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Smartphones: Liberation or Limits?

As more people, especially the less well off, have only a smartphone to access the internet, there are signs that a new type of digital divide could develop. Ofcom’s Alison Preston describes new research carried out in the UK

Smartphones: Liberation or Limits?

This article is about the people who use their smartphone as their predominant way to go online. The number of people in this group is growing – research by Ofcom, the UK regulator, published this year shows that 16% of people in the UK say they use only a smartphone or tablet to go online, up from 6% the previous year. And 6% say they only use a smartphone – rising to 13% of those from the lowest socio-economic groups.

At Ofcom, we are keen to understand how people’s media use and attitudes are evolving, and so we decided to explore this issue through in-depth research, to find out more about the motivations, and the strengths and drawbacks, of such behaviour. This article summarises the key findings from our published report.

Download this article (PDF)

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