Mobile will drive social media in India -

The majority of people in India will have their first social networking experience on their mobile phone according to Analysys Mason.

In its Overview of mobile social networking in India report, Analysys Mason said
the number of mobile social network users in India is expected to reach around 72 million by 2014. It said this would be driven by the reduced cost of smartphones and the launch of 3G services, which will enhance the consumer experience. 3G spectrum competition is basically causing a turf war in the region.

As a result of this Sourabh Kaushal, principal consultant, said many would experience their first time on a social networking site over a mobile.

"There are a number of reasons for this," he told TechEye.

"Firstly in rural areas of India where wireless is more frequent than fixed landlines, it will be easier to purchase a 3G enabled handset. Secondly handsets are far more reasonably priced at $35- $40 compared to the $300 for a netbook making them a cheaper and more accessible option to many of India's population."

However, he added that those in cities will access social media through broadband.

The number of online social network users in India has grown by 43 percent to approximately 33 million unique users from the beginning of 2009 through to July 2010. India emerged as the seventh largest market globally.

According to the report, the increased number of social network users is driving the number of mobile social network users - around 10 million in 2009 - representing around 2.2 percent of the total number of mobile subscribers.

“Innovative data tariff plans (daily, weekly and monthly plans) and the significant reduction in  data charges are driving adoption of data-based services such as social networking,”  Kaushal added.

“Operators are launching services such as pay-per-site tariffs and are expected to promote social networking applications to drive adoption of data services among their subscribers."

He said handset manufacturers have also started to launch mobile handsets specifically designed for social networking in order to increase the value proposition and differentiate their devices.

Young people and young professionals are driving the adoption of mobile social networking in India, accounting for 70 percent of the total number of users in 2009.  In terms of gender, males account for 56 percent.