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No Surprise as Ofcom Study Shows WiFi Beats 4G and 3G Mobile Performance

Friday, June 16th, 2017 (11:19 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 448)
ofcom mobile network tracking uk

Ofcom has used crowd-sourced data collected from 4,288 users of their Smartphone app to reveal that 72% of users in UK urban areas were satisfied with their overall mobile service, although this falls to just 56% in rural areas. Elsewhere WiFi gave the best YouTube speed (average of 6.6Mbps).

At present the report, which is based on data collected between 27th September 2016 and 23rd December 2016, is somewhat limited and does not include data comparing the performance of different mobile network operators, although the regulator is looking at whether or not this can be included in future updates (a second round of fieldwork will take place in Q4 2017).

Nevertheless we do get some useful bits of data about mobile use among consumers. For example, most 3G and 4G capable Smartphone users were connected to a WiFi network around 69% of the time (we assume most of this was via Home Broadband) and the other 31% was Mobile Broadband / Data (split as 65% for 4G, 30% for 3G and just 5% on 2G).

ofcom_mobile_survey_crowdsourced

In most cases (95.6% of occasions), 4G users could access a mobile network (either 2G, 3G or 4G) and successfully download data, which falls to 92.4% for 3G-only users. The study also noticed that WiFi connections delivered the best (lowest) latency, with response times of just 27 milliseconds (48ms on 4G and 64ms on 3G); none of which is a surprise.

Connection speeds when using YouTube and Chrome were also predictably found to be faster over newer 4G than older 3G networks, with Wi-Fi providing higher average speeds than both mobile technologies.

ofcom_mobile_survey_chrome_vs_youtube_speed_crowdsourced

The survey also looked at voice calls. Overall less than 1% of all calls were dropped due to loss of service during the research period and 90% of panellists said that they were happy (either positive or neutral) with the performance of their network when making a phone call. However, those in urban areas were more likely than those in rural areas to say that they were satisfied (90% vs 86%).

You can download the Android App here (sadly there doesn’t appear to be one for iOS).

Ofcoms Consumer Mobile Experience Report (PDF)
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/../Consumer-mobile-experience.pdf

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1 Response
  1. James

    And yet I can only get max 74mbps on my home line – and over 100mbps all the time on 4G – infact 322mbps right now as I am in a new speed area.

    So as usual this study is garbage and behind the times

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