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Big rise in numbers of Kiwis accessing internet on the move

May 7th, 2013 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, Most Popular, News

MORE than half of New Zealanders are now accessing the Internet via a mobile phone, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The total number of mobile broadband users increased by 34 per cent at the end of 2012 to more than 2.5 million.

“Smartphone use is rising quickly, and people are increasingly connecting to the Internet using these devices wherever they go,” says information and communication technology statistics manager Hamish Hill.

The increase in sales of these mobile devices reflect this trend.

Michelle Baguley, external communications manager for Vodaphone New Zealand, says smartphones make up the great majority of their sales, and she doesn’t think that trend that is likely to change any time soon.

“People want to be able to access internet, e-mail and other smartphone services wherever and whenever they are,” she says.

However Ms Baguley also says that consumers are not pressured to upgrade their phones in order to stay live on the Vodafone network. Vodaphone have said their 2G network will keep running until at least 2025.

The ease of keeping in touch with family, integration with work, listening to music, and having almost everything at your fingertips are just a few of the reasons that some people have switched to a smartphone.

Diane Hardgraves, a smartphone convert, recently got an iphone for her birthday.

“I love my new phone. I do use internet on it, to look up daily weather in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Colyton and Melbourne – all the places our family live,” she says, “ I also check my e-mails and facebook.”

Mrs Hardgraves also uses her phone as a portable photo album for snaps of her grandaughter and children.

Bruce Knipe, another smartphone user, works with and supports these handy devices in his IT job.

He says that Android phones are the most powerful smartphones for customising features and services.

“From a dumb phone to a mini computer, with a little practice and testing, I have an almost fully functioned computer at my fingertips!”

Not everyone is sold on this technology though, and often the cost is the biggest thing that puts people off.

Erin Kavanagh-Hall still uses her trusty pink phone that cost her $99 to buy in 2010.

She says that a lot of the smartphones she has seen are upwards of $300-400.

“I would love a smartphone – particularly one that doubles as an MP3 player,” says Mrs Kavanagh-Hall.

“Plus, it would be great to be able to check the internet – e-mails, bus timetables, google maps, etc – when you’re out and about. However, I simply can’t afford one at the moment.”

Aaron Galyer also says that the cost of a smartphone is part of the reason he hasn’t got one, however he also has other reasons.

“I am not convinced of the security of the internet, so I don’t use the internet for banking or shopping. This limits what I do on the internet to mainly entertainment, education and work,” he says.

“Being able to access the internet while not at home or work is not something I feel the need for and not something I am willing to pay for.”

Mr Galyer says he would more likely buy a tablet to use for mobile entertainment and keep his phone as a separate device.

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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