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37% of smartphone owners are 'highly addicted' to their handset

More than one in five answer phone while using the toilet

More than a third (37 percent) of adult and 60 percent of teenage smartphone owners claim they are 'highly addicted' to their handset, says Ofcom.

According to the regulator's latest Communications Market Report, 27 percent of adults and 47 percent of teens own a smartphone, with 59 percent of those teens admitting they were given or purchased their smartphone within the last 12 months.

Furthermore, handsets are more often to used make calls then send texts while nearly a quarter (23 percent) of teens says they watch less telly and 15 percent claim to read less books, both as a result of their smartphone.

More than four in five (81 percent) of smartphone owners say their handset is switched on all the time and four in ten adults (38 percent) and teens (40 percent) say they use a smartphone after it has woken them up during sleep. More than half (51 percent) of adults and (65 percent) of teenagers say they have used their smartphone while socialising with others, while 23 percent of adults and 34 percent of teens admit to using their mobile phone during a meal. Furthermore, 22 percent of adults and 47 percent of teens claimed to have answered a call on the handset while using the toilet.

In true rebellious style, more teens (27 percent) than adults (18 percent) have also admitted to using their smartphone in a location where it should be switched off such as the cinema or a library.

Three in ten (30 percent) of smartphone users can they regularly take personal calls during working hours but 70 percent admit to having taken works calls while on annual leave.

Just under half (47 percent) of adult smartphone users have downloaded an app while more teens (38 percent) than adults (25 percent) have paid for an app. Games are the most popular apps followed by music-based apps.

Over a quarter (28 percent) of Brits said they had accessed the web from a smartphone during 2011 compared to 22 percent in 2010. Of these, more than half (57 percent) use their handset to visit social networking sites, making it the most popular net-based mobile activity ahead of sending/receiving emails (53 percent).

The Communications Market Report also one in seven homes in the UK are mobile only and 76 percent have internet access compared to just a quarter in 2000. However, while nine in ten adults (90 percent) aged 35 to 44 have access to the web at home, this falls to just 26 percent of over 75s.

Furthermore, 500,000 UK homes have superfast broadband with a headline speed of 30Mbps or higher, that's five times more than in 2010. Of those with superfast broadband, four in five (80 percent) say they're 'satisfied' with the service and a third claim the download speeds have exceeded their expectations.

"Ofcom's 2011 Communications Market Report shows the influence that communications technology now has on our daily lives, and on the way we behave and communicate with each other," said the regulator's director of research, James Thickett.

"Our research into the use of smartphones, in particular, reveals how quickly people become reliant on new technology, to the point of feeling 'addicted'."


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