Global: Most consumers don’t think mobile data speeds have improved in the past five years
February 2nd, 2022, Janice Fernandes

Global: Most consumers don’t think mobile data speeds have improved in the past five years

Mobile networks and carriers across the world continue to invest heavily in infrastructure as they compete on the stability of their services. But have customers noticed a different in the speed of their networks? With data from a recent YouGov survey, here’s our analysis on what consumers across 18 markets say about it.

People were asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement: ‘I don’t feel that mobile data speeds have improved that much in the past five years’. Globally, nearly two in five agree with the statement (39%), 26% disagree and another quarter are on the fence (25%).

Among all markets, Australians make up the highest proportion of consumers in agreement (51%). A plurality of Urban Indians (49%) and Germans (49%) also say that they don’t think mobile data speeds have improved.

While the share of consumers in agreement is higher than those who disagree, in most markets, there’s still a notable proportion who disagree – those who have noticed increases in speed. Spain and Italy are the only two places where more consumers disagree than agree – suggesting that carriers here have done enough to impress their customers t (38% vs. 36% Spain and 36% vs. 32% Italy).

On the other hand, even though most consumers in India think that there’s been no improvement in the past five years, at least a third say they disagree with the notion that speeds haven’t improved (30%).

Fewer than two in ten Polish consumers feel that mobile data speeds have improved in the past five years and about the same proportion ‘don't know’ (16% each).

A similar share of consumers from both Great Britain and the US agree that speeds haven’t improved (39% and 38% respectively). However, fewer Brits are on the fence compared to Americans (20% vs. 25%) and the opposite is true for those that disagree (27% and 24% respectively).

Overall, at least two in ten consumers are on the fence as they neither agree nor disagree about the improvement of mobile data speeds – for something which is objectively hard for consumers to measure, this makes sense. This uncertainty is higher among consumers in Hong Kong (33%), Indonesia (32%), China (31%) and Poland (31%) as nearly a third have picked the ‘neither agree nor disagree’ option.

Further analysis reveals that those aged between 25-34 and 35-44 years are more likely to agree with the statement (41% each) than the youngest age group of 18-24-year-olds (37%) and even the older groups of 45-44-year-olds (39%) and those 55+ (39%).

With the rollout of 5G gathering pace in many markets, consumers will hopefully start to see the difference in speeds for downloading music and video, for example. However, it's clear that carriers around the globe need to do a better job of clearly articulating consumer benefits of 5G beyond speed to drive adoption, as our whitepaper last year revealed.

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 511 and 2,172 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in December 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.