Research: Poor Wi-Fi forces consumers to use mobile data

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/RapidEye)

New research from Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) points to one in four consumers using their mobile data at home due to poor Wi-Fi networks; which could pose an issue with operators' plans to solve gaps in mobile signal with Voice-over-WiFi solutions. 

The study, which polled 2,000 UK adults, revealed that one in seven respondents often make the conscious decision not to connect to their home Wi-Fi network – although they are able to – because their connection speed is slow or unreliable. A further 13% of those polled reveal they never connect their mobile devices to a home Wi-Fi network.  

  

Tasks undertaken using mobile data and not WiFi 

% of respondents 

Social media e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter 

57% 

Messaging e.g. Whatsapp, iMessage, BBM 

52% 

Internet shopping e.g. looking for deals, making travel plans, etc 

46% 

Playing mobile games e.g. Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Angry Birds 

41% 

Working from home e.g. answering emails 

40% 

GWS' pollsters also found the bedroom is typically the worst room in the house to obtain a solid Wi-Fi signal; which is not surprising as for many it will be one of the furthest points in the house and subject to obstacles such as walls and insulation which attenuates the signal. 

Paul Carter, CEO of GWS, commented: “Network operators are under a great deal of pressure to improve the UK’s mobile networks and eliminate signal blackspots around the country. Most major network operators offer their customers voice-over-WiFi services as a temporary solution to in-home blackspots, but as our poll shows, WiFi connectivity in British homes is often too slow or patchy for consumers to reliably access the Internet. These same WiFi issues will affect consumers hoping to use voice-over-WiFi to make calls at home." 

Not content with just these results, GWS went one step further with their research and geared-up with their advanced mobile testing rig to gather and analyse data from inside and outside more than 50 houses in London. Over the course of six weeks, GWS found that maintaining a connection to high-speed 4G/LTE networks is much harder inside your home - regardless of network. 

% of time on 4G/LTE modes 

EE 

O2 

Vodafone 

Outside London properties 

78% 

100% 

95% 

95% 

Inside London properties 

55% 

85% 

91% 

87% 

Carter says: “Today’s Brit is adept at switching between WiFi and mobile data to stay connected while they are out and about, but they shouldn’t have to use the same tricks to get online at home. We are using our phones more than ever, and we expect to be able to work, play and shop on our phones while we are at home. How that connection is ultimately made is not important to the average consumer – as long as it’s made.” 

Do you use Wi-Fi at home for your mobile devices? Let us know in the comments.

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