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Mobile Users in the UK Think 4G Is Just 'OK'

3G-only device owners underwhelmed by 4G

July 28, 2014 | Mobile | Telecom

While the figures for 4G uptake in the UK seem relatively healthy, consumer sentiment looks to be lagging behind somewhat.

Attitudes Toward 4G According to UK 3G Mobile Users, by Type of Device Owned, June 2014 (% of respondents)

According to June 2014 research by YouGov, only 22% of 3G-only device owners surveyed were excited by the prospect of 4G. A further 42% couldn’t see the point, while 56% thought it would be too expensive.

These concerns were far more muted among UK mobile users with a 4G-enabled device that was not yet running such a service, and this translated into the likelihood of both groups to upgrade to 4G.

Likelihood of Upgrading to 4G According to UK 3G Mobile Users, by Type of Device Owned, June 2014 (% of respondents)

Only 8% of 3G-only mobile device users were very likely to upgrade, vs. a healthier 18% of those with 4G-enabled devices. Even so, the prevailing attitude among both groups was that they would only “possibly” upgrade to 4G.

However, though UK consumers appear somewhat underwhelmed by the promise of 4G service, indications are that the number of 4G LTE mobile connections in the country will likely rise at a very healthy rate for the foreseeable future.

UK 4G LTE Mobile Connections, 2014-2018 (millions)

May 2014 projections from Yankee Group (now known as 451 Research) indicated that 8.2 million connections in 2014 would more than double to 17.0 million by 2015, and that by 2018, that figure would surge to 46.8 million.

While consumer sentiment may not seem all that impressive, it looks like the move to 4G is happening all the same by way of natural progression. As explained by Russell Feldman, director in technology and telecoms at YouGov, “while there are high levels of awareness of 4G and it seems likely that consumers will shift over to the service, the change will be more evolutionary than revolutionary.”

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