Apple’s upgraded iPhone 13 isn’t quite its most desirable model, but it strikes a fine balance between price and features if you’re firmly in the iPhone camp and looking for an upgrade from a much older handset.Read more…
Mobile internet statistics
The latest mobile internet statistics on how we use the Internet on our phones.
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 mobile internet statistics to see just how much data we are consuming on our phones in 2022.
- There are 64 million UK internet users in 2022.
- The UK internet penetration rate is 93% in 2022.
- 94% of UK households have access to the internet
- 84% of UK adults own a smartphone.
- On average Brits use 5.6 GB of mobile data each month.
- Almost two thirds (61%) of the UK use Facebook on their mobile every day
- On average, internet users spend 14 hours every week playing online videos games.
- Two-thirds (67%) of broadband connections are provided using fibre technology.
- According to our 2019 research, two thirds of UK residents (67%) don’t normally use all the mobile data they pay for.
How much time is spent online every day?
The latest available data (2020) states that 84% of UK adults (16+) own a smartphone.
On average in 2021, Brits spent 3 hours and 59 minutes a day online. With 18-24 year olds spending the most time online at an average of 5 hours and 6 minutes a day. They are followed by 25-34 years olds spending 4 hours 36 minutes online a day, 35 to 44 year olds (4 hours 32 minutes), and 45 to 54 year olds spending 3 hours and 51 minutes online. The over 55s spend significantly less time online, with on average they spend 2 hours 58 minutes online each day.
|Age||Time spent online|
|18-24 year olds||5 hours 6 minutes|
|25-34 year olds||4 hours 36 minutes|
|35-44 year olds||4 hours 32 minutes|
|45-54 year olds||3 hours 51 minutes|
|55 and over||2 hours 58 minutes|
Where are we spending our time online?
Almost 14 hours per week are spent on video games by online users in the UK. This is followed by video streaming where users spend approximately 13 hours 36 minutes each week and streaming music with 11 hours and 48 minutes each week.
With working and studying from home remaining very popular, video calls for work (9 hours 24 minutes), video calls for school (8 hours 18 minutes) follow ahead of video calls for socialising (6 hours and 54 minutes).
Online shopping (6 hours and 48 minutes), online dating (5 hours and 24 minutes) and virtual appointments (4 hours and 42 minutes) make up the top activities that are spent online.
Which generation has the most access to the internet
There are 64 million internet users in the UK which is an internet penetration rate of 93%.
Those aged between 18-24 and 25-34 have the highest level of accessibility to the internet, with 99% of these age groups having online access. This is followed by 45-54 year olds with 98% access and 35-44 and 55-64 year olds having 97% access. Those aged 65 and over have a lot less access to the internet, with 80% having internet access. This means that 2.3 million over 65’s in the UK do not have internet access.
|Age group||Do have access to the internet||Do not have access to the internet|
Households with access to the internet
The latest figures state that 94% of all UK households have internet access, which means there has been an increase of 14% of UK households who now have access to the internet compared to ten years ago in 2012 (80%).
How much data are we using
On our phones, Ofcom reported that we are using 24% more data per month in 2021 than we were in 2020. On average, Brits are using 5.6GB of mobile data each month, which is an increase of 93% from before the pandemic in 2019 (2.9 GB a 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.
|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%|
Most popular daily mobile apps in the UK
Facebook remains the most popular mobile app in the UK, with 61% (28.3 million) of adult Brits using the app each day. Followed by Whatsapp, where 50% (23 million) of the UK adult population use the messaging service daily. Instagram (35%), Facebook Messenger (32%) and Gmail (27%) make up the top 5 most popular mobile applications for adults in the UK.
|Mobile App||Average daily UK online reach|
Internet and working from home
With millions of people heading in self-isolation and working from home amid the current Coronavirus pandemic, daytime internet usage has more than doubled. Video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype and Houseparty have gained popularity as workers, students, friends and families use them to stay in touch while apart.
However, these video conferencing apps have different data requirements. Google Hangouts is one of the video call apps that takes the most bandwidth, requiring 14.1MB per minute. This is shy of twice as much as the second-worst offender, Zoom, who only requires 7.5MB per minute. If you’re sharing your internet with someone or have a small plan, it might be a good idea to aim for a video conference app that needs less internet, like Webex or Skype.
|App||MB per minute|
Which areas in the UK spend the most time on the internet?
While most areas don’t stray too far from the average, a couple of spots go online so much that the rest of the map looks washed out by comparison: West Lothian in Scotland, and Thanet in Kent, each spending 4.2 and 4.7 hours online per person per day respectively.
Wifi versus Mobile Data during lockdown
At times it is actually be better to use a mobile network instead of Wi-Fi. Since Italy went into lockdown on March 12, their mobile network has generally provided a better quality of service until about 2 p.m, after which Wi-Fi connections have given a more reliable connection.
|Hour of Day||Mobile Data||Wifi|
Of course this differs by country, but the trend elsewhere is similar. On the first day of stricter self-isolation measures in the U.K., 24 March, mobile networks provided better service until about 9 a.m., after which the Wi-Fi was again more reliable.
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 mobile 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||Average||Peak||Theoretical max|
Download speed by provider
When looking at median download speed, the gap between operators is quite pronounced. Out of the four providers compared, EE is the company who has the best download speed of 21.2 Mbps, almost 8Mbps faster than second-placed Vodafone and more than double that of O2 and 3. The least fast was it for those downloading via 3’s network, whose average speed was 9.7Mbps.
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.
More guides on Finder
Apple iPhone 13 review: A well-balanced iPhone for long-term upgraders
Apple’s upgraded iPhone 13 isn’t quite its most desirable model, but it strikes a fine balance between price and features if you’re firmly in the iPhone camp and looking for an upgrade from a much older handset.
Raylo phone leasing review
Raylo is looking to revolutionise the mobile phone market with its eco-friendly mobile leasing service.
iPhone sales statistics
Want to find out how the iPhone has fared in the UK over the past year? Read on for the iPhone’s sales figures, market share, affordability and more.
Mobile phone plans explained
Need some help clarifying the differences between different types of mobile phone plans? Read our quick guide to see the key features of each plan.
Best mobile plans for seniors
If you’re not sure which mobile plan best suits you as a senior, take a look at the options on offer in this guide.
Streaming over Wi-Fi vs. your mobile data
How many Brits understand the difference between streaming over Wi-Fi vs. mobile data? The research findings might surprise you.
EE Free Boost: Power up your Pay As You Go with free add-ons
Find out more about EE’s free boosts for Pay As You Go customers. Get more from your phone with add-ons for data, minutes and texts.
Ask an Expert