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EE 5G mobile usage increases by 40% over last quarter of 2020

Surge in use of next-generation networks for BT-owned mobile service over the festive period with video, especially news, causing spikes

In its latest Mobile network index report, EE claims that as it rolls out the 5G network to more places, it is clear that customers are starting to use it more and are making the most of its faster speeds and increased reliability.

The bottom-line findings of the study reveal that usage on EE’s network has shown an increased appetite for the latest mobile technology, with 5G traffic growing more than 40% month-on-month between October and December 2020, and more than doubling across the three months.

YouTube, Facebook, Netflix and Instagram retained the top spots as the most popular apps and services on the 5G network, and month-on-month have seen traffic grow by at least 30%. Perhaps not surprisingly, three of EE’s 5G launch cities – London, Birmingham and Manchester – are the top three for 5G usage on EE’s mobile network in the UK. In Scotland, Glasgow topped the list for 5G usage, and in Wales it was Cardiff.

With large groups unable to gather over the festive period in many parts of the UK, people took to technology to connect with family and friends in a way they did in their working lives. On Christmas Day, there was an uplift in Zoom users on EE’s mobile network before and after 2pm.

Despite fans not being allowed into stadiums, football kept sports fans entertained over Christmas, and the 2-2 draw between Leicester and Manchester United at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day drove the biggest uplift in BT Sport traffic on EE’s mobile network over the festive period.

In other key leisure activities, the evening of 28 December was the most popular time for gaming services on EE’s mobile network. Twitch saw its peak number of users at 7pm, followed by a peak for both PlayStation and Steam two hours later at 9pm.

The survey found that 4 January marked the return to work for many people. EE noted that as inboxes were reopened, Microsoft Outlook traffic on EE’s mobile network was at its highest at 9am that morning – with peak traffic increasing four-fold compared to the same time the week before. Skype traffic on EE’s mobile network also saw a surge after the festive break, with the peak arriving at 11am on 5 January as routines restarted.

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The beginning of January bought news from the government on heightened Covid restrictions and school closures in England. When Boris Johnson appeared on the BBC at 8pm on 4 January, BBC video traffic on EE’s network doubled from the hour before, and the same time a day earlier.

“With more 5G devices arriving on the market and the network available in 125 towns and cities across the UK, it is interesting to see inhabitants of London, Birmingham and Manchester emerging as the most popular users of 5G on our mobile network, with video streaming remaining as popular as ever,” said Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division.

“With the heightened restrictions over the festive period and New Year’s Eve for many of us, we saw some notable changes in the ways our customers are using our mobile network. The role of providing a brilliant and high-performing network continues to grow in importance, and I am pleased that the EE network is able to play its role in helping deliver a great experience for our customers.”

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