The Communications Market Report: Scotland

Scotland becomes “a smartphone society”

Smartphones are now the most popular device for getting online in Scotland.

Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2015 reveals record ownership and usage are turning Scotland into a ‘smartphone society’.

About four in ten (37%) internet users cite smartphones as the most important device for accessing the internet compared to 26% for their laptop.

Since 2014 smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most important device for internet access. In that year 45% rated the laptop as most important compared to 21% for the smartphone.

Half of internet users aged 16-34 (50%) and more than four in ten (45%) aged 35-54 say a smartphone is the most important device for going online.

Smartphone ownership in Scotland increased slightly by one percentage point since 2014, with about six in ten adults owning one (63%) compared to the UK average of 66%.

However take-up of a 4G service among smartphone owners has gone up by 25 percentage points between 2014 and 2015 to reach 55%, significantly higher than the UK average of 45%.

Scotland had a substantial increase in 4G availability between June 2014 and May 2015. The proportion of premises in Scotland in areas with outdoor 4G mobile coverage stood at 79.7% in May 2015.

The report also shows that in the first quarter of 2015 almost nine in ten (89%) smartphone users in Scotland were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with their mobile network service in terms of being able to connect to the internet via 3G or 4G.

Satisfaction with ability to connect to the internet via 3G or 4G was highest among smartphone users in urban Scotland (92%) compared to rural Scotland (73%).

The other device seeing a marked increase in take-up is the tablet computer. Half of adults in Scotland (52%) said they had one in the household, a 10 percentage-point increase since 2014 (42%). 

Vicki Nash, Director, Ofcom (Scotland), said: “In last year’s Communications Market Report we noted Scotland was becoming a more connected nation.

“There are definitely signs of this continuing with the increase in 4G service take-up being a particular highlight.”

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Annex A: Adults’ media literacy in the nations

watching tv

People in Scotland spend an average 3 hours 59 minutes per day watching TV.

Over half (52.1%) of all viewing is to the main five PSB channels.

BBC and STV spend on first-run originated content for viewers in Scotland grew in 2014 by 31%.

One in five Scots used standalone video subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant in 2015.

Some 19% of TV households have a Smart TV - on a par with the UK average.

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Radio is listened to by fewer people and for less time in Scotland, compared to the rest of the UK.

Commercial stations accounted for almost half (48%) of all listening hours in 2014 - the highest share across the UK nations.

Over a third (35%) of all listening in Scotland is through a digital platform.

There are 26 community stations on air in Scotland.

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woman on phone

Scotland had the largest increase in 4G availability among the UK nations between June 2014 and May 2015.

Some 73% of premises in Scotland were able to receive superfast broadband services in May 2015.

Just under one in five (17%) households in Scotland is mobile-only.

Take-up of household fixed broadband is lower in Scotland than in the UK as a whole (71% compared to 78%).

Some 63% of adults have a smartphone compared to 66% for the UK as a whole.

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using laptop

Smartphones are the most important device for accessing the internet in Scotland.

Half of households in Scotland now have a tablet computer.

One in five adults say they are ‘hooked’ on social media.

In terms of reach, Facebook is the most popular social media site, followed by YouTube.

Nearly half of Scots who take digital photos say they share them on social media.

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postbox closeup

Scots send more personal mail than other nations.

They’re also more satisfied than the rest of the UK with the cost of postage (69% compared to 58% across UK).

Over four-fifths of businesses in Scotland are satisfied with the postal service they receive from Royal Mail.

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