PARIS: The number of people using the mobile internet in France has climbed by almost a quarter in the last year, with Google, YouTube and Facebook among the most popular sites in the country.

Médiamétrie, the research firm, reported that 19m subscribers logged on the net via this route in the closing three months of 2011, an improvement of 23%, or 3.5m consumers, on an annual basis.

Nearly half of this audience were under 35 years of age, though members of this age group make up around 25% of the French population as a whole.

Men contributed 57% of the mobile web community, but the proportion of the user base that were women had grown from 40% to 43% in 12 months.

In all, 91% of this group had visited at least one site accessible from a 3G network, an increase of 1.3 percentage points compared with the fourth quarter of 2010.

Another 60.6% had used one or more applications, a total expanding by eight percentage points versus the third quarter of 2011.

During the final three months of 2011, the average mobile web user devoted six hours 24 minutes to this channel, an increase of over an hour on Q1 2011. The typical number of pages viewed also grew by 350, to 1,248.

The top sites included Google, the search engine, which attracted 13.5m visitors across Q4 2011. Facebook, the social network, followed on 13m.

YouTube, the video-sharing platform, yielded 8.9m on this metric, ahead of Orange, the telecoms provider, on 8.8m, and Twitter, the microblog, on 8m.

SFR, the mobile phone company, registered 6.9m on the same measure, beating Apple, the electronics giant, on 6.2m, and Wikipedia, the user-generated information source, on 5.6m.

When it came to accessing sites via apps, Google again led on 10.8m visitors, in front of YouTube on 8.9m. Apple's iTunes music service posted 6.5m and Facebook recorded 5.4m, the study added.

Data sourced from Médiamétrie; additional content by Warc staff