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COVID-19 Lockdowns Had Greeks Glued to Their Smartphones Too

Ευρωκίνηση

A woman wearing masks to help her protect from the coronavirus uses a smartphone in central Athens Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiannis Pnagopoulos)

ATHENS -- Two lockdowns of 18 weeks - now spilling over into the new year - saw Greeks in 2020 turn even more to smartphones that grew in use as well, spending more than 4.6 billion hours scrolling and surfing and texting.

That was found in a survey by the cellphone data analysis company App Annie that will come as no surprise to anyone looking around on buses and subways and restaurants and coffee shops to see people looking at phones, not other people.

Many people are addicted to the phones, staring into the light even with friends seated right next to them, the figures showing how dominant a part of everyday life they have become, with even toddlers learning how to use them almost out the crib.

The data is actually far more conservative than it seems because it doesn’t include users of iPhones, which is a giant part of the sector and otherwise found that Android users worldwide were on their phones for 3.5 trillion hours in 2020.

Greeks were on their phones for 12.7 million total hours a day although it wasn’t said exactly how much being locked into their homes or being out for permissible reasons - which during a second lockdown is for almost anything - was a key factor.

These figures are thought to be considerably higher than 2019 due to the Coronavirus lockdowns, although there was no similar report for 2019 to prove it, said Kathimerini, although younger people especially love their Holy Grail.

A separate survey of 44 countries by Tefficient showed Greece ranked second only to Croatia in the increase in data usage over the first half of 2020, compared to a year earlier when there was no pandemic.

In the January-June period data usage rose 86 percent in Greece from the same time in 2019 to 1.5 gigabyte (GB) per SIM card. That lifted Greece from the bottom of the Tefficient chart in 2019 (44th) to 40th spot.

The increase in use has not been followed by a rise in the price per GB, instead falling 46 percent in the first half of 2020, leading to a reduction in the revenues of mobile service providers.

The drop in the rate is attributed to the increase in the data supply by companies through the provision of unlimited data to their subscribers although many people connect to their home wifi to get around company charges for services.

After Cosmote and Wind, which offered their users unlimited internet data over Christmas, Vodafone said Jan. 11 it is offering unlimited data for three months to all users with handsets compatible with the fifth-generation network. The gradual penetration of 5G will make unlimited data routine as the evolution keeps going on.