Vodafone (VOD) Bets On Social Networking, Buys Its Own

Wireless carrier Vodafone (VOD), like many mobile companies, see a big future for the mobile Web — specifically, mobile social networking. Today, the company announced a €31.5 million ($49 million) deal to acquire ZYB, a mobile social network based in Copenhagen.

What’s it do? ZYB backs up the phone numbers stored on your phone onto its servers — handy if you lose your phone, or drop it in a lake, or use multiple phones. It also uses that address book to link you up with people you know, and lets you send messages, share photos, etc.

This is a smart idea — your mobile phone contact list should be a pretty accurate representation of people you’d like to interact with frequently. But so is your Facebook or MySpace network.

The fundamental question: As more people begin using the mobile Web, will they want to use a new, different social network than the one they already use on their computers? Or will they just use the mobile versions of MySpace (NWS) and Facebook? We think the latter, but would love to hear your take.

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