By Daniel Hunter
Ofcom has released its 2015 Communications Market Report (an indepth study of the UK's TV, radio, broadband, telecoms and postal industries) at the same time as the release of the ONS's 2015 report Internet access and use in Great Britain.
In this year's CMR report reveals that smartphones have overtaken laptops as UK Internet users' number one device.
Ofcom finds that two thirds (66%) of UK consumers own a smartphone. Over a third (33%) of internet users see their smartphone as their essential device for going online, compared to 30% who still use their laptop - a clear contrast to Ofcom's report in 2014, where only 22% turned to their phone first, and 40% preferred their laptop.
Ofcom's CMR concludes that the surge is being driven by the increasing take-up of 4G mobile broadband, which provides faster online access, from the UK's four 4G providers — Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three. During 2014, 4G subscriptions leapt from 2.7 million to 23.6 million by the end of 2014. Indeed, the ONS report has revealed that almost all adults aged 16 to 24 (96%) access the Internet 'on the go'.
UK consumers have shown themselves to be ready to adopt new devices and new patterns of consumption — not for nothing is the UK the world leader in ecommerce, with 76% of adults buying goods or services online in 2015.
Commenting on Ofcom's Communications Market Report, Raj Sivalingam, techUK's Executive Director of Telecoms and Spectrum, said:
"Ofcom's Communications Market Report once again confirms the UK as one of the most exciting digital markets in the world. Fixed download speeds have trebled, while mobile speeds have more than doubled with the availability of 4G. The good news is that UK consumers show no loss of appetite for doing things online whether through fixed or mobile means. But the challenge for the industry is to satisfy the increasing customer demands in the face of reducing revenues. This can only be done by reducing the cost of implementing and running the world class networks that our digital economy demands - and the Government should leave no stone unturned in improving the investment incentives for industry."