Third of Brits don't care about 4G – YouGov poll

EE has had its 4G network operational for over eight months now and the majority of the other big mobile phone carriers are gearing up to release their superfast data services. But a recent survey indicates that one in three mobile phone owners don't care. They don't want the new features afforded by 4G and are happy to stick with 3G.

UK polling expert YouGov has published a report on its recent survey into 4G tariffs. It polled 1,456 UK residents aged 16 and above between 5 and 17 May, including 275 people who already owned a 4G phone and 134 already using EE's 4G data service. YouGov says this represents a good cross-section of society in the country.

As well as finding that 35 per cent have no desire to step up their data plans, only 23 per cent of those polled said that they were "excited" by the prospect of using 4G services. Over half thought the services would be too expensive for them, while two thirds didn't want to have to shell out for a new handset just to use 4G.

More positive for the networks is that 80 per cent of those surveyed said they were aware of 4G. However, only 21 per cent knew what it offered. A staggering 31 per cent of those who knew of its existence said they had no idea about its benefits.

But the message will become clearer as the networks start to roll out their services, according to Russell Feldman, technology and telecoms director at YouGov. "That a lot of consumers can’t see the point of 4G presents a real challenge to operators as more of them roll out 4G to their customers," he says.

"The low levels of understanding about what 4G offers indicates that networks need to be savvy when selling it to consumers - showing not just that it exists but also what it does. Take-up is likely to be a slow burn as consumers hold off making decisions until they see it in action."