Mobile data use on the increase

2008 appears to be the year of mobile data in spite of the economic downturn, with research from Orange showing customers' mobile-data usage almost doubling in the last quarter

Orange's research into its customers' behaviour shows mobile-data usage almost doubling in the last quarter. It also said it has added 1.3 million 3G customers since the research was last conducted in November 2007 to January 2008.

Dongle subscriptions have grown by more than 2,000 percent since then, the report found.

Orange says data rises can be put down to better-designed devices — both handsets and dongles — enabling easier access to the mobile internet. It believes dedicated mobile-data price plans have also helped, along with the rise of mobile social networking.

Social-networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are generating an average of more than 166 million monthly mobile page impressions, according to the report. Meanwhile, mobile search has increased by 30 percent and local search by 100 percent, while September saw a record 300,000 tracks downloaded, according to Orange.