Considering that RIM has pimped out their Facebook application across all carriers in North America, it’s likely that you’ve accessed a social network via your BlackBerry (although we prefer m.linkedin.com, and are patiently waiting for a native BlackBerry app). Analyst ABI Research speculated earlier this week that by 2013, there will be more than 140 million mobile social network subscribers worldwide, and generating subscription revenues in excess of $410 million. To put these numbers in perspective, that’s more than the current worldwide unique visitor numbers of either MySpace or Facebook, which hover somewhere around 115 million.
The question to be asked is where all that money will come from — both MySpace and Facebook currently have mobile web-accessible versions of their sites, and the aforementioned BlackBerry Facebook app costs you nothing but time and data. ABI Research speculates that the revenue come not via advertising, but through a subscription model for social network access, likely in the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
Here’s a question (or two): how much would you pay to use a BlackBerry Facebook app per month? How much for a LinkedIn app?