Mobile Web Usage Continues To Explode As Opera Mini Nears 40 Million Monthly Users

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We all know the Mobile web is exploding in popularity. Opera Mini, Opera’s mobile browser, grew its monthly users by 11 percent to nearly 40 million users in October from 32 million users in August. In terms of page views, Opera Mini delivered 17.2 billion last month, a 238 percent annual increase, indicating that mobile web usage is growing fast. Since September’s report, page-views have gone up by nearly 15 percent.

Opera also reported increased data consumption on its mobile browsers, which compresses up to 90% of the data to save network bandwidth, with Mini users generating more than 263 million MB of data for operators worldwide in October 2009, a 16 percent increase in data consumption since September 2009. Since October 2008, data traffic is up 233 percent.

Although these stats are impressive, it’s important to acknowledge the immense popularity of Webkit and Apple’s Safari Browser. But Opera Mini does seem to have a stronghold in Russia, Asia and Europe. The top 10 countries for Opera Mini usage are (in order): Russia, Indonesia, India, China, Ukraine, South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Poland and Vietnam.

From October 2008 to October 2009, overall page-views in these countries listed increased by 332 percent, but Opera released some interesting statistics about usage in Latin America in this month’s State of the Browser report. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina lead the countries with the most usage in Latin America.

Unsurprisingly, Google and Facebook are doing well in Latin America, according to the report. While Orkut is strong in Brazil and Paraguay, Facebook is slowly chipping away at its stronghold. Hotmail is the most popular e-mail site in Latin America and Auction site MercadoLibre, eBay’s Latin American partner, is drawing large amounts of users in Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia and Peru. And Nokia and Sony Ericsson are by far the most popular handset brands chosen by Opera Mini users in Latin America.

Opera claims that using Opera Mini saves people “billions of dollars every year off their mobile phone bills” because the browser compresses data by up to 90%, which could reduce the amount users pay each month for mobile data. To promote these savings, Opera is launching a new cost savings calculator to let users figure out how much they could save each month. Opera claims that Mini users save a total of $9.4 billion USD per year.

It’s important to take this number with a grain of salt. Opera’s complex calculations look at the top operators in each country, and determine how much they typically charge per MB of browsing, and averaged those figures together. The average cost of browsing in each country is then multiplied by the amount of traffic generated in each country, and the resulting totals are summed and compared to the totals for uncompressed data traffic. The caveat is that Opera’s calculations reflects metered rates (cost per MB) and not flat-rate subscription options, which skews the numbers in their favor.

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