Us Brits are a sceptical lot and it’s taking a time to convince us to upgrade to 4G. So is it all it’s cracked up to be? Get the lowdown.
Kevin Bacon may be the face of 4G from EE, but us Brits are yet to be convinced by the benefits of this supposedly superior, superfast mobile broadband product. Collectively, T-Mobile and Orange (under the umbrella company EE) have piled millions upon millions into unrolling 4G across the country and preaching its benefits to the UK’s smartphone addicts. However many, degrees of separation their poster boy Kevin Bacon goes through, the Brits are proving to be pretty slow on the 4G take up.
Part of the problem is that 3G from the likes of Mobi-Data is incredibly cheap, amazingly accessible all over the country and, although it isn’t the Usain Bolt of broadband
connections, it’s fast enough to be functional. So is it worth upgrading to 4G? Here we’ll be taking a closer look at the UK’s 4G uptake and considering the pros and cons of investing in 4G.
A nation of 4G sceptics
YouGov has recently conducted a survey of 4G usage and uptake in the UK and it looks like we’re all a bunch of technophobic sceptics. The alternative, of course, is that the vast majority of British smartphone users are taking a more pragmatic “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach and saving their hard earned pennies for something more crucial than a slightly faster mobile broadband connection.
The results of the survey are interesting. A third of those polled simply “can’t see the point” of 4G and think 3G is perfectly adequate for their needs. This is rather a bad news for EE.
Too much Bacon not enough information
However, there are plenty of us who want what 4G has to offer – we just don’t know enough about it and what it can offer us. 58% of those questioned in the YouGov poll wanted to be able to surf the internet from their smartphone at the speed they were used to via computer. 35% wanted to be able to use faster maps on their phone. These are both benefits which 4G can offer, but just 21% of respondents asked were confident that they knew what 4G had to offer – leaving the majority of people in the dark and not at all sure about investing in 4G.
Despite a huge marketing budget being ploughed into the EE Kevin Bacon 4G marketing campaign to educate consumers, it seems that many of us are still in the dark.
Money, money, money
Another key barrier between UK smartphone users and 4G upgrades is that age-old worry – money. With our economy still struggling to clamber out of the doldrums, investing in 4G seems to many like a luxury rather than a necessity. Yes, faster surfing would be great, but 3G does the trick at a much lower price. 55% of those asked in the YouGov survey claimed that they felt 4G would be too expensive for them while 66% do not want to have to splash out on a new 4G-ready smartphone.
So is it worth it?
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty then. Despite all this uncertainty and penny-pinching, is 4G worth it in the end?
The answer is that it depends on. If you need super speeds for business purposes, an investment in costlier 4G may be beneficial. However, if you’re happy with your much cheaper 3G connection, you’re probably better off sticking with 3G until 4G costs come down.