Brits think the Apple iPhone is a more important invention than the flushing toilet and the car, says Tesco Mobile.

According to a survey by the mobile network, Apple's smartphone was voted the eighth most important invention of all time, with the wheel, the aeroplane and the light bulb named as the top three inventions.

Apple has sold 42 million iPhones since its launch in 2007.

"All of the inventions included in this list have changed the world forever," said Lance Batchelor, CEO of Tesco Mobile.

"Some - like the washing machine and wheel - have made our lives easier, while wireless technology and the internet have changed the face of communication."

Web search engine Google, satnavs and Wi-Fi also featured in the top 100.

"It's amazing to see how much the iPhone is valued, sitting alongside inventions such as Penicillin in people's perceptions and being declared a more important invention than miracle gadgets of their own time, such as the compass," he said.

"No wonder the iPhone has been flying off the shelves at Tesco, as it allows us to have everything we need at our finger tips."

See also: Apple iPhone to get contactless payment