Mobile internet access continues to grow

The latest statistics on the growth of mobile internet access show significant growth.

The UK's Office of National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest bulletin on how the GB population is accessing and using the internet.  The bulletin includes information about households with internet access and how individuals are accessing and using the internet.

The latest figures show that 77% of GB households have an internet connection.  They also highlight how much smartphones - and wireless hotspots - are affecting the ways in which we are connecting to the internet.

Mobile internet access in Great Britain

When it comes to accessing the internet on the move, the figures show 'significant growth'.  Since the 2010 figures were published, six million additional people are now using mobile phones to access the internet with the greatest increase coming in the 16-24 year old age group.  Other ways to access the mobile internet (tablets etc) have also seen significant growth - 38% of all internet users are using such mobile devices when away from the workplace or home. 

Wireless hotspots are also growing in popularity with 13% of internet users accessing the internet provided free of charge in public spaces.

Online activities

  • 91% of respondents in the 16-24 age group are using social networking websites and 18% of the over 65s also using social networks. Overall, more women than men use social networks.
  • 16% of men and 9% of women use professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.
  • 31% of internet users sold goods or services over the internet, using sites such as eBay.
  • 21% of internet users made telephone or video calls online
  • 66% of adults purchased goods or services online (up from 62% in 2010)

The digital divide

  • 5.7 million households in Great Britain do not have an internet connection. For some, this is a choice but other cited expensive equipment or a lack of skills as the main reason for their lack of internet connectivity.
  • 21% reported they felt they lacked the skills to protect their personal data or to prevent viruses.

Worldwide figures from the OECD

The OECD has also recently published figures which show how the popularity of smartphones, and the availability of cheaper and flat-rate data plans are driving the growth in mobile broadband services.  Wireless broadband subscriptions in OECD countries had exceeded half a billion by the end of 2010.  Korea is the leading country for wireless broadband subscriptions but is followed by Scandinavian countries (Finland (84.8%), Sweden (82.9%) and Norway (79.9%).

The findings also show that

  • Households are increasingly seeing communication services as non-discretionary
  • Bundled packages (TV/mobile and fixed phone lines) are increasingly popular but may make switching more difficult for consumers

About the statistics

(The ONS data was collected in approximately 1200 interviews carried out in the first three months of 2011.  ComScore also publishes internet engagement figures, with the latest European report published in May 2011, as featured here.  The European Commission also publishes data on internet use and activities

The OECD data is available on the OECD website.

Image courtesy of Wayda Dreamscape on Flickr.