The Communications Market Report: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland leads the way in tablet computer take-up

Northern Ireland has the highest ownership of tablet computers in the UK.

The number of people owning a tablet has more than trebled in the past year, with nearly one in three homes (29%) having one, compared with 24% in the UK.

The surge reflects the continuing rise in take-up and use of the internet in Northern Ireland - eight in ten households (80%) now have access to the internet, up from 73% the previous year.

Northern Ireland also has the highest availability of fibre broadband in the UK, with 95% of premises able to access fibre enabled cabinets in June 2013.

Jonathan Rose, Ofcom's Northern Ireland Director, said: 'Since they were launched just a few years ago, take-up of tablets has reached nearly a third of homes in Northern Ireland. Consumers value the portability and quick access to the internet at home and on the move that these devices provide.

'This is also reflected in another sharp rise in smartphone ownership with nearly half of us owning one.'

Social media continues to be popular among people in Northern Ireland, with more than half (53%) accessing Facebook, Twitter and similar services online, either at home or on the move.

A similar proportion (51%) say they bank online, while three in five (60%) purchase goods and services on the internet.

Mobile users in Northern Ireland are more likely to be dissatisfied and more likely to experience problems with mobile coverage than consumers in the other UK nations.

Some 75% of respondents had experienced a problem, compared to the UK average of 52%, with not getting a signal the problem experienced by most respondents (59%).

Northern Ireland leads the way in take-up of pay TV, with two-thirds (66%) of homes having Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision or paid-for top-up services , compared with 59% for the UK as a whole.

New research, carried out for this year's report, also highlights the popularity of Republic of Ireland (RoI) TV channels in Northern Ireland.

One in four people watch RTE channels (One and Two) every week, with smaller but still significant numbers watching TG4 and TV3.

RoI television services, with the exception of TV3, became more widely available in Northern Ireland after digital switchover in October 2012.

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 Annex A: Adults’ media literacy in the nations

Two-thirds (66%) of TV homes have pay-TV services, higher than the UK average of 59%.

The proportion of homes with Freeview as their main TV viewing platform has increased from 26% to 32% over the past year.

Northern Ireland total spend on current affairs is up 5% on the year the only increase across the four nations for current affairs.

Year-on-year figures show a 10% decline in spend on first-run originated content production for Northern Ireland, the largest relative decrease across the nations over this period. By comparison, the UK figure was down 4% year on year.

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Listeners value local content, with a far bigger share tuning into local commercial and BBC stations than in other nations (48% of people compared to 38% in the UK as a whole).

Across all the UK nations, take-up of DAB digital radio is lowest in Northern Ireland (24%), compared with an average of 41% in the UK.

The reach of radio in Northern Ireland is lower than the UK average. Among adults in Northern Ireland, radio services reached 87.1% of the adult population (UK average 89.5%).

Listening to radio via the analogue FM and AM wavebands was higher in Northern Ireland (72%) in 2012 than the UK average (62%).

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Eight in ten homes in Northern Ireland are internet connected

Sixty per cent of internet users in Northern Ireland say they shop online and 74% of online shoppers feel secure when paying online.

Tablet take-up in Northern Ireland (29%) is highest among the devolved nations and five percentage points greater than the UK average.

Internet users claim to spend almost 12 hours on the internet per week, significantly less than the UK average of 16.8 hours.

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Lady on the phone

The availability of superfast broadband in Northern Ireland is the highest across the UK with 95% of premises able to access fibre enabled cabinets in June 2013.

Half of all consumers in urban Northern Ireland use their phone to access the internet.

Northern Ireland has the highest mobile take-up (94%) among the UK nations.

Household landline take-up was higher in rural areas (89%) than urban areas (78%), and 18% per cent of households in Northern Ireland are mobile-only

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Nine out of ten people in Northern Ireland are satisfied with Royal Mail.

However, a quarter (26%) have experienced a problem with mis-delivered post in the past year, more than those in Wales and in Scotland.

Households in Northern Ireland claim to send an average of 6.6 items of post per month

The majority (93%) of people send at least some mail via First Class, with 61% using it most or all of the time.

Over half of organisations (53%) in Northern Ireland say post is ‘core’ or ‘critical’ to their business compared to 49% across the UK as a whole.

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