French start-up Oledcomm demonstrated the technology at the Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile fair, in Barcelona. As soon as a smartphone was placed under an office lamp, it started playing a video.

The big advantage of Li-Fi, short for 'light fidelity', is its lightning speed.

Laboratory tests have shown theoretical speeds of over 200 Gbps – fast enough to 'download the equivalent of 23 DVDs in one second', the founder and head of Oledcomm, Suat Topsu, told media.

"Li-Fi allows speeds that are 100 times faster than Wi-Fi" which uses radio waves to transmit data, he added.

The technology uses the frequencies generated by LED bulbs – which flicker on and off imperceptibly thousands of times a second – to beam information through the air, leading it to be dubbed the 'digital equivalent of Morse Code'.

With analysts predicting the number of objects that are connected to the Internet soaring to 50 million by 2020 and the spectrum for radio waves used by Wi-Fi in short supply, Li-Fi offers a viable alternative, according to its promoters.

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