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by Nicolas Keyden
06 August 2015
Ofcom: Scotland becoming a 'smartphone society'

Ofcom: Scotland becoming a 'smartphone society'

Scotland is turning into a "smartphone society" with the device now the most popular way to get online, a report by Ofcom has found.

Thirty-seven per cent of internet users deem smartphones the most important device for accessing the internet, up from one in five (21 per cent) a year earlier. 

Smartphones have now overtaken laptops as the most important device for internet access with the latter down year-on-year from 45 per cent to 26 per cent.

Half of internet users aged 16 to 34 and more than four in ten (45 per cent) aged between 35 and 54 say a smartphone is the most important device for going online. 

The report, which marks Ofcom's tenth annual review of the communications market in Scotland, also revealed a marked increase in the number of tablet owners within Scottish households

Half of adults in Scotland (52 per cent) said they had one in the household, an increase of ten per cent compared to 12 months earlier.

"Scotland is now a smartphone society," said Ofcom Scotland director Vicki Nash. "It's the device of choice for accessing the internet."

Elsewhere, take-up of a 4G service among smartphone owners rose by a quarter between 2014 and this year to 55 per cent, ten per cent higher than the UK average.

“In last year’s Communications Market Report we noted Scotland was becoming a more connected nation," added Nash.

“There are definitely signs of this continuing with the increase in 4G service take-up being a particular highlight.”

However, Scotland still has the lowest proportion of premises with outdoor 3G coverage compared to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Andy Willox, Scottish policy convener for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Patching Scotland’s coverage gap needs to a priority for the country’s decision makers. 

"Mobile data is now essential for more and more businesses and customers, but too many communities in Scotland are still 2G towns.

“These figures also pose challenges to Scotland’s public sector and business community. It shows a radical change in how people access information and transact with third parties. Organisations which don’t adapt to this change will likely find that their audience or customers go elsewhere.”

The research saw 3,756 people aged over 16 across the UK, including 492 in Scotland, surveyed in the first two months of this year.

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