A third of Brits don’t care about 4G

A third of Brits dont care about 4G
A few months back we ran a survey to see what our readers thought about 4G; whether they were interested or whether they would prefer bigger allowances and more reliable signal. The results of this survey can be found here.

Yougov have had a similar idea and interviewed 1,456 people about whether they know what 4G is, whether they are interested in 4G and cost. The results are fairly similar to our own:


  • 35% don’t have any desire to increase their data allowance
  • Over 50% say that 4G is too expensive for them
  • Two thirds don’t want to have to buy a new phone for 4G
  • 80% have heard of 4G but 31% of them have no idea what the benefits of it are and only 21% know what it offers.

The message from the public, as summed up by Russell Feldman, Technology and Telecoms director at YouGov appears to be -“The low levels of understanding about what 4G offers indicates that networks need to be savvy when selling it to consumers – showing not just that it exists but also what it does. Take-up is likely to be a slow burn as consumers hold off making decisions until they see it in action.”

Source: Pocketlint

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  • Martin

    Pretty sure it was the same when 3G started. I had a NEC from Three when they first started up, bloomin’ terrible, took me ages to get out of that contract.
    Gonna take 3 or 4 years for 4G to become more established. Early adopters always get rinsed. Surely the current high speed 3G connections are more than enough for ‘mobile’ usage?

    • the_prof

      It was similar when 3G started, but the main difference was that back then there was more of a desire to have a fast and reliable data connection. GPRS just didn’t do the job. Now we have (relatively) fast and reliable 3G/3.5G/3.75G, it’s actually fast enough for the vast majority of people. Better speed is not what we need. What we really need is better coverage, and actually better/more flexible data allowances. I can understand why most people don’t appear to care, and the ones who do can’t be too bright ;)

      I recently went down to Cornwall for a few days. Normally I’m attached to a nice fast Wifi wherever I go these days, and I rarely have to resort to my 3G connection. Boy, did I notice how patchy the coverage is on the way down. The main problem seems to be that 3G is great when you get it (normally fast enough to do what you need), but when you don’t, the connections tend to be useless.

      On top of that, with very little effort, no real video streaming to speak of, I burned through quite a bit of my monthly data allowance. I can imagine if I were restricted to 3G only for an entire month, I’d be paying for extra before the second week is up.

      So, I think nobody will care about 4G until the networks are decent enough that you can get good data speeds pretty much everywhere, and data allowances actually start to reflect the decade we’re in.

      • Martin

        Spot on Prof, I live in a patchy 3g area, if I want a good mobile call I have to go upstairs to a front bedroom. Even when I got to work (Enfield) voice coverage is good but 3g is still pretty slow due to the amount of people using it.

        • the_prof

          Yes, another excellent point. The contention ratios seem to be terrible in any built-up area, and they are the only areas they currently provide 4G. So if you’re in the sticks you get no signal, and if you’re in a built up area you get poor speeds because of the contention.

          I used to come up against this problem a great deal in London, where you’d get full 3G but still take 10 mins to load a web page.

          4G isn’t going to do anything to change this as far as I’m concerned. I mean, if you can get anything over about 10Mbps while you’re on the road, it’s a very acceptable speed by todays standards. However, 500MB of data allowance is so piffling, it’s barely worth having on a modern smartphone. If we could all get around 10Mbps and enough data to see us through the month, I don’t think you’d hear too many complaints!

  • I think the second state on price is more relevant. The cash cow that is Joe public is skint…..

  • Simon Hardy

    I still find 3G coverage way too patchy to even consider moving onto 4G. So much so that 3 (the network) just cannot be a consideration for me if I want to make or receive phone calls at home.

  • Troy Dyall

    yep, was looking at EE tariffs for sim only plans, blimey its expensive!!!

  • Xander

    I received 4g as part of my new contract a couple of months ago. I wouldn’t go back to 3g now as the 4g (running at 54mb) is currently faster than my WiFi at home (14mb). I’m even considering canceling my internet plan at home as my 4g plan comes with 6gb data per month.

    • Martin

      My thing with 4g is the lack of a decent amount of data bundled with it. My home broadband struggles to give me a regular 2meg download speed and that is the minimum needed for streaming a movie so I don’t use netflix or it’s ilk. I use catch up a fair bit for BBC, ITV etc and that is only ever good in the morning or afternoon, if I want to watch it in the evening then I get too much buffering. I still manage to use over 30gig data a month (I work from home a lot, already used 20gig and it’s only the 12th), can you imagine how much that would cost with a 4g provider? I don’t even get HD quality with catch up, if I had 4g I would use the HD stream instead and my useage would rocket.
      My 3g connection here is, (if I go to the front of the house) just over 4meg so I could start using a movie streaming service, but my data useage would increase. Plus it would be prohibitive costs wise as an unlimited 3g broadband sim would cost twice as much as I am paying for my home broadband.

      I really don’t see how 6gig on 4g is going to be ever enough data to use it to it’s potential? Netfix say that a movie streamed in HD can use ‘upto’ 2.3gig of data per hour. Watch the extended version of one of the Lord Of The Rings movies and it’s gonna break your download limit by a rather large amount ;) If you are only ever going to use it for ‘normal’ internet use, surfing, emails etc it is a complete wast of money, you may as well go to a 3g service with a higher data allowance for less per month. It’s like buying a Lamborghini and using it purely to go to the supermarket.

  • Can’t wait till Three roll out 4G with their promise that it won’t cost any extra – so I’m sticking with my One Plan ready for unlimited 4G thank you!
    I am a bit worried how long they will be able to stick by that promise, but we all thought that about AYCE on 3G, and that’s peachy still :)