Could mobile social networks sound death knell for text messaging?

16 Oct 2009

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Irish mobile-phone users spend on average 45 minutes a day accessing social-networking sites via their mobiles, a survey by 3 Ireland has revealed.

The research found that 25–34-year-old men say that having access to social-networking sites is a must for them on their mobile.

Popular social-networking sites Facebook and Bebo accounted for about 43pc of customer usage, with a clear division for Facebook as the site of choice for pay-monthly customers and Bebo the preference for the younger pre-pay market.

The results also highlighted the dominance of search-engine sites such as Google and Yahoo! as the destination for more than 50pc of traffic.

Mobile online

The study on the expansion of social networking, mobile preferences and behaviours for customers accessing the internet via their mobile phone was conducted over a four-week period focusing on 3 customers accessing the internet via the Planet 3 mobile portal has clearly identified a significant shift in consumers’ expectations from handsets and mobile providers.

“What is clear from this survey is that our consumers now view mobile handsets as complete communication devices with significant emphasis placed on the mobile-internet functionality and the ability to interact via social-networking sites in much the same way as the traditional text-message communication,” David Kent, head of entertainment at 3, explained.

“This places a clear demand for handsets with increased technological capabilities, as well as asking for increased flexibility from mobile operators around price plans and data charges. We could soon enter an age where the text message is seriously challenged by instant social network access.

Social networking ‘on the move’

“These findings are the second in a series from 3 that clearly define the rapidly increasing trend of social networking ‘on the move’ as an important lifestyle choice for both Pay Monthly and 3Pay customers," Kent said.

“With the increased profile of social networking portals, such as Twitter, we anticipate this percentage to grow significantly by the end of 2009,” Kent said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Mobile handsets look to be becoming complete communication devices.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com