Many of us have been forced to change our working habits, but has this altered our smartphone usage as well? RootMetrics has taken a look at the impact.
This is a guest post by Kevin Hasley of RootMetrics. All views expressed are his own, and not necessarily shared by Which?.
Although many of us have been in our homes for most of the time during the pandemic, the amount of time we spent using our mobiles actually increased.
Some users who live further out of urban areas at times found that mobile networks could deliver a better and more reliable experience than broadband to support remote work and learning (and perhaps even mobile gaming between meetings or classes).
In a multi-person household where everyone was accessing the home network simultaneously, we’ve heard anecdotal stories of smartphone users discovering that their high-quality mobile signal was often the best option for work and leisure.
Given that most business districts across the UK have resembled deserted towns during lockdown, what effect has the massive reduction in worker numbers had on connectivity in city centres?
Impact on city centres
Using London as an example, RootMetrics has found that speeds in the city are generally strong, and EE is the network out in front.
The continued expansion of 5G should see even better speeds in future. In the first half of 2020, EE offered the fastest speeds in the capital and also provided a winning combination of broad 5G availability and fast 5G speeds.
This points to promising results ahead for the rest of the country. While our research has shown that it’s clear the operators have prioritised their networks for optimal performance in central London, those strong 5G results could extend across the entire city and country as we move further into 2020 and into 2021.
The UK is still adapting to life in and out of lockdown, but we won’t all be returning to our places of work anytime soon.
With a large proportion of the workforce continuing to work remotely for the foreseeable future, both mobile operators are broadband providers are rethinking the importance of using 5G for the backbone of fixed wireless access (FWA), which could help deliver gigabit speeds to routers in homes and offices with 5G rather than fibre.
The future of 5G connectivity
In the meantime, 5G will likely take on increased importance for all mobile operators as deployments expand and mature.
As individuals and a society, we’re becoming increasingly data-reliant as our connected communities continue to grow.
Once we reach a point in which virtually everything is connected, and residents and visitors can enjoy more convenient and user-friendly experiences, we believe we’ll see continued reliance on the connectivity offered by 5G.
The initial performance indicated in testing shows plenty of promise and it’s exciting to see what 5G will enable in the future, whether that’s driverless cars, smart hospitals or simply a more efficient way of living.
Have you found you’re using your mobile phone more during the pandemic? Do you believe the signal in your area will be strong enough to out-perform your fixed broadband?
This was a guest post by Kevin Hasley of RootMetrics. All views expressed were his own, and not necessarily shared by Which?.