Regulator’s comments follow its research that showed data-only mobile broadband subscribers had decreased for the first time on an annual basis
The mass market roll-out of 4G will see smartphones start to replace fixed lines, according to Ofcom director of research James Thickett.
The comments follow the regulator’s recent ‘Commun-ications Market Report 2013’, which showed for the first time on an annual basis that the number of data-only mobile broadband subscribers decreased in 2012, down by 0.1 million to 4.9 million.
This, it claims, is due to more consumers (49 per cent in 2012) using their mobiles to access the internet, though an increase in public and private Wi-Fi has also contributed to the decline.
Ofcom said that data usage had already contributed to a decrease in mobile broadband subscribers and expects usage of fixed broadband lines to decrease further as a result of 4G data.
Thickett (pictured) said: “Smartphones have not been a substitute for fixed broadband yet, but with 4G coming in, we will start to see this happen.”