Brits are not concerned about fast mobile data speeds or 5G

By Adrian Vincent - 20 Mar 2024, 22:05 Brits are not concerned about fast mobile data speeds or 5G

A new study by GWS reveals most Brits are satisfied with mobile data speeds between 1 - 5 Mbps and are not so concerned about 5G.

Consumers are more concerned with reliability, according to the study. Most are not so concerned about speed, but rather prefer to have a strong and steady signal from their location.

Despite the findings, tests by GWS reveal that networks are able to deliver average speeds of 45 Mbps across the UK - far more than demanded by consumers.

So why exactly does the satisfactory speed appear so low? Well, the study goes on to reveal that Brits spend 43% of their mobile phone screen time on social media apps. It may come as a surprise, but most social media apps in fact don’t use a lot of data, even for video heavy apps like TikTok. The popular apps are generally well optimised and engineered to use as little data as possible, while still preserving quality.

Furthermore, for 1080p HD video, 5 Mbps is the recommended speed by YouTube, which is within the bounds of the sweet spot. 1080p is also the default resolution for YouTube, as well as many other video streaming services.

GWS also found that half of Brits spend their time on only 10 apps, in order of Facebook, Chrome, WhatsApp, Google Maps, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Gmail, and Snapchat. None of these apps are particularly reliant on fast speeds.

Most Brits are also not concerned about 5G. 56% said they do not mind whether they receive 4G or 5G, as long as the signal is capable of keeping up with their current activity. Of the 44% that do find 5G important, the majority said they will still continue with their current task at hand, even if connected to 4G or less.

However, the study does reveal that 64% of consumers experience reliability issues a few times a week. 24% are considering changing networks by the end of the year, of which 31% are driven by poor signal. Only 21% of Brits that are considering changing networks are doing so because of slow speeds. 38% are considering a change because their current plan is too expensive, and 29% want improved bundle deals.

Despite the findings, that does not mean the building of 5G infrastructure has been a waste of money by networks, nor has the research done by the UK government been futile. While 5G speeds are not so much in demand right now, future proofing the UK’s network infrastructure is important as AI and VR come into play, both of which will require fast and consistent speeds. Furthermore, 5G is not only capable of delivering faster speeds, but is able to connect to more devices in densely populated areas.

Essentially, it is important not to become complacent when it comes to 5G, as the benefits pay dividends in the years to come, rather than the present. Becoming complacent will mean the UK will lag further behind countries like South Korea and Denmark, which have some of the best 5G coverage and speeds in the world.

About the author Adrian Vincent

As the founder and senior editor at CompareDial, Adrian Vincent is a renowned expert in all things related to mobile phones, and is particularly knowledgeable when it comes to helping consumers find the best contract deals. His expertise is widely recognised, with citations from leading news organisations and tech publications. Adrian is dedicated to guiding users through the complexities of the phone contract market, ensuring they receive unparalleled advice and secure the best value for their money.