Mobile phones take over from landlines in UK

Mobile phones are increasingly being used for more than simply voice calls, and are replacing landlines in a growing number of households

People in the UK are relying more on their mobile phones than on their landlines, and are increasingly using mobiles for secondary features such as cameras, according to the latest Ofcom annual communications industry report.

The Ofcom Communications Market Report 2007, released today, reported that there were more than double the number of mobiles in use in the UK than landlines - with 69.7 million mobile phone connections by the end of 2006, compared to 33.6 million landline connections. The number of UK households now relying on just a mobile phone is 9 per cent, compared to 7 per cent of households with just a landline.

The Ofcom report highlighted the growing trend towards using mobile phones instead of landlines, with mobile calls now accounting for over one third of total minutes (82 billion minutes out of the 234 billion minutes total).

Digital camera snapshot

Mobile phones are increasingly being used for functions other than voice calls, too. The Ofcom report reveals:

  • 42 per cent of mobile phone users regularly use their phone as a digital camera
  • 16 per cent of mobile users use their phone for internet access
  • 10 per cent of mobile users listen to FM radio on their mobiles
  • 21 per cent of mobile users use their mobiles to play games

The report also shows that the text phenomenon continues to grow, with a 20 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of text messages sent recorded in 2006. UK mobile users sent an average of 12 text messages a week.

3G explosion

The Ofcom report revealed a growing trend towards 3G phone take-up in the UK. Some 11.2 per cent of mobile phones (7.8 million) were connected to a 3G network by the end of 2006 - 70 per cent up on the previous year's total.

In addition to higher speed mobile internet access via 3G networks, Ofcom also noted that the number of public access Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK were increasing rapidly. In April 2007 their were 11,447 hotspots compared to 10,339 a year earlier.