Less than two years ago, a report from the National Infrastructure Commission identified 53 countries with better 4G connections than the UK, including nations like Panama, Albania, Peru and Romania.
It was a damning blow for a rollout of the next-gen mobile internet standard which had proven slow, inconsistent and disappointing.
Today, however, things could hardly be more different. According to the latest analysis from OpenSignal, 4G availability has expanded massively with the UK’s largest network, EE, offering 4G coverage of 86.62% with O2 and Vodafone not far behind.
In terms of speed too, 4G has dramatically improved its standing, with EE’s 4G download speeds hitting an average of 29.02Mbps, as of April 2018.
Whilst improved mobile internet is good for everyone, it’s raising serious questions around the need for guest WiFi in the 4G era. With 5G just around the corner too, are the days of free WiFi coming to an end?
The answer, of course, is no. Here’s why we think free WiFi will remain relevant for decades to come:
Whilst the speed and availability of 4G networks have increased, enabling hi-resolution streaming of music and video, there’s one thing which hasn’t increased – the average amount of monthly data we enjoy.
With many contracts locked at less than 5GB of data per month, it’s simply not possible for many customers to rely exclusively on their mobile data.
Free WiFi, therefore, offers customers the chance to rest their data. For businesses, that means customers on your network and more opportunity to interact with branded, high-quality guest WiFi.
Advanced in-room hospitality features
Increasingly, the hospitality sector is turning towards advanced in-room entertainment as a differentiator in a crowded, tough marketplace.
That’s meant superior connectivity between the electronics that customers bring to hotels and the in-room entertainment options that are available. Specifically, we’ve seen significant growth with Google Chromecast enabled devices, which allow customers to ‘cast’ any media from their smart devices to in-room screens instantly.
Features like this demand WiFi to function, making guest WiFi and the hotel home experience an essential element of the hospitality experience.
Any network will slow down as more users come online, but mobile networks are especially susceptible to slow down during peak hours – as anyone who’s attempted to use their 4G signal at a sports ground will tell you.
Guest WiFi, by limiting the number of potential users to those within the structure, doesn’t suffer from the same issues. Even better, by using our cloud-based administration panel, managing the health of your network is fast and simple.
Guest WiFi is Faster than 4G
4G has made great strides in average download speed and whilst it’s made up ground compared to average ‘home’ download speeds, the fact remains that guest WiFi can be (and often is) significantly faster than 4G connections.
With an average home broadband speed of 46.2Mbpps as of May 2018, guest WiFi has the potential to be significantly faster and more usable than 4G, keeping it an essential part of the modern technological world.