The UK saw the highest growth in smartphone take-up in the past year with a 70% rise in subscriber numbers between January 2009 and January 2010, compared to 11% in Italy.
According to Ofcom’s fifth International Communications Market report into the global communications market, which surveyed 17 countries the UK is third to Italy in having the highest take-up of smartphones overall among the comparator European countries. Italy has 26 subscribers for every 100 people, followed by Spain at 21 and the UK at18.
The UK also has the second highest proportion of subscribers paying over £35 a month for their smartphone services, after Spain.
However the UK experienced significantly faster growth in high value subscribers than any other European country with 61% growth, compared to Spain with just 4% growth.
The report also noted that use of mobile mapping and direction services has grown fastest in the UK increasing 86% since 2009 with nine in every 100 people in the UK using these services, compared to 5 in every 100 people in France and Germany.
Consumers in the UK are also using their mobile phones for social networking more than in other countries, with 24% of UK consumers compared to 13% of people in Germany. Younger UK consumers are more likely to visit social networking sites on their mobiles than in other countries, with 45% of 18-24s and 38% of 25-34 year olds reporting that they did this.
The number of social networkers is also higher in the UK than other comparator countries among the 18-24 and 55-64 age ranges. Eighty-six per cent of 18-24s in the UK say they use the internet for social networking, compared to 77% in France and 48% in Japan.
The UK is also the second biggest text messaging nation in Europe after Ireland, with 140 messages per person per month against 218 per person per month in Ireland.