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The UK's smartphone growth

A report by UK communications regulator Ofcom has shown that smartphones have overtaken laptops as the #1 method for getting online.

According to the data from Ofcom, "Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank, and shop online."

The rise of the smartphone

Compared with 2014 when only 22% of people used their smartphones for online access compared with 40% on their laptops, you can clearly see the transition from laptop to mobile as the preferred online device.

It has also become aparent that 4G users are simply doing more online than their non-4G counterparts.

55% of 4G smartphone users are shopping online compared with 35% of non-4G users, they also bank online morefrequently (55% Vs 33%), watch more video and TV online (57% Vs 40%) and make more voice & face-to-face calls (28% Vs 20%).

Oh and they also send more instant messages using services like WhatsApp (63% Vs 50%) and send more photos and videos via text message (49% Vs 36%).

4G versus non-4G users

There is currently at least on 4G mobile broadband service available to 89.5% of UK premises with 42% (four in ten people) of the UK population able to choose from all four UK mobile network operators (MNOs): EE, O2, Vodafone and Three.

The MNOs continue to expand on their 4G network coverage with Ofcom rules dictating that 98% of premises will have indoor 4G signal from at least one operator by 2017.

James Thickett, Ofcom Director of Research, said, “4G has supercharged our smartphones, helping people do everything from the weekly shop to catching up with friends with a face-to-face video call. For the first time, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the UK’s most popular internet device and are now the hub of our daily lives.

Number of 4G mobile subscriptions within the UK

The rise of smartphones for online use and the increasing availability of 4G has resulted in a doubling of the amount of time people spend online over the last decade.

Online time doubles in a decade

Ofcoms research shows that internet users aged 16+ spend over 20 hours and 30 minutes in 2014, up from the 9 hours and 54 minutes from 2005.

Generally people think that their online time is bringing them benefits, with 64% of online adults agreeing that being online is invaluable for keeping them up-to-date with current issues, and 60% agree that being online helps them to stay in touch with friends and family.

4G capable smartphones are becoming 'the norm' where getting online is concerned, this is why we believe that 4G capable tough phones like the CAT S40 and CAT S30 are invaluable to the savvy tradesman, enabelling him to get online and order the parts he needs from suppliers and builders merchants, email on-the-job photos to his colleagues, using his phone as a music player or radio and ocasionally looking up a 'how-to' on YouTube!