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TIS THE SEASON… Festive spike in new smartphone users could bring bumper bills…

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iPhoneThe UK’s largest mobile phone retailer, Carphone Warehouse, has warned that smartphones given as gifts this Christmas could lead to unexpectedly large bills come January.

Smartphone adoption has jumped by 5.7 million in the past 3 months alone, the fastest growth in over 3 years, and December looks set to continue the charge as millions of handsets are purchased for loved ones during the Christmas period.

Graham Stapleton, Chief Commercial Officer at Carphone Warehouse, says, “This Christmas will be the biggest ever for smartphones; it’s the first year that customers are able to get their hands on devices for under £100. For many, this will be their first experience of using data, which could lead to confusion and expensive bills come January. We recently launched a free guide – Understanding Mobile Data for Dummies – to inform and educate, helping people to avoid any unexpected charges. January is always a tight month; we’re urging new smartphone users to double check their tariff limits and understanding of data usage to help save money on their bills.

“Phone bills associated with the festive season are typically larger than usual as people tend to make more long distance calls reaching out to friends and family all over the world. This year, more Brits than ever will use their smartphones to video chat, particularly via Skype or Facetime, with relatives they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. If not hooked up to a Wi-Fi network these data heavy ‘calls’ could potentially lead to substantial charges for unwitting users.”

Consumer appetite for data has been steadily growing and is expected to hit an average of 1GB per user by 2014. Rises can be traced back to increasing smartphone functionality, particularly the growth in streaming, gaming and browsing on the move. iPhone owners are particular heavy data users, typically consuming more than users of any other handset brand or operating system.

The free Understanding Mobile Data For Dummies guide from Carphone Warehouse is intended to combat the consumer confusion surrounding mobile data and data charges. For more information visit www.carphonewarehouse.com/dummies

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