Ofcom report finds 4G awareness high but demand low

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Seventy per cent of those the telecoms regulator surveyed said they do not intent to upgrade to the superfast mobile broadband service when their contract expires

Almost three quarters (70 per cent) of consumers do not intend to upgrade to 4G mobile broadband when their contract expires, research from Ofcom has revealed.

The telecom regulator’s annual ‘communications market report’, published today (August 1) shows that while awareness of 4G is high, demand has been hampered by the price premium charged for the superfast service.

The report states that Ofcom research conducted in April found 79 per cent of adults with a smartphone said they were aware of 4G services.

Eight per cent of the same sample said they were already a subscriber to EE’s 4G service, while a further 12 per cent said they were likely to purchase 4G services within the next 12 months (by April 2014).

However, 38 per cent of respondents said they were aware of what 4G is but are unlikely to purchase it by April next year. Only 30 per cent of smartphone users intend to upgrade to 4G at the end of their current contract, Ofcom said.

The regulator said the main reason given by those who did not want to upgrade was the cost of doing so.

It cited a YouGov survey which found 46 per cent were put off by data charges, while 37 per cent said handset cost was the reason. Only 29 per cent named lack of interest in faster speeds as the reason they would not upgrade to 4G.

Indeed, Ofcom said the most commonly cited reason for wanting a 4G service is speed.

Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of smartphone owners said they wanted a 4G service because of quicker download speeds, and 59 per cent said they wanted 4G because it would enable faster streaming.

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