Facebook traffic dominates 3UK's data usage, Farmville not far behind

Recognised for its unconventional approach to business, 3UK would seem to have attracted a subscriber base that is not only addicted to Facebook, but also--and slightly more worrying--the game Farmville.

The company, which has just released details of traffic usage and behaviour among its mobile broadband customers, has revealed that 2,500 terabytes (TB) of data travelled across its network in July. Of particular note was the traffic attributed to Facebook access, coming on top with over 7TBs.

However, the second highest usage was access to the casual gaming company Zynga with 3.5TBs, with the company's flagship game, Farmville, coming fifth in 3UK's list with 1.68TBs for the month.

3UK said that the traffic, generated from its more than 1 million subscribers, is specifically from mobile broadband devices or dongles, which were originally positioned as being primarily for business use. The company claims its users account for 40 per cent of the dongle market.

Attempting to explain the reasons for Farmville's success, Charlotte Blanchard, 3UK's director of internet products and services, said that it was likely due to the game's data-intensive graphics and imagery--but also reinforced the growing popularity of social gaming.

"With gaming on Zynga and Facebook the profile is very different [from the traditional profile of a 25-35, console-buying male], and much more female and over 35s," she said. "That social element drives the frequency of use, and I do think people will be surprised how quickly this social gaming space is starting to kick off."

Commenting on whether the company would look to provide specific support for customers keen to access social networking services and games, Blanchard confirmed that 3UK had no plans at present.

"We're just focusing on encouraging and supporting the majority of our customers. This research shows there might be an opportunity to do that but we don't have any plans," said the exec.

For more on this story:
- read The Guardian

Related stories:
3UK says data exceeds 90% of network traffic
3UK to terminate Ericsson service contract
Skype boosts 3UK revenues, lowers churn
3 completes 'phase one' of £400m network upgrade

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