For many they are now an essential part of everyday life, but a new report has warned that thousands of Brits are falling into debt as a result of the smartphone.
According to the Money Advice Trust (MAT), calls to the National Debtline from those in debt because of mobile phone bills have seen a three-fold increase in recent years. And the Trust suggests the smartphone may be to blame.
Since the launch of the iPhone back in 2007, the number of calls regarding mobile phone bill debt has risen to more than 17,000, three times the number received before these mini-computers hit the UK.
Overall, the National Debtline is set to deal with a record number of calls, with some 13,389 already taken between January and August - a 15 per cent increase on the same period last year.
It is estimated that phone debt accounts for 11 per cent of all helpline calls, as compared to just four per cent six years ago. MAT revealed that 15 per cent of those with phone debt owed more than £1,000 on their mobile bills.
And with high-end smartphones such as the latest iPhone costing up to £57 a month on a contract deal, the bill for a family of four can quickly mount up to more than £140 a month - more than the average energy bill.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of MAT, told the Daily Mail: "Smartphones are sold without contracts for upwards of £500, which would prohibit many from getting one. But with a contract the upfront cost all but disappears, to be replaced by a monthly fee incorporating much of the phone's usage costs as well.
"When people fall foul of that fee, they can find themselves with a growing debt problem. The figures suggest this is happening with more people taking out expensive smartphone contracts."
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