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Wireless

Dutch 4G users increase five-fold in past year

Monday 13 April 2015 | 12:42 CET | Background

More than one in five Dutch mobile users are taking advantage of 4G networks, up from just 4 percent a year ago. This follows the expansion in coverage by operators, with KPN offering national coverage since April 2014 and Vodafone Netherlands since August last year. T-Mobile Netherlands expects to have national coverage by the end of this year, and Tele2 is targeting the first quarter of 2016 to complete its roll-out. Tele2 already has coverage in much of the Randstad and has started transferring its customers to the new network. Telecompaper tracks 4G usage since September 2013. In the first poll, 2 percent of mobile users said they were using the LTE networks, and this rose to 4 percent six months later. Following the increase in coverage in 2014, 4G users rose to 12 percent in September 2014 and 21 percent in the latest poll in February this year. 

More than one in five Dutch mobile users are taking advantage of 4G networks, up from just 4 percent a year ago. This follows the expansion in coverage by operators in the past year, with KPN offering national coverage since April 2014 and Vodafone Netherlands since August last year. T-Mobile Netherlands expects to have national coverage by the end of this year, and Tele2 is targeting the first quarter of 2016 to complete its roll-out. Tele2 already has coverage in much of the Randstad and has started transferring its customers to the new network. 

The Telecompaper Consumer Panel tracks 4G usage since September 2013. In the first poll, 2 percent of mobile users said they were using the LTE networks, and this rose to 4 percent six months later. Following the increase in coverage in 2014, 4G users rose to 12 percent in September 2014 and 21 percent in the latest poll in February this year. 

 

KPN reported more than 2 million 4G connections on its network at the end of 2014, while Vodafone said it had more than 1 million customers with 4G devices and subscriptions. T-Mobile also reported 1 million customers making daily use of its 4G network. Based on these figures and Telecompaper's quarterly mobile market monitor, the 4G penetration was 19.5 percent of all mobile users at the end of last year. 

Strong growth to continue

Telecompaper expects the strong growth in 4G users to continue in the next two years. This is driven by a more than doubling in the share of mobile users with 4G devices in the past year, from 18 percent in February 2014 to 40 percent in February 2015, as well as increased interest in 4G services.

Currently, just over half of mobile consumers with 4G devices actually make use of the LTE services. Nine percent of the Dutch said they expect to use 4G networks in the next six months, and 16 percent expect to start using 4G in the next year.

There's still a large group though that doesn't yet see the value of 4G networks, such as faster speeds. A third of the Dutch say they don't see a need for 4G and don't expect to use the services in the next two years.

Most new smartphones support 4G

Since the roll-out of 4G started in the Netherlands in 2012, the number of 4G-ready phones has increased substantially. In 2012, only 3.5 percent of phones launched on the market supported 4G, according to the GSM Helpdesk handset database. This increased to 32.5 percent in 2013 and 48.5 percent in 2014, and by this year, 60.7 percent of smartphones launched on the market support LTE.

 

The share of phones supporting 4G varies considerably across manufacturers. According to figures from GSM Helpdesk, Apple has the highest share of LTE devices in its portfolio, as all its phones launched since the start of 2014 are 4G-ready. Sony came second, with over three-quarters (76.6%) of its phones in the past year coming with 4G. HTC, Samsung and LG followed, at respectively 75, 60 and 50 percent of smartphones with LTE. Microsoft offers only 35 percent of its new devices with 4G since the start of 2014.

Fewer coverage problems

Many consumers not yet using 4G face other issues than the right kind of device, such as no 4G access from their mobile provider, not the right subscription plan or they find it too expensive. Among those with a 4G device, 14 percent said they don't use LTE services as their provider has yet to cover the area where they spend most of their time.

The number of consumers saying they don't use 4G due to lack of coverage has fallen considerably in the past year. The figure was 40 percent of those with 4G devices in September 2013, falling to 35 percent in February 2014 and just 14 percent this year. 

This research is based on data from the Telecompaper Consumer Panel. The survey was conducted every six months from September 2013 to February 2015. Panel members are aged 12-80, and results are stratified according to age, gender and education. For more information about research opportunities with the panel, please contact research@telecompaper.com. 



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