Mobile Internet Statistics

The latest statistics on how we use the Internet on our phones.

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When shopping for a new deal or mobile phone it is important to get the deal that is right for you and now more than ever that also means finding the mobile plan with the right amount of mobile internet for you. We looked at the statistics to see just how much data we are consuming on our phones in 2019.

Quick overview

  • In 2019, 79% of UK adults own a smartphone.
  • On average, Brits spend 2 hours and 34 minutes online on their smartphones every day.
  • In 2019, 72% of mobile connections are 4G, up from 66% in 2018.
  • 1 in 5 minutes spent online is spent on social media.

Who owns a smartphone?

For some of us, it can be hard to remember what life was like before we had smartphones, but they are still a relatively new technology. So how many Brits own a smartphone in 2019?

On average, 79% of UK adults (18+) own a smartphone in 2019. However, the breakdown across age categories reveals a more detailed insight.

The Office for National Statistics reported that 100% of 16-24-year-olds have Internet access via a smartphone, while just 40% of those aged 65+ have the same access. See the graph and table below to find out more.

Age group Has access to the Internet via mobile phone Does not have access to the Internet via mobile phone
16-24 100% 0%
25-34 97% 3%
35-44 91% 9%
45-54 88% 12%
55-64 73% 27%
65+ 40% 60%

How much data are we using?

On our phones, Ofcom reported that we are using 25% more data per month in 2019 than we were in 2018. On average, Brits are using 2.9GB of data each month.

The amount of data you consume each month will depend on the activities you perform on your phone. For example, streaming videos can quickly eat up your allowance, with HD (1080p) streaming using approximately 1.5GB per hour. To find out how much data you might need every month, you can use our handy data usage calculator.

According to our research, two-thirds (67%) of UK residents don’t normally use all of the mobile data they pay for, while nearly 7% of Brits end up spending more money on extra data.

Usage Percentage
Use less than they're allowed 67.3%
Normally use the right amount 12.2%
Reach their data limit most months 11.6%
Spend more on extra data 6.3%
Have unlimited data plan 7.4%

Where are we spending our time online?

On average, Brits spend 3 hours and 15 minutes online per day, with almost two thirds (68%) of this time being spent online on their smartphone. This amounts to over 2 and a half hours online on a smartphone each day. So what are we doing online?

  • On average, Brits spend 39 minutes per day on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • This means 1 in every 5 minutes spent online is on social media.
  • Over 70% of adults in the UK have a social media account.
  • More than a third (35%) of our time spent online is on sites owned by Facebook and Google such as Instagram and YouTube.

How has social media usage changed?

While Facebook remains the most popular social media network, usage in UK adults has fallen by 8% from 2013 to 2018. Google+ and Twitter were the only other social networks to fall in usage over the same time period. See the graph below for more information.

Social media site 2013 2018 Change
Facebook 96% 88% -8%
WhatsApp 20% 61% +41%
YouTube 22% 35% +13%
Snapchat 7% 25% 18%
Twitter 28% 25% -3%
LinkedIn 12% 16% +4%
Pinterest 2% 12% +10%
Google+ 16% 11% -5%
Tumblr 3% 3% 0%

3G, 4G and 5G: What’s the difference?

3G, 4G, 5G: what does it all mean? The number simply relates to which generation of cellular network technology it is. So, for example, 5G is simply the fifth “generation” of mobile Internet, the next one on from 4G. Each generation promises faster speeds than the one before, with 5G speeds potentially 20 times faster than 4G speeds.

Mobile network speeds

The speed of your Internet connection determines how fast you can download and stream content such as images and videos. So just how much faster is 5G than its predecessors?

Network Type Download Speeds
3G Network 384Kbps
4G Network 100Mbps
5G Network 1-10Gbps or higher

Latency time

This is the measure of how long it takes for the network to respond to a request, such as tapping play on a video. So how much quicker might 5G be than 4G?

Network Type Milliseconds (ms)
3G Network 60ms (actual)
4G Network 50ms (actual)
5G Network 1ms (theoretical)

Latency time is often measured in milliseconds, and 5G promises to have speeds up to 60 times faster than 3G with just a 1ms latency time.


Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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