The consumer mobile experience

16 June 2017

This report summarises the initial results from Ofcom’s new mobile research, which is designed to measure the consumer experience of using mobile services.

It provides information on data service availability, and the performance of mobile voice and data services.

The purpose of this first report is to present a high-level picture of the consumer experience of using mobile services, and it does not include data comparing the performance of mobile network operators. We will look to extend the scope of future reports to include comparisons of consumers’ experience by mobile network operator and location.

We welcome feedback on this report at

Key findings

Data service availability

  • More than nine in ten mobile data downloads are successful for both 4G (95.6%) and 3G-only (92.4%) users.
  • Almost seven in ten users (69%) are happy with their overall service, with 4G users more satisfied than 3G-only users (71% vs 60%).
  • When using apps, 4G consumers are connected to Wi-Fi 69% of the time. When 4G users are connected to a cellular network, 65% of time is spent on a 4G network, 30% on 3G and 5% on 2G.

Data performance

  • Connection speeds when using YouTube and Chrome are faster over 4G than 3G, with Wi-Fi providing higher average speeds than both mobile technologies.
  • 4G networks are more responsive than 3G (48ms vs 64ms response time). Wi-Fi is even more responsive at 27ms.

Voice performance

  • Once initiated, less than 1% of all calls are dropped due to loss of service.
  • Nine in ten (90%) panellists say they are happy with the performance of their network when making a call.

This research is part of a wider programme of work by Ofcom to research and provide information about mobile quality of service, which also includes our Smartphone Cities research and our broadband and mobile checker app.


The consumer mobile experience: Measuring consumer experience of using mobile services (PDF, 4.4 MB)

The consumer mobile experience: Statistical methodology (PDF, 42.5 KB)

The consumer mobile experience: Technical methodology (PDF, 108.2 KB)