Mobile web users head to social network sites

A growing number of people accessing the internet from their mobile devices are heading to social networking sites.

Nearly 40 per cent of all mobile web traffic is directed to social networking sites, according to a new report by Opera Software.

The Norwegian corporation's State of the Mobile Web report looks at the aggregate, anonymous traffic of more than 44 million cumulative Opera Mini users worldwide.

Over 11.9 million people used Opera Mini in March 2008 to browse 2.2 billion pages, generating more than 32 million MB of data traffic for operators worldwide.

Communications manager at Opera Software Julie Sajnani said that the trend towards greater use of social network sites was not surprising.

"If you take a look at bookmarks saved on your mobile, it will not be surprising to have at least one dedicated to a social network site or service," she said.

"But there are many other interesting factors beyond the social network growth. The skyrocketing data traffic proves that - given the right experience - people will browse the mobile web more frequently. That drives revenues for operators and over 32 million MB per month is a lot of data revenues."

As well as social networking accounting for 41 per cent of web traffic, the report found that full web surfing comprises more than 77 per cent of all traffic. Content on WAP and .mobi sites accounted for 23 per cent of mobile web traffic.

Sajnani added: "Opera Mini provides access to the full web. Opera has always believed that there is only one web and you can access it from anywhere, any time."

"WAP sites aren't so popular and have seen traffic decline as full HTML browsers, such as Opera Mini, become more readily available on mobile phones."

The report also found that the UK is the world leader in mobile email - although that number remains small, with just over 11 per cent of traffic being web-based email services.

The most popular UK mobile sites to browse include Facebook, Google and Live.

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