How much do people in the UK actually use mobile networks?

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown there was a dramatic decrease in mobile use in the central areas of the UK’s capital cities.

London, 2020/10/08 – Mobile phones have become indispensable for everyday life. Everyone wants to stay connected at all times, so we wanted to find out which network technologies are used the most and how certain situations, like the COVID-19 pandemic influence the usage behavior.

Using umlaut’s crowd data and analysis on mobile user experience and network performance in the UK, Ofcom has reached the following key takeaways:

  • Two-thirds (65%) of the time, devices were connected to Wi-Fi rather than to a cellular network.
  • People were able to connect to a 4G network on 97.3% of the occasions when they attempted to do so.
  • There were no significant differences in failure rates for mobile connections between mobile network operators, but people on EE were the most likely to connect to a 4G rather than a 3G network, while people on Three were the least likely to connect to a 4G network.
  • Analysis of performance in high-traffic areas shows that 3G and 4G connections were almost twice as likely to fail during peak times than at other times throughout the day.
  • The average length of a mobile call increased by almost two minutes during the early stages of lockdown.

Hakan Ekmen, CEO Telecommunication at umlaut: ”I am very pleased that umlaut’s crowd data has supported the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, to analyse people’s experience of mobile services in the UK. It was especially interesting to see the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the use of mobile communications services. Our data continues to provide valuable insights on consumer experience on mobile networks.”

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Hakan Ekmen

CEO Telecommunication


+49 151 57133235