The rapid uptake of 4G has boosted smartphone usage, Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report has found.
Mobile devices overtook laptops for the first time in the regulator’s annual survey. The increase in 4G activity encouraged UK consumers to use their smartphones for online banking, instant messaging and sending photos and video via text.
Voice calls over the internet were also more popular with 4G users, with usage increasing by 8%.
The report showed that, during 2014, 4G mobile subscriptions increased by 20.6m, soaring from 2.7m to 23.6m by the end of the year, driving users to spend more time online.
James Thickett, Ofcom director of research, claims that this uptake is ‘supercharging’ smartphones, as instant messaging services, and sending photos and videos via text saw a boost as more users’ switched to 4G.
He 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.’
The regulator used the report to reiterate its stance on improving mobile and broadband, claiming that it is ‘considering further options’ as part of its on-doing Digital Communications Review.