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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 31, 2013 9:39 PM PST

A new research of Australia's data usage habits has found that Aussies have been venturing more towards wi-fi hotspots in increasing numbers, which is not surprising since the same study likewise revealed that half of all Australian adults now already own a smartphone. That Aussies will clamor for more free wi-fi hotspots to support their rapid mobile requirements is just a matter of time, so to speak.

Conducted by Roy Morgan for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the research found that the number of Australian adult smartphone users now number to more than 8.5 million, based on the 104 per cent jump in smartphone use in the 12 months to May last year. Additionally, 4.37 million adults have been found to be using tablet devices.

ACMA said the surge in consumer take-up was encouraged by competitive plans as well as the expansion of the smartphone and tablet market. "The rate of the take-up of the new technology has been extraordinary."

To support their rapid quest for internet accessibility, Australians have likewise pushed internet access via wi-fi hotspots to zoom at a much faster rate than traditional places, such as at work or home.

"While home and work sites continue to account for the majority of internet users in Australia - 15.4 million and 7.5 million respectively during the second quarter of 2012 - internet use through wifi hotspots has seen the highest proportional increases in Australia," the ACMA noted.

"During the second quarter of 2012, an estimated 2.06 million Australians used wi-fi internet hotspots, a 32 per cent increase in activity compared to the second quarter of 2011."

The extraordinary rate of adoption and greater usage of smart phones underlines the critical and increasing importance of mobile and 4G services, Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman, said.

"To support these wireless services, high speed mobile broadband, 'fit for purpose' spectrum frameworks and availability, and efficient infrastructure are the new essential," he said. 

And even with a wi-fi connection and mobile network access on a single device, most consumers still opt to use the device only on wi-fi.

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