UK consumers are kings of Wi-Fi, as 4G usage lags Europe, US

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UK consumers are using their 4G connections less than mobile users in other countries, in favour of Wi-Fi, according to new research.

Mobile users in the UK are using 4G to connect only 18 percent of the time they use the internet, mobile data platform Ogury has claimed.

This contrasts strikingly with comparable countries where the figure is much higher, with Americans using 4G 46 percent of the time. In France the figure is 30 percent, and in both Spain and Italy it is 20 percent.

UK users use Wi-Fi 71 percent of the time they are connected to the internet. This is a higher figure than Spain, France, Italy and the US, where the figures are 71 percent, 66 percent, 53 percent, 53 percent and 49 percent respectively.

London as a region had the highest level of 4G usage, with an average of 28 percent of browsing time carried over 4G. London mobile users in the area spent an average of 55 percent of connected device time on Wi-Fi.

Ogury’s research was based on the analysis of over one million UK mobile profiles over a period of one month. Ogury has access to 300 million profiles, which include information on websites browsed, apps downloaded and app usage, around the world.

Christophe Bize, VP of Data and Mobile Analytics at Ogury, said: “UK mobile users currently rely on Wi-Fi for the vast majority of their connections. Whether this is because of poor 4G availability, personal preference or even cost, it does not bode well for 5G.”

According to mobile analytics firms RootMetrics, the number of UK consumers able to access 4G networks across all four major operators jumped from 47 million in 2015 to 54 million at the end of 2016.

Last week, data from GSMA Intelligence found that 47 percent of adult mobile phone owners in 2016 only use their mobile phones for voice calls and SMS messages.

However, the industry body forecast that this group would shrink to 29 percent of the total by 2030 as users across the developing world become more engaged.