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Cellphone Calls Drop In UK For First Time As Consumers Switch to WhatsApp

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Whatsapp - Sputnik International
The number of calls made on mobile phones in the UK fell for the first time last year, according to a new report by Ofcom. But the report found people are more addicted to the digital communications and the internet than ever.

But due to the popularity of free apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, the number of people using their smartphones to make conventional voice calls fell by 1.7 percent in 2017.

Britons check their smartphones once every 12 minutes on average, according to the report, and for many people checking their phone is the first thing they do when they wake up and the last thing they do before they go to sleep.

For the first time women spent more time online than men, particularly in the age group 18 to 34.

Smartphones Getting In Way Of Human Interaction

But the hegemony of the smartphone is also annoying us, with more than half of consumers saying devices interrupt face-to-face conversations with their relatives and friends and 43 percent admitting they themselves spend too much time online.

A majority of Britons found it bad form to use their form during meal times but there was a distinct generation gap when it came to using a phone while watching television, with 62 percent of the over-55s objecting, compared with only 21 percent of those aged 18-34.

"Over the last decade, people's lives have been transformed by the rise of the smartphone, together with better access to the internet and new services," said Ofcom's director of market intelligence Ian Macrae.

"Whether it is working flexibly, keeping up with current affairs or shopping online, we can do more on the move than ever before. But while people appreciate their smartphone as their constant companion, some are finding themselves feeling overloaded when online, or frustrated when they're not," said Mr. Macrae.

There was a big generational divide regarding smartphone functions.

Young People Want Video Streaming

People over 35 tended to believe web browsing was more important, while those under 35 were more interested in video streaming.

The Ofcom report also found 78 percent of adults have a smartphone, 42 percent of UK households owned a smart TV and one in eight homes had a smart speaker, like Amazon Echo.

The average spend on communications per household was £124 per month and four out of ten households  subscribe to Netflix while the average user get through 1.9 gigabytes of data each month.

Almost 70 percent of users say they choose to watch TV programmes and films on-demand to avoid adverts and 35 percent admitted to "binge watching" their favorite programmes on their devices.

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