Social networking almost half of mobile web usage

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Four of the top 10 web domains accessed via U.S. mobile devices are now social networking sites, according to mobile software applications and infrastructure provider Openwave Systems' latest 2009 Mobile Insights report. Openwave notes the results correspond with recent findings by the Internet Advertising Bureau, which reported that a 179 percent year-over-year increase in the number of mobile handsets accessing social media sites, compared to a 10 percent increase in PC visitors to the same sites. Openwave suggests that operators looking to capitalize on the trend should consider partnering with leading social networking sites through co-branding efforts, such as marketing and advertising, or to offer aggregation services enabling more efficient access to social networking sites via the carrier's own portal.

Openwave also reports that users of smartphones such as the Palm D062 and Samsung-PHTM800 are consuming at least three to four times more data volume compared to less sophisticated smartphones like the Palm D060 and feature phones. The report also uncovers a category of unknown devices classified as "bandit devices"--e.g., unlocked iPhones, USB modems or netbooks from rival operators-- that are generating between 1.25 and 1.5 times more traffic than smartphones and close to 5.5 times more traffic than feature phones. Openwave adds these Bandit devices could impact network performance in terms of congestion and latency problems, and suggests operators introduce exclusive content and device bundles with advanced personalization and service discovery features that would in turn encourage unknown device users to upgrade to new devices. Operators could also enforce new pricing policies for bandit devices that exceed their monthly data limits and urge consumers to upgrade to higher usage plans.

For more on the Openwave study:
- read this release

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