Price and performance key for consumer buy-in of 4G

The majority of consumers (90 per cent) wouldn't change their current mobile phone provider based on the speed benefits of 4G, according to research commissioned by Virgin Media Business. Instead cost remains the main reason (61 per cent), with nearly a quarter (22 per cent) wanting more reliable data connectivity and over a third (34 per cent) simply wanting better network coverage wherever they are.

With the £3.5 billion 4G auction taking place, eyes are fixed on who's bidding for what, what it will mean for mobile networks and the boost it will bring to the economy. So whilst 4G is essential for long term growth and prosperity, it's not such a hot topic for consumers, who's understanding of network technology and performance is limited as they favour looking at the price tags of contracts instead.

In fact, the understanding of mobile speeds is so low that nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of the respondents had no clue of what data speeds they should be receiving with their current provider, let alone what might come in the future with 4G. With nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents having no idea if they get 3G connectivity as it should be or not, it's important for the industry to start to help educate the consumer on what they should be looking out for in terms of reliability and performance and begin to differentiate through more than just price.

George Wareing, director of mobile and broadcast at Virgin Media Business, said: "With so much investment being made into existing and future services, and huge expectations around what those advances will bring to the UK, it's time for telcos like us to work even more closely to deliver a blend of technologies that will not only improve existing 3G performance, but also ensure that 4G is the success everyone wants it to be.

But it's not just a question of balancing the investment that's made in the underlying infrastructure that's key to this, it's also important that we take the consumer with us on this journey.

"Of course price will always be a factor with consumer purchasing decisions. However, by taking a holistic approach and giving customers a better understanding of their services, operators will be able to differentiate themselves not just on price but on a better all-round service, setting themselves up perfectly to roll-out future technology such as 4G."

Notes to editors:

2,000 adults participated in YouGov research carried out in November 2012.