BUSINESS WEEK -- June 29 -- SMS.ac and other mobile social networks help users find dates, keep in touch with friends, share photos, and update their blogs via cell phone. SMS.ac claims 40 million users; 14% in U.S. Most other services only have thousands of customers, who typically pay a $5 monthly subscription fee. Popularity should skyrocket as telcos, which get a cut of fees, roll out more of these applications later this year. Sprint began offering SMS.ac, Match.com Mobile and Lavalife Mobile several months ago. U.S. subscription revenues should rise from $31.4 million this year to $215 million in 2009, according to Frost & Sullivan. Additional revenues from forwarding SMS and MMS messages could double that amount. These social networks typically cater to 18-35-year-olds. There are 2 billion cell phones in the world, vs. fewer than 700 million PCs. No wonder online heavyweights such as Google, Match.com, and online social networking sites are ramping up their efforts in the mobile social networking market. Friendster is testing Friendster Mobile in the Philippines. Google acquired Dodgeball.com. In July Match.com will debut a more advanced mobile dating service in Japan. Members will be able to post multiple photos with their profiles, receive daily or weekly lists of matches, and perform complex searches.
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