The rise of mobile social networking

A key service that should become widely available in 2008 is mobile social networking. Already outrageously successful with those in the 18 to 30 age segment, its transfer to the handset will be beyond the wildest dreams of any marketing executive with a mobile operator.

This is dependent upon decent, low-cost 3G handsets being available, and, more importantly, innovative data bundles from operators. "All the major social networking sites will be significant drivers for mobile broadband," states Howard Wilcox of Juniper Research. "Whether uploading videos from mobile devices or using Facebook on the move, our research indicates this is a key segment worldwide."

Wilcox claims that mobile social networking is only at the very start of its ascendancy. "While today's users are probably aged 18 and upwards, over the next few years a new generation of users, school children, who already have mobiles and use them extensively for many applications today, will adopt mobile social networking. This will be the mass market, whereas today's users are merely the vanguard."