Vodafone says businesses are in danger of “missing out on the digital revolution” and “falling behind their more tech-savvy competitors” if they don't adopt mobile 4G – even though Vodafone, up to now, hasn't managed to offer a comprehensive UK-wide 4G network.

Vodafone says the majority of British businesses do not currently have 4G or “an understanding of the extensive capabilities of 4G” and the “benefits it can bring to business performance”. Vodafone commissioned a survey from YouGov among more than among 1,200 senior decision makers from British businesses and the public sector, to gauge 4G adoption and their perception of 4G.

Image: Vodafone
Image: Vodafone

The Vodafone survey showed that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents said their business or organisation does not have 4G, while a “staggering” 41 percent of those have no current plans to adopt it, said Vodafone.

Phil Mottram, UK enterprise director of Vodafone UK, said: “Businesses need to be ready to take advantage of the tools and technologies that can give them the competitive edge today and in the future. Now is the time for those businesses which are yet to invest in 4G to do so, and to start benefiting from its full potential.”

But the only mobile network that can currently offer mobile users a comprehensive UK-wide 4G network across cities, many small towns and villages and a large number of rural areas is EE, which includes the T-Mobile and Orange brands. As of the beginning of this year, Vodafone had an estimated 1.4 million 4G customers, and EE has just announced it has 10 million 4G customers and can offer the technology to almost 90 percent of the population.

Despite prices “becoming more competitive” since 4G first became available [from EE and much later from Vodafone], said Vodafone, cost ranked as the largest barrier to adoption. However, the survey also “revealed another significant barrier” – a lack of understanding of what 4G technology is and the benefits it can bring to organisations big and small. The survey found that 43 percent of businesses admitted to having a poor understanding of 4G’s capabilities, and of those that do not have 4G, a third said they do not perceive any benefits for their business.

Mottram said: “With customers’ expectations on service delivery and responsiveness at an all-time high, we have committed ourselves to making 4G more accessible and affordable, with competitive pricing and continuous network investment, enabling businesses to meet their customers’ demands, whenever and wherever staff may be.

“This has been the driving force behind the extension of our 4G coverage to over 500 cities and towns across the UK.”

Survey respondents who said they had 4G cited benefits including increased speed for data transfers, faster responsiveness to customers and suppliers, ability to use all business applications when working remotely, and improved flexible working.