Fully 90 per cent of UK subscribers would not change from their current (non-LTE) service provider just for the promised benefits of higher downlink speeds from LTE, according to new research commissioned by Virgin Media Business.
The study claims that cost remains the key driver to move to an LTE provider, with over 60 per cent of those polled stating this as the primary factor. Nearly a quarter (22 per cent) would switch for a more reliable data connection and over a third (34 per cent) simply wanted better network coverage.
Of note, mobile subscribers have a very low understanding of data speeds, with over 70 per cent of respondents having no idea of what data speeds they should be receiving with their current mobile data provider, let alone what might come in the future with LTE.
"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 LTE is the success everyone wants it to be," George Wareing, director of mobile and broadcast at Virgin Media Business, said in a statement.
Wareing added that broadband providers need to focus more closely on delivering a blend of technologies that will "not only improve existing 3G performance, but also ensure LTE is the success everyone wants it to be."
However, he accepted that cost will always be a factor with consumer buying decisions. "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," he added.
EE became the first UK operator to launch LTE late last year, using its 1800 MHz spectrum. The operator launched LTE service in 18 UK markets by the end of 2012 and plans to expand that to 17 more cities and towns by March. It is unclear though how many customers have signed up for EE's LTE service, which is more expensive than its 3G data service.
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