PARIS: An increasing number of people in France are now regularly surfing the mobile internet and downloading applications to their phones.

Médiamétrie and Nielsen, the research firms, reported that the mobile penetration rate reached 80.7% in the country in the first quarter of 2010.

Some 48.7% of this group employed their phone for reasons other than making calls or sending text messages in Q1, with 29.1% logging on the web or downloading an app, up from 25.9% a year ago.

Elsewhere, 20% of the user base had accessed radio, television or video content via their handset, an uptick from 17.1% in the same period.

More broadly, a fifth of mobile phone owners now had a smartphone, an improvement from 11% over this timeframe.

A 60% majority of people with these more advanced devices had gone online using their phone in the last month, with 90% of iPhone subscribers utilising the web or applications.

Overall, 65 million apps were downloaded in France in the opening three months of 2010, 87% of which were free, with the typical smartphone containing 8.6 of these tools.

Data sourced from Médiamétrie; additional content by Warc staff