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4G Price and Coverage are More Important to UK Consumers than its Speed

Thursday, January 17th, 2013 (10:15 am) - Score 537

A new Virgin Media Business commissioned YouGov study of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom has revealed that 90% of people wouldn’t swap their Mobile Broadband operator based purely on the prospect of getting faster speeds from 4G (LTE). In fact price, reliability and coverage were deemed to be more important.

It’s especially interesting to note that 71% of respondents “had no clue of what data speeds they should be receiving” from their current mobile phone operator. Furthermore 24% didn’t even know whether or not they could already get a 3G service.

Meanwhile 61% of respondents said that the main reason for changing operator tends to be cost, while 22% highlighted reliability as a key factor in their consideration. Separately 34% said that the pursuit of better network coverage would also be a crucial factor.

George Wareing, VMBs Director of Mobile, said:

Of course price will always be a factor with consumer purchasing decisions. However, by taking a holistic approach and giving customers a better understanding of their services, operators will be able to differentiate themselves not just on price but on a better all-round service, setting themselves up perfectly to roll-out future technology such as 4G.”

Mobile operator EE made waves last year when it became the first national Mobile Network Operator (MNO) to launch a 4G service via the 1800MHz band, although the services initial coverage has remained strictly urban focused and it won’t reach 98% of UK people until 2014 (70% coverage expected by the end of 2013). On top of that their prices were higher, and data allowances lower, than some would have liked.

At the same time EE’s arch rivals, such as O2, Three UK and Vodafone, will have to wait until Ofcom’s current auction of 800MHz and 2.6GHz radio spectrum completes, during spring 2013, before they can launch a competitive alternative. The good news from today’s study is that the vast majority of consumers on rival platforms appear unwilling to take the risk, at least until the market has had a chance to mature.

Mobile operators will need to put more effort into educating and advertising the advantages of 4G technology if they are to entice wary consumers away from existing 3G services. Bigger data allowances might be a good place to start.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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