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More than 140 million mobile subscribers worldwide will use social networks on their phones by 2013, generating over $410 million in subscription revenues, according to ABI Research's September 2008 "Mobile Social Networking" study.
ABI said it was intentionally very conservative in its predictions.
"Subscriber numbers for mobile social networking will climb at a relatively modest rate for the next three or four years, but will then start to
accelerate sharply," said Michael Wolf, research director at ABI, in a statement. "That uptick is based on assumed acceptance levels in the giant emerging markets
such as Brazil, Russia, India and China."
The company's latest forecast is lower than its previous estimates. In December 2006, ABI Research published one of the first mobile
social networking reports, forecasting that mobile social communities
would reach 174 million users by 2011.
Juniper Research estimated in August 2007 that the number of mobile
social networking users would rise to around 600 million worldwide by
2012. At the high end of the spectrum, Pyramid Research projected in
February 2008 that there would be 950 million mobile social networking
users by 2012.
Based on multiple sources and its own analysis, eMarketer predicts more than 800 million
registered site members will use their mobile phones to access social
networks by 2012.
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