Mobile devices fuelling appetite for web, Ofcom finds

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Smartphones and tablets are fuelling a 50 percent increase in the amount of time people are spending online, new findings from Ofcom have claimed.

According to the UK regulator, the average adult internet user now spends an average of 20 hours online per week, compared to just under 10 hours in 2005.

The uptake of smartphones and tablets was identified as the main cause of this growth, with the popularity of devices such as Apple’s iPad increasing the amount of online content users consume on the go.

According to Ofcom, only five percent of adults reported using a tablet to go online in 2010. In 2014, this number had risen to 39 percent.

Meanwhile, smartphone use has more than doubled in five years, with two-thirds of adults using a mobile phone to go online in 2014 compared to 30 percent in 2010.

The result is a five-fold increase in the amount of time users spend online while away from home, Ofcom said, which has risen from half an hour in 2005 to two hours and eighteen minutes last year.

Ofcom’s findings are based on the results from a survey of 1,890 adults aged 16 and over.

They revealed that internet-based video and entertainment services are also in growing demand. Twenty-seven percent of internet users now go online to watch television and films, compared to just one in ten in 2007.

Ofcom also revealed that smartphones are now the most popular device used for online gaming, while the popularity of mobile-based messaging services is also on the up.

[Read more: Facebook takes on Apple, Skype with new Wi-Fi calling service]

Various telco players have taken a punt at predicting how video will dominate networks in the future.

Ericsson has estimated that video traffic will increase ten-fold by 2020 to account for 55 percent all mobile data traffic.

Meanwhile, a report from Gartner in February said video will account for 60 percent of network traffic by 2018.

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