Swisscom says smartphones now mainstream among teenage users

Swisscom said smartphones finally became a mainstream product among Switzerland's youth in 2014, with latest research showing that young people typically surf more than they make calls on their devices.

The Swiss incumbent said regular research conducted on its behalf by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences shows smartphone penetration among users aged 12-19 years old hit 97 per cent in 2014, out of total handset penetration of 98 per cent. In contrast, smartphone penetration stood at no more than 50 per cent in 2010 when the first study was conducted.

Named the James Study, the research is conducted every two years using a sample of 1,000 young people.

The recent study shows Switzerland's youth access the web on their smartphones more than they make calls, with 87 per cent of users accessing mobile Internet in 2014 compared to 16 per cent in 2010. However, the operator's research also shows the number of young users making phone calls has remained relatively stable over the past four years. In 2010, 80 per cent of those quizzed made calls on their smartphone, compared to 79 per cent in 2014.

The 2014 survey reveals users aren't surfing the web more because they own a smartphone. The total time spent online--on any device--stood at around two hours per day in 2014, which Swisscom noted is roughly in-line with the results of the 2010 survey. Today, 75 per cent of those quizzed regularly communicate on social networks.

Swisscom's study addresses concerns young people are losing key social skills due to communicating more online than in person. The company reports that 79 per cent of those surveyed regularly meet friends, a figure it said is unchanged on 2010.

Separately, research firm IHS said mobile usage data provided by specialist company Mobidia Technology reveals that larger smartphone displays typically result in more minutes of use.

The companies compiled data on the use of 25 smartphone models in the UK, Germany, the U.S., South Korea and Japan. In the UK, users with a screen size between 4 and 4.4 inches show around a 90 per cent increase in use compared to smaller displays, while screens measuring 5.5 inches or higher increase usage by around 130 per cent.

Germany showed a similar pattern, though the very largest displays spurred a near 150 per cent rise in usage.

Chris Hill, senior vice president of marketing at Mobidia, said the analysis shows that larger displays are having a positive impact on the industry. "For instance, users spent significantly more time in streaming video apps like HBO Go, Netflix and YouTube when accessing them from phones with large screens," Hill commented.

For more:
- view Swisscom's research announcement
- see IHS and Mobidia's release

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