Mobile network Three UK has just published its Mobile Britain Report for 2022 (Full Report) and it highlights the impact and roll out of 5G, but also the changing habits of the UK’s mobile users. The key findings are discussed below:

Football drives monthly data peaks

It’s official, Brits are football crazy! Despite the return of major sporting events after the pandemic, such as, the Olympics, US Open, The Ashes and Grand National, football is the big driver of mobile data usage. In the last two years 81% of monthly data peaks were linked to football matches. In December 2021 the Manchester United vs Arsenal game, that saw United comeback to win 3-2, generated the highest monthly data peak of 2021, with a massive 937 Gbps. The Euros al so saw big uplifts in monthly data during June and July of 2021, but curiously, this trend did not emerge for other sports.

Sunday Evening Binging

According to Three’s findings, a third of people say they are more likely to watch TV or film on a Sunday than 5 years ago, with 50% of Brits now streaming boxsets or movies rather than watching TV live or DVDs. Sunday streaming is responsible for an increasing percentage of weekly data peaks compared to other days of the week, accounting for almost a quarter of data peaks in 2021. Data traffic carried during the busiest hour on a Sunday is now the same as the total traffic in an average week in 2015 and a whole month in 2012. This coincides with an increase in mobile broadband usage in 2021, in which monthly data usage grew by 54%.

The return of phone calls

The pandemic has brought about a focus on voice phone calls as 53% of Brits say they realise the importance of speaking to loved ones. During 2020 the average call length was 16% longer in length and this trend is set to continue in 2022. According to Three’s report, 39% of Brits now prefer calling to texting and 30% are making more calls than pre lockdown.

The 5G Future

As data usage expands 5G will be crucial to supporting the future of connectivity. According to Three’s report, 5G will account for 35% of data usage by the end of 2022 and now has exceeded that carried by 3G. Usage has increased by 385% from 2020 to 2021 with the number of 5G devices connecting to its network growing by 299% to 2.2M in the same timeframe.

Three’s Network

Three says to keep up with the demand for data it is investing £2bn+ in its network to increase 4G speeds by 150% and to continue the rollout of 5G, which currently serves 370 locations with 2700 live sites.