94 percent of mobile operators believe social networking will be a more popular form of mobile communication than either voice or texting by 2015, according to a new survey released this week by mobile messaging service provider Airwide Solutions.
The survey asked 31 of the top mobile operators across Europe, North American and Asia to predict the main catalyst for network and subscriber growth in five years.
The operators said that “social networking” wouldn’t just be the most heavily used service among applications, it would be the “most important form of communication,” too.
The findings mark quite a jump for social networking, which now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile Internet traffic, mainly on smartphones, according to research firm mobileSQUARED, a partner in the survey.
And it’s those smartphones, from the Android to the iPhone, that seem be the engine fueling social networking’s growth.
The operators said that “social networking” type applications would be the most-used apps by 2015, followed by messaging, email and voice (55%). Navigation, camera, video, music and financial apps rounded out the top 10.
Despite the predicted enthusiasm for social networking, mobile operators surveyed declined to send text messaging and voice to the wayside just yet.
87 percent of operators predict messaging and 81 predict voice will follow social networking in the top three of most heavily used forms of communication in 2015.
And, as most users of Facebook quickly learn, with social networking comes time.
The survey also found that in five years, the time users spend on mobile web sites will likely increase from less than one minute per day to in excess of 10 minutes.