Ofcom Report Declares Northern Ireland as a ‘Smartphone Society’

Picture of Nicola Cadogan

Nicola Cadogan

Smartphones are now the most popular device for getting online in Northern Ireland according to Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report.

They’re now in the pockets of nearly two thirds (63%) of Northern Ireland adults, up from 21% in 2011.

Some 37% say their smartphone is the most important device for staying connected, compared to 26% who are sticking with their laptop.

The popularity of smartphone use is equally prevalent throughout the UK with people using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.

In Northern Ireland, internet users spent significantly more time online in 2014 (21.6 hours weekly) than they did in 2013 (13.8 hours).

The mobile revolution has been bolstered by an improvement in 4G mobile broadband; over 91% of premises are now in areas with outdoor 4G coverage.

Jonathan Rose, Ofcom Northern Ireland Director, said:

“Northern Ireland is becoming a nation of smartphone users, with these devices now overtaking the laptop as the preferred way of getting online.

“The continued expansion of 4G services should mean further growth in the year ahead, as consumers take advantage of new features and apps that exploit the increased speed offered by this technology.

“But it is apparent that not everyone has access to good broadband and mobile coverage. Ofcom wants to see the widest possible availability of communications services and is considering what further options might be available to improve coverage, both mobile and fixed-line broadband, as part of its Digital Communications Review.”


This year’s report also provided an insight into the media we consume. It has been revealed that the TV industry is still booming; the UK industry generated £13.2bn in revenue in 2014, an increase of 3.1% year on year.

Among adults, the TV is the device people say they would miss the most, cited by close to four in ten (37%).


The time spent listening to radio in Northern Ireland is higher than in the UK as a whole.

Local commercial radio is the most listened-to type of radio in Northern Ireland. Although there are 35 DAB digital radio station in Northern Ireland, ownership of DAB radios is lower than in the UK as a whole.

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