More than half of the properties in the UK are located in an area with outdoor 5G coverage from at least one network operator according to the latest statistics from communications regulator Ofcom.
The first ever 5G coverage data compiled for Ofcom’s annual Connected Nations Report also revealed that take-up of 5G-enabled devices has increased significantly over the past 12 months, from just 800,000 at the end of 2020 to more than six million in 2021.
Mobile data consumption has increased by 37% in the last year according to the report with 5G mobile data traffic accounting for 3% with 4G still encompassing 91% of usage.
During 2021, all four major network operators (EE, Three UK, Vodafone and VirginMedia02) announced new locations with 5G coverage and BT-owned EE pledged to “connect the entire UK to 5G with a unified mobile, Wi-Fi and fibre infrastructure” within the next seven years.
The Ofcom report also claimed that the roll-out of full-fibre technology is “accelerating at its fastest ever rate”. According to the report, more than 8 million homes (28% of the UK) now have access to full-fibre broadband, representing an increase of 3 million properties on 2020. However, take-up rates on the technology remain only at 24% according to Ofcom.
Full fibre technology better supports what the report described as an increasing number of “data-hungry households” with average household monthly data usage having risen to 453 GB per connection in 2021, more than treble the level of five years ago (132 GB).
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s network and communications group director, said: “Many families now have multiple devices on the go at the same time for work, learning and entertainment – and the festive holidays can see a particular battle for bandwidth.
“Full fibre is helping meet those demands, with millions more benefitting from faster speeds and more reliable connections. But some homes in hard-to-reach areas still struggle to get decent broadband, so there’s more work to do to make sure these communities get the connections they need.”