Brits choose Wi-Fi for mobile despite 4G


Majority of UK users choose Wi-Fi over 3G or 4G with speed and reliability top two frustrations

The majority of mobile users in the UK are not completely satisfied with current mobile data services, with more than half stating they have considered changing their mobile phone contract.

According to new research, 57% of mobile users in Britain are on the verge of changing their mobile network provider due to poor data services, with over a third (35%) blaming this on poor mobile coverage.

With the demand for data continuing to grow, only 9% of mobile users stated that they would choose a 3G or 4G cellular data service over a Wi-Fi connection if it was available, showed the survey from TE Connectivity, a wireless network specialist. Nearly two thirds (64%) claimed this was due to lack of speed, while half (50%) blamed their service experience on unreliable network connections.

'It appears that despite operators being aware of the looming capacity crunch, still not enough is being done to provide the data needed for even today's simplest mobile services,' said Peter Wraight, VP and general manager of the wireless business unit at TE Connectivity.

'There's no denying that 3G has been a bit of a disappointment, with networks struggling to keep up with escalating demands. As a result, mobile users have had to put up with disrupted services and slow connections on a daily basis. It's therefore no surprise that although people are increasingly using their mobile devices on the go, they actually have very little faith in networks' abilities to deliver the data required for the applications and services they want to use,' Wraight stated.

He continued: 'Wi-Fi connections may be thought of as more dependable; however, in reality, they are not always available or convenient, and can also struggle to deliver if a lot of users are connected. The fact that so many users are choosing this over 3G or 4G connections because of speed and reliability, as opposed to cost, is a clear indication that the current network infrastructure is simply not up to scratch.'

The study also revealed the extent of the problems associated with using mobile devices in highly populated public spaces. According to the survey, 60%have experienced problems when using their mobile devices at concerts, sporting events, schools, hotels and shopping centres.

In addition, less than half (48%) stated that they have a good or better mobile performance in the workplace than they do at home. TE Connectivity stated that this is set to become more and more problematic as organisations increasingly rely on BYOD, home offices or virtual workplaces.

'Although 4G is in the process of being rolled out, one of the main challenges operators face is avoiding the disappointment we saw with 3G and actually delivering the performance that customers are expecting,' continued Wraight. 'Data draining applications and services, such as social media, video streaming and augmented reality, have put tremendous pressure on network operators. Use of these tools and technologies are becoming daily activities for the majority of the population and therefore the pressure is only going to increase.'

Wraight added that even as the UK starts rolling out 4G networks, with <a href='../FullArticle.aspx?newsid=1571'>Vodafone and O2 both set to launch their services</a> on 29 August, capacity is a contentious issue, therefore it is no real surprise that networks are being overwhelmed in areas with higher demand. 'The problem is that event organisers, property managers and enterprises are depending more and more on mobile devices as a crucial business and communication tool, therefore it can be hugely damaging, let alone frustrating, if users are having to deal with slow data downloads, interrupted streaming and patchy internet access issues that have plagued 3G services. The question arises that if networks are struggling with data demands in a shopping centre, how are they going to cope when 4G has completely rolled out and everyone is demanding these higher rates?'


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