Downloading anywhere nice for your holidays?
Mobile operator Three UK has published a report that claims a shocking sociological shift: British people no longer talk about the weather on holiday – instead they are more likely whinge about the wi-fi or grumble about the gigabits. These days they’d rather there was a Net Office to consult than a Met Office to help them chose their holiday destination, because sun sea and sand been replaced by destination broadband.
The shocking revelation came from research as Three UK claimed it is investing £2bn as it builds a Big Network for UK staycations. Three has published a report ‘Appy Holidays, which claims that good connectivity is a proven boost for tourist businesses. Researcher Development Economics (DE) compiled data on behalf of Three UK that suggests a significant minority of people (24%) say they would likely spend more money when the local mobile phone reception is excellent, since this gives them access to listing information, reviews and a handy mechanism for booking and buying. Most Brits (58%) are less likely to stay in an area with poor mobile network coverage and 42% would eschew any eaterie for the same reason.
According to DE’s figures, connectivity contributes to £3.4 billion per year in new revenue for British tourist businesses – a knock-on boost to the economy of £1.97 billion in gross value added (GVA). The staycation revelation coincided with Three UK’s announced switch on of ‘superfast 5G’ in 86 new areas including rural and coastal locations across the UK like Dartmouth, Milford on Sea, Aberystwyth, Holywood and Irvine. op coastal destinations Brighton, Blackpool, Edinburgh and Bangor and already enjoy 5G connectivity.
“Good mobile coverage is vital to supporting our thriving tourism sector,” said Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston, “that’s why our £1 billion Shared Rural Network will see us work alongside the industry to end patchy phone signals in rural communities.”
In July it was reported that Three UK is currently the UK’s fastest downloading 5G network , according to the latest Speedtests run by Ookla for the first half of 2022. Vodafone won the race for fastest upload speeds, by a short gigabit after a photo finish, but the Three UK margin of victory was furlongs ahead with a Speed Score of 248.16, making it 84.37% faster than the nearest competitor for downloading.
Mobile Europe has asked for a breakdown of the figures by demographic. Some aspects of the research demand closer scrutiny. Are British holidaymakers really replacing seaside Serotonin with smartphone-induced dopamine? How does the preference for network slices over pony rides vary across the various age groups? Who wants to visit a resort full of zombies following a glowing screen? Watch this story for updates.
As Sykes Holiday Cottages gears up for what is expected to be its busiest summer on record, CEO Graham Donoghue admitted that some guests will want to switch off from outside pressures. But they will still want to be connected to browse what to do and where to eat. “Others are opting for working holidays or ‘work-cations’ so for them connectivity is paramount,” said Sykes.
Meanwhile, Three UK has provided North Devon, Torbay and Great Yarmouth as proof that some areas are benefitting from tourists using their mobiles to plan and enjoy holidays. In 2019, the last pre-pandemic year on record, Three’s report reveals that £28.4 million of visitor expenditure was ‘safeguarded’ by mobile in these places combined.