Live in the country? You're better off with an old mobile

Older mobile phones are often better for making calls than their more sophisticated smartphone cousins, according to research.

While second-generation handsets may not be able to do some of the fancy things models such as Apple's iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy ranges can, communications regulator Ofcom found they were more reliable for making calls in rural areas because they use less complicated technology.

Ofcom said that in the more rural areas that the phones were tested, less complex and expensive phones "generally returned somewhat better performance than smartphones for call completion and call set-up. This may be due to the reduced complexity of antenna on these devices and 2G phones not having issues in switching between 2G and 3G networks".

The regulator also found there was no real difference in sound quality between 2G and 3G mobile phone handsets. Its research found that "performance differences are likely in practice to be modest, and not necessarily a factor that consumers should base their choice of phone on".

With their capacity for email and internet browsing, smartphones have become immensely popular. Ofcom recently claimed that more than a third of adults and about 60 per cent of teenagers who own smartphones class themselves as "highly addicted" to their devices.