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Prediction is Always Difficult, Particularly About The Future

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“Prediction”, said the Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, “is always difficult, particularly about the future”. I’ve often remembered those words when reading the latest report about the next ‘big thing’ in technology; not just because they are amusing, but also because Bohr was a pretty brainy guy.

So, despite the fact that we talk on our website about how many people use a laptop and dongle or a smartphone to access the Internet, I’ve tended to be just a wee bit cautious when seeing predictions about how quickly mobile would replace fixed as the Internet connection of choice. However, despite that caution, it turns out that the future has already arrived!

According to the market intelligence firm, IDC, in the last quarter of 2010, shipments of smartphones exceeded shipments of PCs for the first time – the numbers were 100.9 million and 92.1 million respectively. Added to that, tablet devices – which have mobile Internet connections - are taking an ever-larger larger share of the PC market. These are worldwide numbers, obviously, but trends in UK technology usage are not hugely out of line with the global picture.

It shouldn’t actually be so surprising that mobile rather than fixed connections are becoming the main way to access the Internet. For one thing, mobile devices allow us to access web-based services quickly and conveniently. There’s also a parallel in how many of us nowadays use our mobile phone as our primary means of making calls, even when we are at home or in the office and could use a landline if we wanted to.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that mobile is the only way to connect to the Internet. Far from it: fixed and mobile connections are complementary, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. However, particularly when we are simply looking for some information, we’ll increasingly be reaching for a small hand-held device, rather than logging onto a desktop PC.


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Mobile Operators Association

The Mobile Operators Association (MOA) represents the four UK mobile network operators – EE (the company that runs EE, Orange & T-Mobile in the UK), O2, Three, and Vodafone – on radio frequency (RF) health and safety, and related town planning issues associated with the use of mobile phone technology.

The Economy and Society

Mobile telecommunications are vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. There are now 89.9 million mobile subscriptions in the UK. In early 2015 61% of UK adults used their mobile phones for internet access. Tablet ownership is 54% of UK households, increasing from 44% in Q1 2014.