Light Reading

EE Users Snub WiFi for LTE

Sarah Reedy
8/19/2013
100%
0%
Repost This

EE 's silly name is turning out to be quite descriptive. The UK's pioneer LTE operator says its customers are starting to spurn WiFi in favor of its zippy 4G network.

In fact, 43 percent of EE subscribers are using fewer or no public WiFi hotspots since they've gotten 4G, versus 37 percent in April, the operator said Monday in its 4GEE Mobile Living Index, and 23 percent are using their home broadband less. The index contains the first stats released on the network since its launch 10 months ago. EE's LTE network now reaches 60 percent of the UK.

Video downloading, uploading, and streaming makes up 26 percent of LTE network traffic, according to the index. "In fact YouTube alone accounts for 14% of 4G traffic." EE also learned that one-fourth of Britons check social apps more than 10 times a day over LTE, but uploading traffic has overtaken downloads on the network at big events. That's not surprising, given our penchant for sharing via sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but it does speak to the need for uploads that are as fast as downloads, especially since EE foresees data volumes over social networks increasing tenfold by 2015.

The dominance of LTE use for EE subscribers could be partly explained by the fact that morning and evening commutes, where WiFi isn't readily available, are popular times for device use. But I think it also speaks to the quality of the network and the ease of using it. A quarter of EE customers use the mobile Internet three hours a day, and they are doing it via the path of least resistance -- what the phone defaults to and what works well, or at least well enough.

This is great news for EE (which doesn't have a WiFi offload strategy), given its ample spectrum holdings, but other operators banking on carrier WiFi initiatives to relieve congestion and maintain the LTE experience should take note of this.

EE's findings reinforce the importance of making WiFi offload seamless, authentication automatic, and handoff undetectable. More consumers would default to WiFi if the process were baked into the phone, and they'd be happy to do so given the data caps on tiered plans. But when the LTE network is this good, they aren't going to seek it out.

It's certainly a good thing that LTE is proving itself to be as reliable and fast as home broadband, but it could be a bad thing if it comes at the expense of carrier WiFi initiatives.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(16)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
dawright
50%
50%
dawright,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/20/2013 | 11:17:21 AM
Re: LTE tablets
np. happy to share / provide more thoughts ... email on your system i believe
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
8/20/2013 | 11:00:32 AM
Re: LTE tablets
Nice. That seems like a smart strategy (provided it's done carefully with net neutrality in mind). MetroPCS has a similar video package in the US. It markets it as a video plan rather than talking about megabytes. It's something that makes sense to consumers, promote the brand, and encourages data usage but with an optimized service.

Thanks for sharing the data breakdown too. That does seem reasonable, especially if you're able to not count most video usage.
dawright
50%
50%
dawright,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/20/2013 | 10:09:05 AM
Re: LTE tablets
Yup, its their own EE film store. Looks relatively well sourced though.

I suspect it will make a big diffrence, as will other offers out there such as VOD offering free access to Sky Sports premiership for the first 3 months on RED 4G. However I think that counts as data usage unlike the EE promo.

FYI some data consumption stats; on a basic rate, 1Gb data streams around 5.6hrs video, at HD its just 35mins. So assuming the basic VOD 2GB package, and say 25%-50% alternative usage, you would have 1-1.5GB available = around 4 basic definition games at c. 90mins, or one per week. Reasonable.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
8/20/2013 | 9:56:08 AM
Re: LTE tablets
I didn't know that about the data offer, dawright, but that's really interesting, and I'm sure a big part of why LTE is taking off. Downloading can eat up a lot of bandwidth. Is EE just allowing it for a certain site (like its own) or all movie downloads?
hbajwa
50%
50%
hbajwa,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/20/2013 | 9:00:57 AM
Cautionary Tale for Wi-Fi Offload?
What EE is saying seems quite reasonable. User experience matters a great deal to mobile users and today's public Wi-Fi networks are not properly matched to LTE, especially in terms of backhaul capacity and average user bandwidth fairness.

I wonder if this will be a wake-up call to the industry. Will they start building better public Wi-Fi networks based on higher bandwidth backhaul and newer 802.11ac APs? It seems some business models will need to change to remain competitive if that's the case.
dawright
50%
50%
dawright,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/20/2013 | 4:47:25 AM
Re: LTE tablets
Dont forget that EE has offered free film downloads until Xmas that do NOT affect your data usage ... thats likely to move major volume onto the network via rich streaming. I suspect that we might see the stats change quite a lot as this promo roles off.
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/19/2013 | 3:58:51 PM
Re: LTE tablets
The wireless phenomenon of charging per usage instead of flat fee generally leads toward looking for savings which Wi-Fi provides.

While EE generally dosent have a Wi-Fi offload at all, the value of any offload needs to be passed on to the customer or there is no incentive for them to switch. That said the need for seamless network switching is imperative, although luckily the industry is already making real progress on that front. 
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
8/19/2013 | 3:51:51 PM
Re: LTE tablets
I think anyone would start to care IF they got overages, but if not, there's no reason to exert the effort to switch to WiFi. Plus, I think we all have experience with really poor public WiFi networks. EE doesn't have an offload strategy, so we're not talking opting to use their WiFi. It would be public hotspots, which are often unreliable, overloaded, broken, or locked.
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/19/2013 | 3:21:33 PM
Re: LTE tablets
If I had to guess I would say that the high-end customers that arent price sensitive will always opt for the easier and ubiquitous network, but as you go to the more price sensitive customers they begin to think of their usage patterns and as tablets are primarily used in fixed locations they are fine with Wi-Fi only or at the very least limiting their LTE usage.
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/19/2013 | 2:46:49 PM
Re: LTE tablets
Those prices are pretty reasonable for the upper tiers...especially compared to AT&T (http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/data-plans.html#tab2) which charges for the data, the device, your first born child, the air above your head, etc. It could be a reasonable rate for those who don't pay for a TV subscription. Let's see what EE says.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
More Blogs from Light Reedy
While the operators remain quiet on 4G voice, WhatsApp is plowing full steam ahead -- with or without their involvement.
COO Kevin Hankins talks to Light Reading about the carrier's loyalty and rewards program and the opportunity in bridging the chasm between networks and IT.
The big four US operators managed to add 800,000 post-paid subscribers in the past three months, but the scales are tipping in T-Mobile's favor.
Social enterprise vendor Lithium snaps up Klout to add its social influence scoring system to its arsenal of customer experience management tools.
The CCA's biggest members, Sprint and T-Mobile, are friends with the smaller carriers, but would they turn foe if they joined forces?
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Optimizing SDN & NFV Architectures Through Application Awareness

4|23|14   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


Jerome Tollet, CTO at Qosmos, explains how network equipment vendors and operators deploying SDN and NFV can take advantage of network intelligence delivered by DPI to strengthen products and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
What's the Magic of Private Equity?
Carolyn Mathas, 4/22/2014
AT&T Turns Up Gig Heat in 21 New Metros
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/21/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed