EE 5G traffic doubled between October and December

EE 4G roads
(Image credit: EE)

Data consumption on EE’s 5G network is growing at a rate of 40% every month as coverage and uptake of the service increases.

The BT-owned firm was the first UK operator to launch a commercial 5G service back in 2019 and its next-generation network now covers 125 towns and cities.

It says 5G traffic doubled between October and December 2020, no doubt buoyed by the launch of the first compatible Apple device, the iPhone 12. London, Birmingham and Manchester are the country’s three biggest hotspots for 5G use.

EE 5G use

The most popular mobile applications among those with access to the 5G service are YouTube, Facebook, Netflix and Instagram, all of whom have seen consumption rise by at least 30%.

“As we roll out the 5G network to more places, it’s clear that customers are starting to use it more and are making the most of its faster speeds and reliable performance,” said BT Consumer CEO Marc Allera.

The figures have been published as part of the ‘EE Mobile Index’ which also shed a light on how customers made use of their mobile connection during the festive period. With lockdown and social distancing measures restricting gatherings over Christmas, people used video call apps to keep in touch.

EE recorded increased Zoom use before and after 2pm as families caught up around their Christmas dinner, while there was a surge in social media use at midnight on New Year’s Eve. BT Sport use peaked during the traditional boxing day football fixtures while the biggest surge in online gaming was spotted on 28th December. Greater use of Outlook and Skype on 4th January suggests this was a common time for most people to return to work.

Another insight was how mobile technology is changing the way people access vital information. Use of the BBC’s digital services doubled on the day that new lockdown restrictions were announced in England.

“With the heightened restrictions over the festive period and New Year’s Eve for many of us, we saw some notable changes in the ways our customers are using our mobile network,” added Allera. “The role of providing a brilliant and high performing network continues to grow in importance, and I’m pleased that the EE network is able to play its role in helping deliver a great experience for our customers.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.