Following the broadband money

More than half UK net users pick mobile device for access

with 2 comments

The UK is turning into a nation of road warriors, with more that half of us using a mobile phone, laptop or tablet to access the internet.

Internet users who connect via a mobile phone, GB, 2011

Lower limit Survey estimate Upper limit
Age (per cent)

16-24 64.3 70.8 77.4
25-34 59.4 64.7 70.1
35-44 43.9 49.2 54.5
45-54 28.1 33.2 38.3
55-64 16.7 21.3 25.8
65+ 4.2 7.6 11.1
Source: ONS

The ONS (Office for National Statistics) said today 45% of UK internet users accessed the internet via a mobile phone in 2011.

The ONS opinions survey showed that 71% of 16-24 year old internet users accessed the internet via a mobile, the highest of any age group, up from 44% in 2010. Almost four in 10 (38%) of all adults accessed the internet via another sort of mobile device, such as a laptop or tablet.

In 2011, 4.9 million, or 13% of internet users, connected via public wireless hotspots, almost double from 7% last year.

Least likely to access the internet by a mobile device (8%) were aged 65+.

Social networking is becoming more popular. Overall, 57% of adult internet users (up from 43%) and 91% of 16-24 year-olds used online social networks in 2011.
ONS said 77% households now have access to the internet, up from 73% last year. About 93% have either an ADSL or cable broadband connection.

Half of those without a household internet connection said they ‘don’t need the internet’, ONS said.
The ONS’s labour force survey showed separately that in 2Q2011, 8.73 million UK adults had never used the internet. This was 12,000 fewer than in 1Q2011. The least likely to go online were over 75s (76.3%). Over one-third of disabled people (36.8%) also say they have never been online, the ONS said.


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2011/08/31 at 10:16

2 Responses

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  1. I am not a fan of statistics, because they can literally be made to say anything we like, but this set rings a bell. An awful lot of the folk I talk to who can get mobile signals say they are happy with mobile access because it means they can get rid of their landline. They do the bulk of their internet stuff at work, and when they are at home they only need socmed and a few emails. I think that is why the stats are saying people ‘don’t need the internet’. I think the question would have been ‘do you have internet access at home’ and not ‘do you access the internet at home from your mobile’.
    the devil is in the detail, but if folk have internet at work and free mobile calls, I don’t think they feel the need to pay for a landline and ‘broadband’. Especially younger folk with good eyesight.


    2011/08/31 at 10:41

    • I agree about stats in general. The implicit question they report on is crucial. Nevertheless, and despite Ofcom’s efforts, the quality of the information and its underlying causes feels slippery and hard to trust, especially when it is very localised. I am all for the ONS digging deeper and wider into the whole of UK networking, especially quality of service issues.
      The full ONS report is here. The ONS warns that the estimates, especially quarterly growth rates, are “experimental”. We should encourage them to refine their methods so that we all get information we can trust.

      Ian Grant

      2011/08/31 at 11:07

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