Mobile Matters report: Ofcom explores shifts in mobile use during lockdown

Mobile Matters report: Ofcom explores shifts in mobile use during lockdown

Ofcom has published its second ‘Mobile Matters‘ report, which analyses how around 200,000 people used their Android mobile phones between January and April this year. Time spent on mobile calls rose significantly, as people turned to their phones to keep in touch with loved ones and work from home during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The report reveals marked differences in how people used their phones before and during the initial lockdown period, with the average mobile call in the initial weeks lasting around five and a half minutes – nearly two minutes more than before the social and working restrictions began.

But more generally, many people are not using their mobile for traditional calls at all. Ofcom’s data shows that more than one in five people (22%) did not make or receive a single call on their mobile network in the first 11 weeks of the year. This can in part be explained by the rise of newer communications services – whether for calls, instant messaging or group video calls.

Mobile Matters also reveals the use of mobile changing in terms of location (away from city centres to suburbs and smaller towns), and space: more mobile chats in parks and open spaces, as people sought outdoor time during the restrictions.

The mobile networks worked well, with Ofcom finding that people had a 4G network available to them over 80% of the time. When people did try to connect to 4G networks those attempts were successful 97% of the time. The report shows the continued efforts of the networks to keep the nation connected during the challenging lockdown period, as well as supporting vulnerable customers, commitments for the NHS and care homes, and maintaining speeds and service resilience for fixed customers.

You can read the full Ofcom Mobile Matters report here.