UK mobile users value data far more than calls

Three quarters of all mobile usage is now carried out on Wi-Fi rather than cellular networks, new research has said.

According to Ofcom’s latest consumer mobile experience report, smartphone users across the UK place much greater importance is placed on browsing rather than calls.

More than 5,000 Android users installed an Ofcom application on their device to help the regulator understand how consumers are using their devices and what level of service they receive.


4G was available on 81 per cent of occasions and users were able to connect 99 per cent of times when the user was in an area with 4G coverage. 3G connections were successful in 93 per cent of all instances and all connection attempts were more likely to fail during peak times. Once initiated, less than one per cent of all calls were dropped.

Nine tenths of users said browsing was extremely or very important to then, compared to 75 per cent for calls. This figure drops to 64 per cent in the 18-24 demographic.Of course, the survey is not exhaustive and is limited to Android smartphones.

With so many users on Wi-Fi connections, they might be interested in a separate piece of Ofcom research concerning broadband connections.

The average UK broadband speed has increased by 28 per cent to 46.2Mbps over the past year, with slowdown during peak times less common and superfast broadband adoption higher. However there are still differences between urban and rural areas and the average could be higher if people upgraded.

Despite superfast broadband being available to 93 per cent of the UK population, two in five users still have standard ADSL broadband.

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.