Smartphone ownership in Northern Ireland higher than rest of UK

FSB policy chair Wilfred Mitchell
FSB policy chair Wilfred Mitchell

Figures revealing that more people in Northern Ireland own a smartphone compared to the rest of the UK, emphasises the lack of broadband and mobile coverage to small businesses the FSB has claimed.

Ofcom statistics show the percentage of smartphone users jumped to 72% in Northern Ireland during the first part of 2016, with a 16% increase in particular in rural areas.

Additionally, more people than any other region use their phones to access the internet.

Stating that 94% of SMEs described internet access as vital to business success FSB NI policy chairman Wilfred Mitchell said: “There are still large areas of Northern Ireland, particularly rural and located west of the River Bann, where superfast broadband and 4G mobile coverage is non-existent.

“Online connectivity is essential to all businesses, but in particular to those that are located in rural areas.

“FSB research has revealed that there are high numbers of small firms who say they use their mobile phone for internet banking and to interact with customers and suppliers.

“FSB urges the Northern Ireland Executive to intervene under the powers of the Communications Act 2003 and bring to the fore the market distortion in terms of poor mobile and broadband coverage and continue to support increased investment in developing broadband and 4G coverage.”