BERLIN: Smartphone and tablet sales are both set to rise in Germany during 2012, fuelling user uptake of the mobile internet, a study has predicted.

According to figures from BITKOM, the industry body, and EITO, the market research institute, some 28.9m mobile phones will be sold in Germany this year.

Consumers are expected to buy 15.9m smartphones, meaning devices like the iPhone and alternatives powered by Google's Android operating system will deliver over 50% of total category sales for the first time.

In a further indication of the rising importance of smartphones to the sector, they are also due to take 76% of revenues.

In a related trend, mobile data revenues are pegged to expand by 10% to €8.2bn this year, as consumers make increasing use of the mobile web.

BITKOM reported that 108m gigabytes of data were transferred via German mobile networks last year, a 65% increase on an annual basis. Growth of 57% is likely this year, to 170m gigabytes.

"Smartphones have reached a historic turning point in the mobile market," said Bruno Lamborghini, the chairman of BITKOM. "The mobile internet will soon replace voice calls as the most important mobile application."

The popularity of tablets is also increasing rapidly. BITKOM forecast that sales of these gadgets would rise by 29% in 2012 to 2.9m units, with the value of the tablet sector growing by 19% to €1.3bn.

"The proliferation of smartphones and tablet computers makes for a huge increase in the data volumes transmitted through mobile networks," said Lamborghini.

Elsewhere, the study suggested that expanding data usage volumes meant an investment of between €8bn and €10bn to provide the necessary infrastructure.

Data sourced from BITKOM; additional content by Warc staff