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Weak Wi-Fi at home forces 25% of Britons to use mobile data

Katharine Byrne
21 Jul 2015
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New study reveals that one in four Britons now use their mobile data allowance to get online at home due to poor home Wi-Fi coverage

One in four people in the UK are being 'forced' to use their mobile data allowance to counteract terrible home Wi-Fi coverage, a new study has revealed. 40% of Britons are now using mobile data at home out of habit, while 1 in 7 Brits have home Wi-Fi that's too slow to meet their streaming needs. 

The data comes from a new poll commissioned by mobile network analysis firm Global Wireless Solutions, who recently unveiled the extent of mobile phone blackspots in the home and on London's busiest commuter train lines. Out of 2,000 UK adults polled, 16% said that they were able to connect mobile devices to their home network, the connection speed was so slow that they typically opted to use their mobile price plan instead of waiting for videos, music and web pages to load. Meanwhile, 13% said that they never connect their mobile devices to their home network as they access the web solely through their mobile data and only use Wi-Fi for their home PC.

See, how to fix Wi-Fi problems and extend range

Social networks were the top culprit for forcing people to switch over to mobile data, with 57% of respondents listing it as their top task not undertaken on Wi-Fi. Messaging apps such as WhatsApp and iMessage came in second at 52%, while internet shopping came in third at 46% and mobile gaming fourth at 41%. The poll also revealed that bedrooms are often the worst rooms in British houses when it comes to Wi-Fi connectivity, while kitchens and living rooms came in second and third worst respectively. 

Combined with GWS' recent study on mobile phone blackspots in the home, it doesn't paint a pretty picture for the state of Britain's internet. In this study, GWS used mobile network testing rigs to analyse 4G signals both inside and outside more than 50 London homes, and found that Three and EE were the least reliable networks when it came to finding 4G signals indoors. 

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

“Today’s Brit is adept at switching between Wi-Fi 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.” 

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