60% of UK Smartphone Users Unhappy with Mobile Data Speeds

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A new survey has found that mobile data speeds aren’t meeting modern day requirements with 60% of respondents claiming to be unhappy with their smartphone’s mobile internet connection.

The independent survey*, commissioned by TigerMobiles.com, queried 4300 users who have purchased a 3G or 4G ready contract in the last 12 months with at least 1GB of monthly data allowance.

Carried out as part of on-going research into consumers’ expectations and experience of mobile phones the survey reveals that mobile data expectations are not being met with the majority of users experiencing slow or unreliable performance on a regular basis.

Key survey findings include:

Mobile Data Speeds and Expectations

  • 60% of respondents are dissatisfied with the data speed on their smartphone.
  • 82% of users expect websites to load as quickly on their smartphone via mobile data as they do via fixed line broadband.
  • However, over half (56%) said websites load more slowly on their smartphone.
  • 82% of those surveyed had a problem trying to load a website over a data connection in the last year whilst 79% had difficulty using apps that require a data connection to function properly.
  • 85% revealed they would access websites more often from their phone via mobile data if the experience was as fast and reliable.
  • 55% are dissatisfied with the overall reliability of mobile data.

Benefits of higher mobile data speeds

  • Overall, 49% say that faster mobile date speeds would help with their productivity.
  • 62% think it would allow them to get more use out of their smartphone.
  • 18% say that faster mobile data speeds would encourage their employer to offer more flexible and remote working opportunities.

The last 3 years in mobile internet – getting faster

  • Overall 16% believe that mobile data speeds have got significantly faster in the last 3 years, 43% believe speeds are slightly faster. By comparison just 4% believe they have got significantly slower.
  • Respondents in rural areas err more on the side of caution with 14% believing that data speeds have become slightly slower in the last 3 years.

The next 3 years – people anticipate speed increases

  • Overall 45% think that mobile data speeds will get significantly faster, 28% slightly faster and just 9% believing they will get slower in some capacity.
  • Urban respondents are the most upbeat with a combined 74% believing that mobile data will improve in speed over the next 3 years, compared to 65% of rural respondents

Head of Customer Insight at Tiger Mobiles, Brandon Ackroyd had the following to say:

“We conducted this survey after receiving a number of questions in our FAQ centre around mobile data speeds. We had a good idea that many users were unhappy but the survey has proved that smartphone users expect quick and flawless mobile data and that’s not always what they’re getting.”

Ackroyd however believes that there are many variables involved with mobile broadband speeds and urges consumers to research mobile networks coverage in their area before making a purchase. He added:

“The most important factor affecting mobile broadband speed is network coverage and consumers should check with various providers at how good the coverage is likely to be before choosing a network provider.”

“All the major network operators offer online coverage checkers where you can type in postcodes of places you will be using the service (e.g. at home, work or college) and see how good the coverage will be. I’d also recommend asking your friends and neighbours about their phone signal strength to get an idea of what to expect.”

Ackroyd also predicts that although many customers are currently unhappy, mobile data speeds, reliability and coverage are going to improve rapidly.

“I think with 4G coverage continuing to roll out through the UK many customers can look forward to quicker download speeds and overall more reliability. All the major players in this space are aiming to cover as much of the country as possible including rural areas and that’s certainly good news. Whoever gets there first can expect a big chunk of business coming their way.”


Five key conclusions can be drawn from the survey:

  • First, on the whole current mobile data speeds are unsatisfactory and failing to meet the needs of both users in urban and rural areas.
  • Secondly, those living in rural areas tend be unhappier with their mobile data connection in terms of speed, price and reliability.
  • Third, the network operators rolling out 4G to as much of the country as possible is crucial for meeting user expectation and providing customers with faster and more reliable mobile data connections.
  • Fourth, the vast majority of respondents believe mobile data speeds will increase in the next 3 years, as a result user expectations for speed and reliability are going to increase exponentially.
  • Fifth, end users are going to place more and more importance on mobile data when purchasing a contract phone or SIM only deal. Usage allowances, signal strength in their primary area of use and overall speed will be the primary factors in their purchasing decision.

Tiger Mobiles commissioned polling agency Carter Digby to survey 4300 customers who had purchased a 3G or 4G ready smartphone contract with at least 1GB of data allowance in the last 12 months.

Respondents were surveyed between the 24th September and 7th of October 2014. 2924 (68%) self-defined their primary smartphone usage as being in an urban location and 1376 (32%) self-defined their primary smartphone usage as being in a rural location. A weighted average was used to paint an ‘Overall’ picture.[signoff predefined=”Enjoy this?” icon=”icon-users”][/signoff]

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