Ofcom report points to declining voice calls, increasing tablet use
Posted on 19 Jul 2012 at 10:14, by Gareth Halfacree
Ofcom, the UK's communications watchdog, has released a report that includes a surprising statistic: while plenty of people in the UK use mobile phones, very few of them are making voice calls with them.
According to the Ofcom Communications Market Report, fewer than half of all mobile phone users in the UK - 47 per cent - make at least one voice call per day, compared to 58 per cent who send at least one SMS text message daily. Those figures show an ongoing drop in voice activity on both landlines, which have dropped 10 per cent over the last year, and mobiles, having dropped five per cent.
While people are making fewer voice calls, they certainly haven't stopped communicating altogether. The report claims that 73 per cent of all mobile phone owners aged between 16 to 24 use a social networking service like Facebook or Twitter at least once a day, while a massive 96 per cent of all users communicate using a text-based system like BlackBerry Messenger or Google Talk.
Ownership of mobile devices is also on the rise, Ofcom's report revealed: on average, a UK household will have three different types of devices capable of accessing the internet, while 15 per cent will hold six or more. This is reflected in the growth of smartphone ownership, which has increased by 12 per cent since 2010 with two in five adults now owning a smartphone.
Perhaps most surprisingly, 42 per cent of smartphone owners claim that their handset is the most important device they have for accessing the internet - more important even than a desktop or a laptop computer.
The final interesting figure to emerge from Ofcom's report is on tablet ownership, at a time when Microsoft is attempting to enter that very market with its Surface products: according to the report, tablet ownership has increased from just two per cent last year to 11 per cent now, with a third of respondents claiming that their tablet is the most important device in their lives.
The report further claims that almost one in five households intend to buy a tablet some time in the next twelve months. Most surprising of all, however, is that tablets aren't quite the portable devices they are billed as: nine-tenths of tablet owners responding to the survey indicated that they mostly use their tablets at home, rather than while out and about, with two-thirds sharing the device with other people in the household - but a further third refusing the let others play.
The full report is available for download from the official Ofcom website.
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