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Britain leads the way in the mobile era

13 Dec 2012
Searching on a smartphone while on-the-go

More than half of all Britons have a smartphone and one in five owns a tablet according to new figures from Ofcom, which has been charting the UK's growing obsession with internet-connected technology.

According to the telecoms regulator body, UK consumers are now downloading more data on their mobiles and tablets than any other nation, with 16 percent of all website traffic in the UK coming from a smart device.

Much of the mobile traffic is heading towards social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, according to Ofcom. It reports 40 percent of UK adults using their mobile phone to access social networks, while two-thirds of 18-24 year olds do.

“Increasingly, it's mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that are driving this growing demand for data - and in the UK it seems to be social networking sites in particular that are behind this,” said James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research.

Meanwhile, the amount Brits spend online now outstrips that of other nations according to Ofcom. On average, UK consumers spent £1,083 online in 2011, up from £950 in 2010. The second-highest online spenders were in Australia, where e-commerce habits cost £842 in 2011.

Ofcom has also studied how much Britons are paying for communication services, compared to those in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the US.

Ofcom reported that the average prices for fixed lines, mobiles, text messages, broadband and TV services was £146 per month, the lowest out of the countries it looked at. Ofcom also claimed that the amount being spent in the UK was stable when inflation was taken in to account, compared with rising costs in other countries.

“What's clear from this report is that Britain is a nation of early adopters,” said Ernest Doku, telecoms spokesman at comparison site uSwitch.

“We're...the most data-hungry in the world when it comes to using mobile internet on our smartphones.”

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