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Millions still struggle with 4G despite 5G launch

Saf Malik
October 3, 2019

5G will be available this month, but 45pc of mobile phone users still struggle to connect to 4G

Research from revealed that nearly half of consumers have trouble connecting to 4G despite 5G services being available this month. The price comparison and switching service warned that 5G will not immediately solve Britain’s connectivity issues and urged the telecoms industry to better serve rural and remote communities.

17.1 million people continue to have trouble connecting to 4G at least once a week, despite Ofcom’s claims that 67 per cent of the UK has 4G coverage from all major operators.

The launch of 5G is unlikely to help UK residents connect to 4G and uSwitch data suggests that only 28 per cent of the UK will have access to 5G services. Data from uSwitch reveals that only three-quarters of the South West is covered by 4G and huge areas in the area will not see 5G services until the end of the year.

uSwitch head of commercial and broadband, Ernest Doku said: “With so many of us completely reliant on our smartphones these days for our news, work, shopping, and social media updates, there is little more frustrating than being unable to connect to phone services which we pay for.

“Ofcom reports that 66 per cent of the UK has 4G coverage from all major providers, but more than 23 million people are still facing difficulties connecting to their networks.

“This can sometimes be blamed on network congestion at busy times, but often the capacity simply isn’t there for the numbers of people wanting to access a service they have paid for.

“The arrival of the next generation-infrastructure should help with some of the problems currently experienced by 4G users, but this will not be an overnight solution, in particular as fewer than one in seven of us is planning to upgrade to 5G in the next year.

“However, the industry cannot use the launch of 5G as a band aid to cover up the shortcomings of 4G. Providers must work with communities to improve connectivity, especially in rural areas, to prevent millions of people being left stranded on technology two generations out of date.

“Unless networks improve their coverage in rural areas, the risk is that 5G will make the same mistakes as 4G and predominantly serve the cities at the expense of more rural areas of the country.”

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