The UK is the leading European country in smartphone usage, according to the latest research by comScore.

Against an average penetration of mobile subscribers of 45.2 percent, 52.6% of UK consumers had used a smartphone, such as the Apple iPhone, BlackBerry phones, Windows Phone or one of the many Android smartphones.

Germany’s smartphone penetration was lowest of the top five European countries with 38.2%. France was measured at 41.4%, Italy at 44.4% and Spain close to the UK on 52.5%.

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The UK also lead the pack on mobile app usage (49.7% vs an average 39.2%), browser usage (50.6% vs 39.2% average), mobile games play (35.4% vs 28.1%), text messaging (91.8% vs 84.5%) and mobile social networking (38% vs 26.4%).

The only area where the UK fell behind was in listening to music on their mobile device, reaching 0.1% under the European average of 27.5%. Spain’s 36.2% music penetration was the winner by far.

comScore today released its overview of mobile news access across the five leading European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) using the comScore MobiLens service.

2012 European smartphone usage data

The study showed that nearly 37 percent of smartphone users in EU5 reported accessing news sites via an app or browser in January 2012, showing an increase of 74% over the past year.

For EU5 smartphone users who accessed news sites on a near-daily basis, the growth rate was even stronger at 82 percent. The UK showed the highest penetration with nearly half (46.8 percent) of smartphone users reporting having accessed news sites at least once in the past month.

In the three-month average ending January 2012, 39.5 million EU5 smartphone users accessed news sites via an app or browser on a monthly basis, representing 36.9% of the total EU5 smartphone audience.

The UK showed the highest penetration for mobile news access for all usage frequencies, with 46.8 percent of its smartphone audience accessing news at least once monthly and 15.8 percent accessing news almost every day.