Opera Mini Sees 50.5 Million Mobile Users In February, Up 145 Percent

Browser maker Opera Software has released its latest ‘State of the Mobile Web’ report this morning, which is based on the usage of its Opera Mini browser for mobile phones. Each month, the conclusion is always the same: mobile web usage around the world keeps on growing and growing. In February, Opera Mini had over 50.5 million users, a 1.7% increase from January 2010 and more than 145% increase compared to February 2009.

Opera says that the 50 million plus users viewed more than 22 billion pages in February, which actually represents a 6% decrease from January (Opera claims this is because February only has 28 days compared to January’s 31.) Since February 2009, page views have increased by 200%. In February, Opera Mini users generated over 330 million MB of data, with consumption down by 1.9%. Since February 2009, data traffic is up over 164%. The top 10 countries for Opera Mini usage in February remained the same with users mainly centralized in Russia, Indonesia, India, China, Ukraine, South Africa, Nigeria, the United States, Vietnam and the United Kingdom.

Opera claims that people browsing with Opera Mini (in the top 10 countries according to unique users) spent approximately $103.8 million in data costs, which if tallied for 12 months, represents a potential of $1.25 billion per year. Opera calculates this based on usage and the average cost of browsing in each country. Opera calculates this number based upon using $1 per megabyte as a global average. While $1.25 billion seems like a big reach for Opera, you can imagine what the users of more popular browsers like mobile Safari or Android are spending.

Per users, Opera Mini users spent approximately $4 on average in the month of February, which comes out to $48 per year. The heaviest spending occurs in the United States ($146.40 user/year) and the United Kingdom ($102/user/year), whereas the least spending occurs in India ($8.76/user/year) and South Africa ($11.52/user/year), which is mostly due to data costs in these countries, as opposed to the amount of data transferred.

Specifically in North America, February 2009 to February 2010, page views in the top 11 countries of North America and the Caribbean increased by 153%, unique users increased by 109% and data transferred increased by 84%. In terms of specific sites used in the U.S. among mobile Web users, Google is at the top of the rankings, with Facebook coming in second and Yahoo in third. In the United States and Canada, BlackBerry handsets occupy the number 1 spot. Of course, BlackBerry takes the top spot because iPhone and Android users both have powerful browsers, nullifying the need to use Opera Mini.

However, Opera just submitted an application for an Opera Mini app for the iPhone, which it claims is up to 6 times faster than the native browser thanks to its compression and server-side rendering technology. We’ll see if the app is approved.