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S'pore No. 2 worldwide in tablet craze

Publication Date : 19-06-2012


Singaporeans just cannot say no to the latest tech gadgets. The nation not only tops the world with the greatest proportion of Internet users owning smartphones, but also ranks second when it comes to the tablet computer.

Three in four here have a smartphone and almost one in three has a tablet, says a global study by Swedish telco equipment maker Ericsson, which released such data for the first time yesterday.

It polled more than 47,500 Internet users aged 16 to 60 in 58 countries, including 500 from Singapore, in the first quarter of this year.

Singapore's 74 per cent smartphone ownership rate ranks it ahead of places like Hong Kong (73 per cent) and the United Arab Emirates (64 per cent).

Singapore's tablet ownership rate at 31 per cent slightly trails Hong Kong's 34 per cent. Norway is third at 20 per cent.

Vishnu Singh, regional head of Ericsson ConsumerLab, an internal research unit, said the findings are consistent with Singapore and Hong Kong's status among the leading cities reputed for mobile-networking technologies and tech-savviness.

Singapore's tablet-ownership rate is expected to grow to close to 60 per cent by year end, with buyers drawn to the gadget's more convenient size and better portability than the laptop, the study revealed.

As for smartphone penetration, the rate is expected to rise to 84 per cent by year end as users upgrade to new models.

Smartphones and tablets are Internet-enabled and the high adoption rates here offer one clue as to why users have complained Internet data access on mobile broadband networks is at times slow.

Mobile data usage will soar by 20 times come 2017, according to Ericsson's global estimates. It does not have figures for Singapore but going by some local telcos' projections, usage is expected to double every two years.

StarHub said the volume of mobile data on its network doubled from 2009 to last year. It expects such growth 'to continue' as smartphone and tablet ownership rises. SingTel had said that the volume of mobile data on its network has been growing 62 per cent yearly since 2010.

To prevent growth of data use from spiralling out of control, SingTel is slashing the cap on free mobile data use from July 1, with StarHub following suit.

Singapore is also considering the use of wi-fi networks to ease data access bottlenecks.


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