5g network tower

Consumers feel 5G is ‘overhyped’ as the UK’s connectivity blackspots are revealed

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Many Britons feel that 5G is overhyped and are not yet seeing the connectivity enhancements that they anticipated, a study has found.

Research from Uswitch shows that while a third of Brits (32 per cent) now own a 5G handset, one in six mobile users (16 per cent) feel the technology is overhyped and less than half of 5G users (41 per cent) say they have experienced improvements in speed or reliability.

Despite the findings, a quarter (23 per cent) of consumers are planning to buy or upgrade to a 5G handset within the next two years.

The results, which come from an Opinium poll of 2,000 UK adults, also show that nearly one in six 5G users in rural areas (17 per cent) say they have never been able to connect to the network, although those living in cities struggle less (6 per cent).

Yorkshire has some of the UK’s worst connectivity, with less than half of people failing to get even a reliable 4G signal (48 per cent), while Glasgow is the UK’s 5G hotspot with 49 per cent of users receiving it regularly.

More than 16 million people own a 5G-enabled handset in the UK but the government has only pledged that most of the UK population will be able to receive 5G by 2027.

Creating a 5G network is typically very expensive as it requires a high infrastructure cost which is coupled with issues around land usage. Vodafone and Three are currently considering a merger to fast-track their 5G rollout.

From next year, the 3G network will begin to be phased out across the UK so the bandwidth it uses can be freed up for 4G and 5G services.

Vodafone has announced it will turn off its 3G network in 2023, followed by EE and Three in 2024, while O2 has yet to announce its switch-off plans. Both 2G and 3G mobile networks are expected to be completely phased out of use across the UK by 2033.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, said: “After the promise of 5G delivering ultrafast speeds to our mobiles, it’s no wonder that many consumers still don’t understand what the fuss is about when compared to their everyday experiences.

“But it’s important to remember 5G was first trialled in the UK just three years ago, so this technology is really still in its infancy. We’re still only scratching the surface of what it can do.

“When the technology reaches its potential – and more importantly is readily available to all – it won’t just change the speed of our mobile data, but how we live our lives.

“With multiple concurrent users in the home becoming commonplace due to our new hybrid normal, and the rise of plug-and-play mobile broadband as a viable alternative to fixed line services, 5G could well play a pivotal role in connecting our homes in ways we may have never imagined.”

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