UK mobile operator 02 has confirmed it is in talks with MySpace (among others) over a tie-up to allow their subscribers to access MySpace pages and their own profile via mobile. Although MySpace has been doing this for a while with the MVNO Helio in the US, it is reportedly looking to land a bigger fish in the form of Cingular, the number one mobile network in the US – so talking to the number one in the UK is a natural progression.
With mobile phone penetration rates long past 100% in the UK and much of Europe the competition between networks is shifting towards extra services and social networking is an obvious move. According to MocoNews, Bebo – with 22 million users among the biggest social networking services globally and in UK – has also been talking to UK mobile players. With YouTube serving over 100m videos a day, and in some markets rivaling TV consumption, mobile players clearly want some of that action in some form or other. YouTube is in talks with Verizon Wireless in the US about this, for instance.
To date the UK mobile networks have made a thoroughly half-hearted attempt to enter the social networking arena. 3’s Kink Kommunity has 50,000 paying subscribers and claims to get about 350,000 postings a day but the features on the site are pretty low-spec. O2’s LookAtMe makes users pay 10p to download video clips posted by other users and the site is just for information.
In the UK the sites to watch for the next wave of mobile/web social networking include Moblog UK which has built a smart system from the ground up to work across any network in terms of uploading SMS and MMS content. And another site is about to come out offering some very smart mobile social networking features, but we’ll leave that scoop till later on this week…