High cost hinders 4G adoption by smartphone users

News 5 Apr, 2013

USwitch polls suggests cost still a barrier to 4G adoption.

High cost tariffs are still putting some smartphone users off adopting superfast 4G services, according to new research by price comparison site uSwitch.

The company polled 1,415 smartphone users and their attitudes towards the superfast network, six months after EE switched on the UK’s first 4G services.

The firm was given a significant head start on 4G over its rivals, after regulator Ofcom granted EE permission to reuse part of its existing network for the deployment.

Meanwhile, its competitors had to participate in Ofcom’s 4G auction before they could rollout their own.

Of those questioned, 38 per cent said they wouldn’t sign up for 4G because of the expense involved.

When USwitch carried out similar research around the time of EE’s 4G launch in October, involving 2,000 respondents, 31 per cent said cost would put them off.

EE’s 4G pricing plans came under fire for being too expensive at the time of their launch, but the firm recently cut the price of its tariffs until the end of last month to encourage more people to sign up.

Meanwhile, rival mobile operator Three has already vowed to offer 4G services for no extra cost to existing customers.

Users also flagged concerns about running out of data, because the faster transmission speeds of 4G mean they will be able to get more done with the devices in a shorter amount of time.

Nearly 70 per cent of those that took part in the survey said running out of data was a major concern.

During the October survey, this was cited as a concern by 62 per cent of respondents.

Ernest Doku, product relations manager at Uswitch, said consumers should consider holding off adopting 4G until more operators launch their services.

“Pricing is highly likely to become the new battleground for 4G, especially in light of Three’s ‘no premium for superfast’ pledge,” said Doku.

“We hope that more networks offering 4G will lead to real competition on numerous fronts, including cost, data, handsets and coverage, so that consumers can enjoy the next generation of mobile internet without the sky-high price tag they fear.”