
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