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Lack of awareness limits 4G take-up

Businesses missing out as new analysis highlights speed and reliability as key 4G benefits.

Businesses missing out as new analysis highlights speed and reliability as key 4G benefits.
Businesses missing out as new analysis highlights speed and reliability as key 4G benefits.

Businesses are in danger of missing out on the digital revolution and falling behind tech-savvy competitors, warns Vodafone.

Its survey of 1,200 senior decision-makers in the public and private sectors shows that nearly two-thirds (64%) of UK organisations still don’t have 4G and that 41% expect never to need it. One third of those that do not yet have 4G can’t see how it would benefi their business.

Take-up is particularly low amongst SMEs, with fewer than one in four (24%) using 4G, compared to 39% of larger organisations.

Businesses that have upgraded to 4G since it was introduced in 2012 cite a number of benefits, including:

Increased data transfer speeds (51%)

Faster responses to customers and suppliers (43%)

The ability to use all business applications when working remotely (48%)

Enhanced flexible working (42%) The biggest barriers to adoption include cost and a lack of knowledge about 4G’s benefits, with 43% or those surveyed claiming to have a poor understanding of its capabilities.

Vodafone says it has invested £1 billion in 4G since the start of the year and that its 4G service is now available in 500 cities and towns across the UK.

More competition

In its fist report looking specifically at 4G services, mobile analytics firm RootMetrics says that greater investment by Vodafone and O2 is helping intensify competition with EE, which was the fist to bring 4G services to market.

According to RootMetrics, EE still has a larger 4G footprint (79.3%) than Vodafone (58.2%), O2 (52.7%) and Three (24.8%).

Its testing in 16 cities covering 50% of the UK population shows that EE also offers the fastest 4G download speeds, peaking at 94.1 Mbps in Belfast, compared to a maximum of 64.7 Mbps for O2 in London, 64.5 Mbps for Vodafone in Belfast and London and 50 Mbps for Three in Sheffield.

When 4G is not available, Three recorded its fastest median download speed of 7.3 Mbps in Belfast. In comparison, EE’s fastest median download speed when not on 4G was 4.9 Mbps in Glasgow; O2 never passed 3 Mbps; and Vodafone only exceeded 3 Mbps once (in Manchester).

The RootMetrics report highlights another benefit of 4G – reliability. Its analysis shows that when 4G is Businesses missing out as new analysis highlights speed and reliability as key 4G benefits available, success rates for making a connection and then staying connected neared 100% for all operators.

RootMetrics CEO and President Bill Moore said: “2014 was the fist year in the UK when all the major networks were providing 4G services. We have seen some startlingly fast speeds in pockets of the UK and overall median speeds are substantially higher than 3G. What is even more encouraging is the reliability of services once customers are on 4G. The growing footprint of each network means that as more customers are able to access 4G, they will be able to consistently access all the benefits 4G brings.”

One third of new businesses will start life as a pop-up, claims EE. Its research shows that 11.6 million people plan to start their own business within the next two years, and almost a third (29%) want do so by launching a pop-up selling food (30%), drink (18%), arts and crafts (15%), fashion (12%) or jewellery and accessories (11%). Pop-up successes are becoming increasingly common, with pop-ups like PRESS London growing into bricks and mortar retailers, while online-only businesses, such as Amazon and Google, are looking at pop-ups as a viable way to connect with customers. To help entrepreneurs get started, EE provides a range of 4G connected products and Pop-Up bundles, including tablets, smartphones and mobile payment devices.

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