According to UK operator EE, the speed and consistency of LTE service is starting to have some effect on user behaviour, with one notable change being a reduced reliance on both public Wi-Fi and home broadband services.
EE said LTE has made customers less dependent on Wi-Fi.
That is a key finding of the first edition of UK operator EE's "4GEE Mobile Living Index," which was produced from internal EE network data and an independent TNS survey of 1,000 LTE users carried out in the first seven months of 2013.
According to the survey, when users switch to LTE they are increasingly using it as a replacement for home broadband and Wi-Fi. In fact, 43 per cent of users say since using LTE they use fewer or no public Wi-Fi hotspots (up from 37 per cent in April) and 23 per cent (up from 21 per cent in April) say they have less of a need to use their home broadband services.
According to the EE report, 26 per cent of LTE subscribers spend more than three hours per day online. "Over the mobile network it is 23 per cent and then over Wi-Fi or home broadband it is 27 per cent," the report added. "The former figure is expected to rise as the 4G user matures and the latter is expected to stay around the same," it said.
EE also said its spectrum holdings enable it to reduce its own reliance on Wi-Fi for data offload purposes, which has been used by operators to reduce the burden on their own networks. "We really don't have to worry about getting customers off the network. We don't have the same issues that some other operators have," an EE spokesman told Telecoms.com.
Other changes in user patterns include increased uploading and a greater willingness to stream as users take advantage of better network speeds. EE said it now seeing average speeds of 16 Mbps and peak speeds of 100 Mbps on its LTE network on a regular basis.
It's early days for LTE in the UK and in Europe generally, but the EE report reveals some interesting early insights into how users react once they have access to faster speeds. Wi-Fi will still be relevant to conserve data allowances, of course, but network reliability and availability will be important aspects for most users.
EE will face competition on the LTE market for the first time starting Aug. 29, when both O2 UK and Vodafone UK start selling their high-speed mobile services.
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