Global Wireless Solutions’ nationwide poll shows that network operators’ plans to solve in home mobile signal issues using voice-over-WiFi is wishful thinking

JULY 21, 2015 – LONDON, UK– 40% of Brits use mobile data even when they are at home, with 1 in 4 Brits ‘forced’ to do so because their home WiFi coverage is substandard, according to a poll of 2,000 UK adults commissioned by Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) – the mobile network testing company that recently rocked the telecoms industry with its report on in-home mobile network connectivity.

Consumers playing hide-and-seek with their home WiFi

1 in 7 (16%) of respondents to the GWS poll reported that while they are able to connect their mobile devices to their home WiFi networks, the connection speed is so slow that they typically opt to use data from their mobile price plan rather than waiting for their videos, music and web pages to load. 13% of Brits never connect their mobile devices to the home WiFi network, accessing the web through their mobile data exclusively and using WiFi only for their home PC.

The poll suggests that bedrooms are typically the worst rooms in British houses when it comes to WiFi connectivity – as anyone who has struggled to watch Games of Thrones while lying in bed will attest to. Kitchens and living rooms were second and third worst for WiFi access respectively.

These issues have required Brits to become adept at using both their mobile data plan and their home WiFi connection to be able to use mobile devices in all the rooms of their homes.

Figure 1: GWS’ nationwide poll – Activities UK consumers use their mobile data for when at home

Tasks undertaken using mobile data and not WiFi% of respondents
1Social media e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter57%
2Messaging e.g. Whatsapp, iMessage, BBM52%
3Internet shopping e.g. looking for deals, making travel plans, etc46%
4Playing mobile games e.g. Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Angry Birds41%
5Working from home e.g. answering emails40%

 

Open a window and let the signal in

GWS recently spent 6 weeks using advanced mobile network testing rigs to gather and analyse data from inside and outside more than 50 houses in London. The collection of ‘layer 3’ network information – which most accurately reflects consumer mobile experiences – showed that accessing/maintaining a connection to high-speed 4G/LTE networks is much harder when you’re inside your home – regardless of which network you’re on.

The following table shows how the UK networks fared when it came to 4G penetration outside and inside London homes:

% of time on 4G/LTE modes

3

EE

O2

Vodafone

Outside London properties

78%

100%

95%

95%

Inside London properties

55%

85%

91%

87%

A combination of mobile data and WiFi blackspots means that connectivity problems in homes are likely to persist until mainstream broadband providers start giving their customers higher quality routers and/or regulations governing the construction of new cell sites is relaxed.

There’s an app for that

The free GWS Speed App allows Android and iOS users to test the internet connection in their homes, be it over WiFi and/or through the data connection of their network operator. Developed using expertise gathered over 15 years of network testing, the app empowers consumers to identify any blackspots in their homes and move their WiFi router to better cover their entire home with a useable mesh of connectivity.

Paul Carter, CEO of GWS, commented:
“Network operators are under a great deal of pressure to improve the UK’s mobile networks and eliminate signal blackspots around the country. Most major network operators offer their customers voice-over-WiFi services as a temporary solution to in-home blackspots, but as our poll shows, WiFi connectivity in British homes is often too slow or patchy for consumers to reliably access the Internet. These same WiFi issues will affect consumers hoping to use voice-over-WiFi to make calls at home.

“Today’s Brit is adept at switching between WiFi and mobile data to stay connected while they are out and about, but they shouldn’t have to use the same tricks to get online at home. We are using our phones more than ever, and we expect to be able to work, play and shop on our phones while we are at home. How that connection is ultimately made is not important to the average consumer – as long as it’s made.”

Methodology and notes to editors

GWS’ nationwide poll of 2,000 mobile-phone wielding UK adults was conducted by OnePoll. Fieldwork took place from 24.2.15 to 26.2.15. OnePoll are members of ESOMAR and employ members of the MRS.

GWS tested inside and outside more than 50 homes in London from 8.4.15 to 15.5.15 using an array of 12 Samsung Galaxy S5s (powered by Rohde & Schwarz’s SwissQual QualiPoc Freerider) to gather data for its study of wireless connectivity in British homes. Four types of room were tested inside each house: a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom, and a bathroom.

Three SIMs from each of the four major UK operators (3, EE, O2 and Vodafone) were used during testing – in each case two SIMs were used for voice testing and one SIM was used for mobile data testing. An extremely wide range of voice and data metrics were analysed during the study; a specific rundown of these metrics is available on demand. The figures posted have been weighted and stat-tested.

About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.

Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. (www.gwsolutions.com) defines the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers standardized, high-quality network data and engineering analysis to its customers through a suite of benchmarking products and services, including drive, venue, and in-building testing.

Firmly rooted in a deep understanding of network engineering, GWS provides best-in-class, turnkey solutions to help customers better understand overall network performance as today’s wireless networks grow and evolve.

Founded in 1996, GWS is headquartered in Dulles, VA. At last count, GWS has driven more than 9 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit www.gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.


Media Contact:

George Chamberlain
Diffusion PR
+44 (0)207 291 0251
gws@diffusionpr.com