Why are so few people signing up to 4G?

29 April 2013

4G launched last October to much fanfare, offering faster, more reliable mobile internet, but the current sole provider EE is hoping to sign up 1 million 4G customers by Christmas - that's just 8% of its 13 million-strong contract customer base.

So why so low? This can be attributed to several aspects of the fledgling service...

  • Though EE has recently announced speeds are set to double to 80Mbps in 10 cities around the UK, 4G is not available everywhere in the UK, thus limiting its appeal to many mobile phone users.
  • It's not cheap, either. Currently, EE is offering unlimited minutes and texts and 1GB of data on 4G for £41 per month over two years, compared with a similar tariff for a 3G phone on Orange for £36 per month.
  • And even the utility of 4G can be questioned when developers have admitted they are yet to find an app that would need all 80Mbps of 4G's new top speed. Save the top phone whizzes and gadget enthusiasts, the man on the street will barely use a fraction of the speed
  • available, so customers are much more likely to opt for a lesser service at a cheaper price.
  • There is also a limited range of phones compatible with 4G, forcing customers to source the most expensive phones on the market to benefit from the service.

The arrival of O2,Vodafone and Three on the scene in early summer could force prices down but as things stand, 4G seems a niche service.

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