BERLIN: Mobile internet usage is "booming" in Germany, a process driven by smartphones, tablets and the popularity of apps.

High-tech trade association BITKOM and the European Information Technology Observatory estimated mobile data revenues in the country would grow by 11.9%, to €7bn ($9.5bn; £5.9bn), in 2011.

This marks a slight slowdown on the annual 14.3% expansion across both 2009 and 2010, when returns came in at €5.5bn and €6.3 respectively.

Last year, the volume of traffic reached 70m gigabytes, equivalent to 15m DVDs, and which can be measured against 34m gigabytes logged over the preceding 12 months, and 11.5m gigabytes in 2008.

"The mobile internet has taken hold in many parts of the population," said Friedrich Joussen, a board member at BITKOM.

Among the main contributors to this trend are the rising uptake of portable computers, initially in the form of netbooks, a position latterly assumed by tablets like Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tab.

In all, 9.5m appliances from these categories and boasting web connections were acquired last year, with tablets said to offer particular advantages when surfing the net, reading email and video streaming.

Elsewhere, the study suggested a third of phones currently being sold in Germany are smartphones.

More specifically, it reported unit purchases of gadgets including the iPhone and BlackBerry should climb 36%, to 10.1m handsets, in 2011, as the value of transactions jumps 24%, hitting €2.1bn.

This will outpace the whole mobile phone sector, pegged to witness a 4.3% lift in volume terms, on 29m units.

Apps are also enjoying a surge in interest, with around 520,000 such tools now available worldwide, covering everything from games to news and e-book readers, the BITKOM/EITO analysis said.

Looking ahead, the organisations stated mobile operators must invest between €8bn and €10bn to develop the appropriate technological infrastructure.

Another source of impetus behind this move is declining voice revenues, where sales fell 2.2% in 2010, and may slide by a further 3.5% in 2011, yielding €15.8bn overall.

Data sourced from BITKOM; additional content by Warc staff