Four fifths of users say 4G is too expensive

23 August 2013

Four fifths of users do not wish to upgrade to a 4G mobile data plan, according to exclusive Moneywise research.

In a poll of over 750 readers, 79% said that they would not be upgrading to a super-fast 4G plan because they are too expensive. If that holds true for the general population, it means four fifths are not interested in taking up an ultra-fast data plan.

One in ten readers said they would not upgrade because the 4G network coverage is not available in their area.

That leaves just 10% who said they will consider upgrading to a 4G monthly contract because they believe the minimum cost of £26 a month offered by the leading mobile network providers is reasonable.

The statistics are even more damning for the UK’s mobile phone network companies than a recent poll conducted by uSwitch - it found that 38% of Brits think 4G is too expensive and 69% are concerned their mobile bills will rocket if they get 4G.

Read Mark Stammer's blog: Making the most of 4G

4G mobile data services allow consumers to download data up to five times faster than on the 3G network. This makes it far easier to download and stream music and videos easily while on the move - a standard definition movie should take just 10 to 15 minutes to download.

EE launched 4G in the UK in October 2012 and charges from £26 a month for a two-year 4G contract or from £21 a month for a Sim-only plan. O2 and Vodafone are to join EE by offering a 4G service from 29 August  and it was hoped that new entrants to the market would force the price of 4G down.

But both O2 and Vodafone have priced their 4G services at similar levels.

Clearly, 4G remains too expensive for the majority of consumers, though the new entrants are offering added-value extras. O2 is bundling in a range of perks for 4G customers including 12 months' free music content for those who buy direct; while Vodafone has partnered with music service Spotify and Sky Sports to offer added-value content to 4G customers.

However, the network coverage remains a problem, with 4G only being available in a handful of cities. O2 will initially service five million people in three cities (London, Leeds and Bradford); while Vodafone will roll-out its 4G service to customers in London only.

O2's 4G service will then expand to an additional 10 cities by the end of 2013. These are: Birmingham; Coventry; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Leicester; Liverpool; Manchester; Newcastle; Nottingham and Sheffield. Similarly, Vodafone’s 4G service will reach 12 other cities by the end of the year.

Perhaps then, the number of people interested in switching to a 4G plan will rise.

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