Communications Market Report Names the U.K. a ‘Smartphone Society’

Photo by Charl van Rooy on Unsplash

All the big research firms are focused on the United States most of the time, and for good reason too: it’s where all the technological action is. But Europe and the United Kingdom in particular are not to be overlooked. Especially when it comes to the communications industry.

Ofcom, a communications watchdog in the UK, recently published a report showing a considerable uptick in mobility. Nothing you wouldn’t expect, but the growth has been so massive in the UK that Ofcom calls the nation a “smartphone society.” The report is packed with statistics and analysis of the UK communications sector and is a good reference for shareholders and industry folk alike.

Mobility shows no signs of stopping

Smartphones this year have surpassed laptops as Britons’ favorite means of connecting the Internet. 33% consider their smartphone ideal for browsing the web, while another 30% say the same about their laptop. The reality is that laptops, tablets and smartphones serve different browsing needs depending on the user’s preferred method of input, the time of the day, location, etc. But when we strictly discuss mobility, the smartphone takes home the crown, no ifs or buts.

One of the key drivers in this evolution towards mobility is 4G/LTE technology. During 2014, the standard reportedly jumped from 2.7 million subscribers to 23.6 million. Mobile users in the UK (and not only) are now spending nearly twice as much time on their pocket computers (1 hour and 54 minutes) than on their laptops (1 hour and 9 minutes).

Main use of VoIP in Britain? Video calls

A YouGov survey analyzing VoIP usage in the U.K. shows that 23% of Internet users are also regular users of VoIP technology, mainly for video calling. The use of IP telephony for video calls was more prevalent than the use to make voice calls, with 69% reporting that they only used it to make video calls, while 11% said they used it only for voice calls. As many as 19% said they used VoIP for both purposes. The survey also uncovered (to no one’s surprise) that VoIP usage was highest among younger demographics: 30% of 16-24 year olds and 28% of 25-39 year olds said they regularly used it. 21% of those aged 40-54 and 19% of those aged 55+ said the same.

Devices used to make VoIP calls in the UK between 2014 and 2014 | Credits: YouGov, Ofcom

The top devices used to make VoIP calls in the U.K. are (in this exact order): smartphone (61%), laptop (42%), tablet (39%), desktop computer (24%), and dedicated VoIP handset (3%). It’s important to note that smartphones and tablets are the only two devices that showed a considerable uptick in adoption as Internet communication tools, whereas the rest of the pack dropped considerably compared to last year.

The entire Ofcom report is a whopping 400 pages long, and I’m sure not everyone (in their right mind) has the patience to go through the whole thing without some serious investments planned in the communications market. The gist of it? People in Britain (and probably everywhere else in the world) prefer their smartphone over any other device for just about anything.

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