Report: 16% of online adults say they use 4G on mobile, but 3G still dominates

Around 16 per cent of adults who access the Internet via a mobile device say they use LTE (or 4G) networks, with a similar percentage saying they typically connect via Wi-Fi. However, 3G remains the dominant form of connectivity with a 36 per share, according to the latest GlobalWebIndex (GWI) quarterly report on trends in smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and wearables.

The report for the third quarter of 2014, which covers 32 markets globally, also found that 80 per cent of online adults now have a smartphone, while almost 50 per cent have a tablet. Ownership for both types of devices peaks among the 25-34 years age group, with smartphone ownership highest in Asia-Pacific and tablets more prevalent in North America.

Meanwhile, wearable devices remain niche products with only 9 per cent of those surveyed saying they owned a smart watch and 7 per cent saying they owned a smart wristband.

In terms of operating systems (OS), Android is the top OS across smartphones (54 per cent) and tablets (20 per cent), with a 38-point lead over Apple's iOS for iPhone and a seven-point lead over iOS for iPad. While GWI notes that Android has enjoyed a lead over iOS in the smartphone market since 2011, the gap between the two has widened from a ratio of under 2:1 Android to iOS users in 2011 to 3.5:1 in 2014.

In the tablets market, meanwhile, GWI said Android overtook iOS at the end of 2012 and has maintained its lead ever since.

A further interesting finding is that smartphones are also encouraging users to spend more time online without cannibalising time spent on other devices such as PCs, laptops and tablets: on average, Internet users spend 1.85 hours online via a mobile phone each day, compared to 1.24 hours in 2012, while time spent online on other devices has remained fairly steady.

GWI said it surveys more than 170,000 Internet users across its 32 markets every year. Research is conducted in quarterly waves with global sample sizes of more than 40,000 Internet users. The Q3 2014 report is based on research conducted among 41,823 adults.

For more:
- see the summary of the GlobalWebIndex Q3 2014 here

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