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Millions of people will celebrate Christmas over Zoom again this year

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / AdriaVidal)

With or without Omicron, a significant portion of Brits were already planning celebrate the holidays over video conference, new research suggests.

Surveying 2,023 UK adults for the report, networking firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) found that 11% expect to use live-streaming apps to connect with their friends and family during Christmas and the New Year, as compared with 12% last year.

While keeping in touch with friends and family over digital platforms is a necessary evil for more than a third (37%), almost the same proportion (34%) say the technology helped them feel included when they were unable to participate in-person last time round. A further 28% said it helped them feel connected, which is particularly important during the holiday season.

A digital Christmas

As a result of the pandemic, the use of live-streaming and video conferencing services is on the rise, with Facebook Messenger, FaceTime and Zoom all attracting more users than before.

However, connectivity issues are hampering their experience, the report suggests, with a quarter of people encountering fuzzy or low-quality pictures, or video freezes.

Part of the problem, GWS hints, lies with the telecoms sector. Of all the users that have suitable devices (e.g. a decent mobile device, webcam and headset), a third (33%) do not have adequate speeds to watch or broadcast an HD live-stream effectively. According to the report, a mobile device would need at least 5 Mbps download speeds and 4.5 Mbps upload. 

The report singles out O2 as attracting the fewest complaints from customers in this context. Roughly half of O2 customers (51%) did not report any issues when live-streaming, and 02 customers also had fewer issues with audio and picture quality.

For those suffering from connectivity issues, 5G could roll out just in time to save the day. More than a quarter (28%) of Brits are excited about the launch of 5G, with a fifth (22%) seeing it as important for keeping in touch with their loved ones.  

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