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Latin America, Africa will witness ten-fold growth in mobile social networking

Research released by Frost & Sullivan and Colibria shows that mobile social networking is set to increase ten-fold in South America and Africa to a combined total of 527 million users in a market worth almost US$2.4 billion...

The market for Mobilised 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 US$2.4 billion, with growth being driven by increased availability of the Internet, mainly through mobile phones.

 Jon Stephansen, a senior consultant with Frost & Sullivan, said, “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. 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. Similarly, in South America 80% of the population have a mobile phone compared to just 25% with regular fixed Internet access.

Keith Gibson, CEO of Colibria said: “The specific conditions in these markets have led to an increased need for solutions that make Mobilised Social Networking affordable and easy to implement. This is why we developed the Social Centre – 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.”

With Colibria’s Social Centre, updates are pushed 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. Colibria’s Social Centre works on feature phones and basic utility phones that dominate in these regions, with solutions also available where data coverage is incomplete. The Social Centre is currently being rolled out by operators in these high-growth regions, with Movistar Peru and MTN South Africa already deployed.

* Colibria provides new generation messaging, presence and social networking solutions, enabling operators and service providers to deploy enhanced messaging services in order to differentiate their services and to unlock new revenue streams. Colibria's products  provide scalable and modular solutions for the deployment, expansion and evolution of enhanced messaging, presence and social networking services. Founded in 2000, Colibria has offices worldwide, and powers mobile communities throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America with a total addressable subscriber base in excess of 350 million. Colibria’s investors are Northzone Ventures, Verdane Capital and Ferd Venture.

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