Frost Predicts Mobile Social Networking Boom

The market for mobilising social networks in Latin America and Africa is set to increase ten-fold to 527 million users by 2015, according to research announced today by Frost & Sullivan and Colibria. Within six years Frost & Sullivan estimates the combined market will be worth almost $2.4 billion (1.4 billion), with growth being driven by increased availability of the Internet, mainly through mobile phones.
Social networks are an emerging trend in these regions, and due to the lack of fixed infrastructure, the mobile phone is often the only point of access for Internet-based services such as social networks, says Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Jon Stephansen. The availability of affordable mobile data service packages is necessary to drive the growing social networking market to the mobile space.
In Africa, mobile penetration is such that mobile connections exceed fixed connections ten to one, according to the  United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 'Information Economy Report 2009. Similarly, in South America, 80% of the population have a mobile phone, compared to just 25% with regular fixed Internet access.
The specific conditions in these markets have led to an increased need for solutions that make mobilised social networking affordable and easy to implement, says Colibria CEO, Keith Gibson. This is why we developed the Social Center – to provide operators with a reliable and cost-effective solution that provides all of their subscribers with access to social networks. With the growing consumer interest in social networks, it is important for operators to be able to deliver these services on top of the basic offerings to attract new customers.
Colibrias Social Center pushes updates to the user so they immediately know when their friends change information on their social network sites. Users can also post content to multiple sites simultaneously, which significantly reduces data usage and therefore cost for the user. Colibrias Social Center works on feature phones and basic utility phones that dominate in these regions, with solutions also available where data coverage is incomplete. The Social Center is currently being rolled out by operators in these high-growth regions, with Movistar Peru and MTN South Africa already deployed.