Research Outline

4G Consumer Studies


To inform proceedings related to a lawsuit by obtaining studies produced by credible institutions that provide quantitative information on consumer perceptions related to 4G technology, particularly between 2011 and 2015, but also through the present day, as appropriate. Relevant consumer insights would ideally validate the hypothesis that consumers were confused about 4G, did not understand what 4G meant and/or made purchases in an aspirational way. Additionally, findings would include (as possible) links to full research studies that can be directly quoted in court.

Early Findings

US Consumer Perceptions of 4G

  • The first hour of research indicated that relevant studies that provide quantitative information on US consumer perceptions related to 4G technology are somewhat limited.
  • Notably, the two most widely cited studies on this subject from the period between 2011 and 2015 were produced by Retrevo and Morpace, both of which are more niche brand names.
  • Within the time constraints of this initial research period, the research team was unable to locate a full version of the 2011 Retrevo study. However, several potentially relevant findings from the report (per credible media outlets) have been provided below.
    • 34% of American iPhone owners "mistakenly believe their smart phone can access the new, faster4G networks," even though the technology was not yet widely available.
    • Similarly, 24% of Blackberry users and 29% of Android-powered phone owners believed they had access to 4G networks when they did not.
  • Initial attempts at retrieving a full copy of Morepace's 2011 study were also unsuccessful, likely owing in part to the fact that Morepace has since been acquired by two separate companies. However, a subset of potentially relevant findings from the Morepace study have been provided below.
  • Meanwhile, the research team obtained the original, executive summary of Deloitte's 2014 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, United States edition (link here). However, available insights from this more credible institution appeared to be less relevant to the context of this legal case. For example, the report found that "nearly two-thirds of consumers think 4G is comparable to or better than Wi-Fi. Only 13 percent of consumers thought 4G was slower than Wi-Fi."

Global Consumer Perceptions of 4G

  • In contrast to available studies about US consumers, there appears to be a wide variety of available research related to global consumers and/or consumers outside of the US.
  • Readily identified studies include a review of 4G perceptions by consumers from the Netherlands, Rwanda, India and Malaysia.

Summary of Initial Findings

  • The research team spent the first hour of research assessing the availability of the requested information as well as providing a synthesis of initial findings.
  • Given that a geographic scope was not provided for this project, the research team included information that was relevant to both the US as well as globally. If a different geographic focus is desired for future research (e.g., China) this would need to be communicated in a follow-up comment.
  • Based on the availability of information, we recommend proceeding by allocating further research time to identify additional studies that provide quantitative information on both US and global consumer perceptions related to 4G technology.