Ofcom: UK tops world mobile data usage chart


UK mobile users consume more mobile data than any other nation, according to a new report from telecoms regulator Ofcom.

The watchdog found that mobile web browsing, video streaming and social networking in the UK now outstrips Japan, which has long been the trendsetter in mobile usage.

In December 2011, the average UK mobile connection used 424 megabytes of data, whether for social networking, streaming videos, web browsing or downloading music.

This was higher than any other major country, pushing Japan into second place (at 392 megabytes) and the US into sixth (319 megabytes).

One sixth (16 per cent) of all website traffic in the UK was on a mobile, tablet or other connected device, which is higher than any other country in Europe.

Much of this mobile use, particularly where smartphones are concerned, appears to be driven by the popularity of social networking sites.

Four in ten (40 per cent) UK adults now use their mobile phones to visit social networking sites, while around two thirds of 18-24 year olds do - more than the same age group in any other major country.

Much of the increase in mobile data usage has come from online shopping, with the UK spending more online through their mobiles than any other country.

UK consumers spend an average of 1,083 a year on internet shopping, compared with Australia which spends the second highest at 842, while Sweden spends 747, putting it in third.

James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research, said: "Our research shows that UK consumers continue to benefit from one of the most advanced markets for communications products and services."

Thickett said that the study revealed that "the UK leads the way in using the internet on the move. Increasingly, it's mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that are driving this growing demand for data and in the UK it seems to be social networking sites that are behind this in particular."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.