One in three UK consumers ‘can’t see the point’ of 4G

One in three (33%) UK consumers ‘can’t see the point’ of 4G as they believe 3G is good enough for their needs, new research from YouGov SixthSense finds.

As more operators prepare to enter the marketplace this summer, the “4G Tariffs” report shows that although most consumers are aware of 4G and many welcome its benefits, presently most do not have a good understanding of what the service offers above current 3G services.

The YouGov Report finds that consumers want what 4G offers, with more than half (58%) looking to surf the web at speeds nearer to those at home and over a third (35%) wanting to use faster maps. However, the report indicates that networks face a challenge in communicating these benefits to potential customers. While eight in ten (80%) consumers are aware of 4G, just a fifth (21%) are confident they know what it offers. Almost half (48%) say they have a vague understanding and one in three (31%) have no idea.

The findings show that operators face a great challenge in making customers interested in 4G. Just under a quarter (23%) are ‘excited’ by the prospect of using it and more than one in three (35%) say none of 4G’s features interests them. YouGov's research also indicates consumers are wary about the cost of upgrading their contracts. More than half (55%) of consumers believe 4G will be too expensive for them and two thirds (66%) do not want to spend money on buying any new devices for it.

Consumers also express concerns about the extra data costs involved. One in three (31%) of people considering changing to a 4G phone say they are concerned about the increased cost of data. YouGov SixthSense’s report finds that those currently on 4G pay an average of £14.70 a month extra.

Russell Feldman, Technology & Telecoms Director at YouGov, says: “That a lot of consumers can’t see the point of 4G presents a real challenge to operators as more of them roll out 4G to their customers. The low levels of understanding about what 4G offers indicates that networks need to be savvy when selling it to consumers – showing not just that it exists but also what it does. Take-up is likely to be a slow burn as consumers hold off making decisions until they see it in action.”

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