Brits Finally Taking to the Wireless Web

The latest research has revealed that 27% of the population accesses the Internet via mobile phone

Like a fondness for goats cheese, it seems Brits are gradually getting switched on to something they once foreswore - the not-so-newfangled mobile internet.

Research from web hosting company Hostway, carried out by researchers TNS, has found 27 per cent of us are happy to access the web via our mobiles. It's a small but significant increase on earlier research that found Europeans were only interested in using their mobiles for talking and messaging.

It's also an impressive number given that out of that 27 per cent, many will have up until now been using mobile online content from limited walled-garden services or i-mode, a proprietary service that O2 offers in the UK.

Still, the researchers found 90 per cent of mobile users would surf more if they could guarantee no sky-high bills and faster loading times.

Browser maker Opera has also been trumpeting the renaissance of the mobile web. Opera has now served more than a billion internet pages in the last seven months via its Opera mini software, with five million active users.

According to Tony Cripps, senior analyst at Ovum, the indications are good. "It's an encouraging sign because there's not been a lot of advertising around [Opera] and it doesn't mean much to the bloke in the street," he said.

Those accessing the web through a two-inch screen in their hand don't appear to be vastly different to those going via their 17-inch flat panel monitor. According to Opera, top of the mobile browsing pops is Google, with other news sites such as the Beeb and social networking staples including Friendster and MySpace following.