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September 11, 2014

Scottish ‘Yes’ threatens UK top 10 smartphone status

Currently number nine in market size, a long way behind China's 629m smartphone connections.

By Ben Sullivan

The UK has made it to number nine in the top 10 global smartphone markets in Q2 2014.

The United Kingdom was responsible for 45.4 million smartphone connections, just ahead of France which had 43.5 million. In first place was China with 629.2 million connections, with the United States in second place with 196.8 million.

However, if Scotland votes for indpendence in the upcoming referendum, the UK would be losing about 3.2m smartphone users. These figures come from Ofcom’s latest findings which show that smartphone adoption the country of 5.2m people hit 62% in 2014.

The top 10 list was part of a research study carried out by GMSA into smartphone trends that looked forward to 2020. It found that, today, one in three mobile connections are made via smartphones, representing more than two billion mobile connections.

The report also forecast that the number of smartphone connections will grow three-fold by 2020, and account for two-thirds of the nine billion connections made.

Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer at the GSMA, said: "The smartphone has sparked a wave of global innovation that has brought new services to millions and efficiencies to businesses of every type.

"As the study released today shows, smartphones will be the driving force of mobile industry growth over the next six years, with one billion new smartphone connections expected over the next 18 months alone.

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"In the hands of consumers, these devices are improving living standards and changing lives, especially in developing markets, while contributing to growing economies by stimulating entrepreneurship. As the industry evolves, smartphones are becoming lifestyle hubs that are creating opportunities for mobile industry players in vertical markets such as financial services, healthcare, home automation and transport."

GSMA said that it was 2011 when emerging economies overtook the developed world in terms of smartphone connections, economies which today account for two in every three smartphones on the planet. GSMA predicts that by 2020, four out of every five smartphone connections worldwide will come from emerging economies.

The top five countries worldwide with the highest smartphone adoption rates today are Qatar, the UAE, Finland, South Korea and Norway. In stark contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa currently has the lowest smartphone adoption rate worldwide, at 15%, but is expected to be the fastest-growing smartphone region over the next six years as affordable devices become more widely available and mobile broadband networks are deployed across Africa.

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