Ofcom: 4G Powering British Smartphone Usage

British telecom regulator, Ofcom, has released a report showing the breakdown of devices or computers used online and for the first time in the United Kingdom, the smartphone has overtaken all other devices. It's now officially the favorite British Internet use device. Ofcom is crediting the increase in smartphone Internet usage on how customers want to access more mobile video and how this is combined with high speed 4G LTE networks, which have been rolled out across more of the country. This has enabled applications and services such as YouTube, BBC iPlayer, CatchupTV and Netflix to be far more viable for customers without access to high speed data networks.

However, in terms of Internet usage, whilst the smartphone is the most popular Internet use device, it only counts for one third of Britain's use, which is up ten percent from 2014. Laptop use is down from forty percent in 2014 to thirty percent in 2015. Two thirds of the adult British population now have a smartphone, which is up from two fifths in 2012. We are also using our devices more, which is up to an average of almost two hours. Ofcom's Director of Market Intelligence, Jane Rumble, said that this change in Internet use is a "landmark shift." She continued: "You can see these devices are becoming more and more an important vital hub of information and communication throughout the day, with smartphone owners spending almost two hours (on them) each day, almost double the amount of time that those people are spending on their laptop or desktop... Those aged 16 to 24 are much more likely, as well as 25 to 34, to say their smartphone is the most important device to get online, whereas for the older age groups, they are much more likely to be sticking with their laptop." Ofcom also saw an increase in tablet use to nineteen percent up from fifteen percent in 2014 and eight percent in 2013.

Other information includes that thirty four percent of adults use a smartphone inside five minutes of waking up. However, for those younger adults aged between eighteen to twenty four, this rises to half. This is a trend that has been mirrored across the world, including the United States of America. However, reflecting the (eventual!) change in British mobile networks, the number of 4G LTE subscribers has risen from 2.7 million at the end of 2013 to 23.6 million just one year later. This is because the British networks realized that charging people extra for LTE access was not going to grow subscribers numbers and this is combined with a rapid roll out of LTE networking.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.