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An increasing number of people are using tablets to access wireless broadband in the UK, it has been claimed.

Public Wi-Fi provider The Cloud has reported a 436 per cent year-on-year increase in network usage during the first two weeks of 2013.

The number of Wi-Fi sessions attributed to tablet users has also risen by 642 per cent, while the number of minutes is up by 731 per cent in January 2013.

According to Ofcom figures, 19 per cent of UK households owned a tablet, however millions of extra devices are believed to have been sold over the Christmas period.

The Cloud believes the rise in tablet broadband usage in the first few weeks of 2013 is evidence of this trend.

Vince Russell, Managing Director of The Cloud, said his firm is seeing "another major shift" in the types of devices using its Wi-Fi network.

"Five years ago it was dominated by businesspeople using their laptops, then smartphones took over as they became mainstream devices," he stated.

"While tablets are still only responsible for a small percentage of the overall traffic on our network, they are growing at a huge rate and it’s highly likely that, in another couple of years, tablets will be as common a sight in Wi-Fi hotspots as smartphones."

Mr Russell said the emergence of so-called mini tablets - such as the Apple iPad Mini - is only likely to accelerate this trend.

Last year saw The Cloud significantly extend its Wi-Fi reach, with more than 16,000 new venues across the UK creating wireless broadband hotspots.

Companies including M&S, Greggs and Greene King now offer wireless broadband services to their customers.

The Cloud sees an estimated six million people use its Wi-Fi network every day.

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