According to Ofcom, two-thirds of UK mobile subscriptions now allow access to 4G services. This means that there will be more pressure than ever before on the UK’s network of mobile phone masts over the Christmas period. The festive season is a time that people love to share on social media and all of those Instagram posts, tweets and Facebook status updates use data. While mobile phone networks have continued to build-out their 4G capacity over the last year, the festive season will be a testing period when their customers and the networks themselves will discover whether their investment has been sufficient.
Why Christmas places extra demand on phone networks
The Christmas season begins with a huge amount of travel across the UK. This means that millions of people are sitting on trains, buses and in the backs of cars for several hours with nothing to do. In this situation, most of us turn to our phones and in the last few years, data-intensive activities such as streaming YouTube videos have become more popular.
4G services are now available to more than 95% of the UK population but bottlenecks do occur at popular locations such as shopping centres, railway stations and airports. These places are at their busiest right before and straight-after Christmas, so it will be fascinating to see how the local transmitters cope with their highest ever demand. The network of mobile phone masts has not expanded particularly rapidly in recent years so it is debatable how this demand will be serviced.
Documenting the festive season
Once upon a time, phone networks buckled under the weight of millions of people sending texts to each other featuring good tidings for the new year. Nowadays, those same networks are expected to cope with video uploads, Snapchats and other multimedia content during one of their busiest 10 minute periods of the year. With many people attending parties where they don’t have access to a Wi-fi network, demand will be even greater and more concentrated.
2017 has seen a huge increase in the number of people with 4G connections as new phone models such as the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 have driven people to upgrade to 4G connections and start making the most of what they offer. Therefore, it will be difficult to predict how demand at New Year will impact the networks and we’ll only really know once the event has actually passed.
While we wait to see the impact of the festive season has on 4G networks, it might be worth thinking about mast lease premiums. For more information and to understand the benefits of mast lease premiums – get in touch today!