61% of drivers who want an autonomous car expect to own it within ten years

30 March 2017, London, UK – Today, leading independent network benchmarking firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) has revealed the results of its in-car connectivity test and survey, providing an in-depth look at how consumers can use their mobile devices in their cars today, as well as their expectations for the increasingly connected, autonomous future of driving.

The mobile network test of the country’s motorways found that the average time spent on 4G LTE networks is still inconsistent, ranging from between 30% and 84%, depending on the road and the operator.

GWS’ survey found that connectivity is now key to consumers. Over 3 in 5 respondents that use a smartphone while in a car, are accessing internet services at least one day per week. However, in-car mobile experiences seem to be inconsistent, as 68% reported they could not always access their preferred services. Based on GWS’ performance testing on 10 major UK motorways, the mobile network benchmarking company found that:

  • The M6, which runs North through Birmingham, has the poorest LTE coverage of the major motorways tested throughout the UK on iOS and Android devices. 4G coverage ranged from 19% to 75% depending on the operator
  • Overall, the best network for highway connectivity over LTE is EE, with O2 and Vodafone in the middle and Three bringing up the rear

Where we are going, we won’t be driving

Drivers see the future of in-car connectivity to be built around their smartphones. The most desired feature consumers want to see in their car in 10 years’ time is in-car WiFi (41%) to connect tablets, phones and other smart devices. This is no doubt driven by the younger generation of motorists, the survey also found that 18-24 year olds are almost as likely to stream video (44%) as they are to use a navigation app (48%) on a long-distance car journey.

In addition, Brits expect the cars of the future to improve road safety and convenience by communicating critical information over mobile networks with other cars (31%), roadside infrastructure (28%) and the dealership (27%). Well over half (61%) of the people who want to own an autonomous car expect to have it within the next ten years.

Paul Carter, CEO at GWS commented; “Mobile networks in the UK have made great strides when it comes to nationwide 4G deployment. However, LTE coverage is variable across networks and is not yet ubiquitous on UK motorways.

“4G networks will serve as the conduit for those wireless technologies that will support the future of connected vehicles. Our survey shows that consumers still see the smartphone providing the hub for entertainment content while on the move. In terms of critical communication and autonomous driving, they anticipate that their cars will have these capabilities within a decade.

“Major automotive players are focused heavily on how universal 5G networks will support true autonomous driving. However, even after 5 years of 4G roll-out, the UK’s motorways still offer an average best of 74 – 84% coverage. To ensure 5G networks can be rolled-out more swiftly and efficiently, action must be taken by the government and local authorities now to empower network operators to build the next generation of networks cost-effectively and with minimal red-tape.”


GWS conducted this series of tests to evaluate mobile network performance across the United Kingdom. 987,000 data and voice task tests were conducted to evaluate the network performance of O2, EE, Three and Vodafone on 10 major UK motorways (M1, M3, M4, M6, M23, M25, M27, M42, M60, M62). Tests were conducted using the GWS diagnostic App running on iPhone 6s devices, and the Rohde & Schwarz SwissQual QualiPoc Freerider running on Samsung S6 devices.

About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.

Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. defines the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Its proprietary OneScore network ranking combines high-level network testing data with real world network usage scenarios to make the results of testing relatable and easy to understand. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers standardised, high-quality network data and engineering analysis through a suite of benchmarking products, services, and diagnostic apps that includes drive, venue, and in-building testing.

Firmly rooted in a deep understanding of network engineering, GWS provides best-in-class, turnkey solutions to help customers better understand overall network performance as today’s wireless networks grow and evolve. Founded in 1996, GWS is headquartered in Dulles, VA. At last count, GWS has driven 10.5 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit www.gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.

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