Light Reading
LTE's popularity in the UK is great news for the network but bad news for carrier WiFi initiatives.

EE Users Snub WiFi for LTE

Sarah Reedy
8/19/2013
100%
0%

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   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Light Reedy
After years of sitting on the sidelines, Microsoft has pledged to support WebRTC -- formerly thought of as a Skype competitor -- in Internet Explorer.
Despite the launch of its new Passport smartphone, BlackBerry needs to embrace a future that's in M2M, messaging and enterprise services.
Vodafone's Dr. Alan Law talks to Light Reading about virtualization, backhaul, SON and more after being appointed chairman of the Small Cell Forum.
Wireless operators are jumping on the mobile music bandwagon, a move that sounds good for many reasons.
The worlds of tennis, fashion and wearables collide as Ralph Lauren and OMsignal turn a polo into a sensor to track your every movement.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed