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January 18, 2013

Consumers unlikely to change mobile carriers for 4G benefits

A survey reveals that 90% of people said they wouldn’t change their current mobile provider to have access to 4G.

By Tineka Smith

According to Virgin Media Business the top reason consumers will not change providers for 4G access is to save money.

Over 60% of the 2000 consumers surveyed said they wouldn’t pay more to access 4G.

Virgin Media Business says that the £3.5bn 4G auction is not a big concern for consumers whose understanding of network performance is limited to contract price tags.

The study revealed that 71% of respondents were unaware of what data speeds they should be receiving under their current provider or what was happening with the development of 4G services.

Another 25% had no idea if they even had 3G connectivity.

Virgin Media suggests that the industry needs to help educate consumers on what they should expect in terms of reliability and performance to be able to differentiate through more than just a price tag.

"With so much investment being made into existing and future services, and huge expectations around what those advances will bring to the UK, it’s time for telcos like us to work even more closely to deliver a blend of technologies that will not only improve existing 3G performance, but also ensure that 4G is the success everyone wants it to be," George Wareing director of mobile and broadcast at Virgin Media Business.

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Wareing says that educating customers on 4G and mobile operators is an important factor in the future of 4G services.

"Of course price will always be a factor with consumer purchasing decisions," he added. "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."

The 4G auction is expected to generate £3.5bn for the treasury.

The new spectrum is expected to boost the amount of available airwaves to mobile phones by 75%.

Ofcom announced in November 2012, it was preparing the UK for a 5G future in order to keep up with the increasing demand of data by consumers in the future.

Mobile data demand is predicted to be 80 times higher than it is today by 2030. The UK communications authority will use some spectrum in the 700MHz band to avoid a ‘capacity crunch.’

"While it’s encouraging to see that Ofcom is being proactive by planning to make more spectrum available, extra airwaves alone won’t solve the problem of bulging mobile networks," Bruce Girdleston, senior business development manager at Virgin Media Business told CBR.

"Mobile network operators will almost certainly welcome the news of more available spectrum, but they’ll also be looking to make sure they have maximum bandwidth between their cell sites by taking advantage of fibre networks."


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