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October 6, 2016updated 25 Jul 2022 3:29am

London best for 4G despite slow downloads

Data is crowdsourced from smartphones

By CBR Staff Writer

London has emerged as best area among 12 regions in UK in terms of 4G connection despite suffering from lowest download speed.

A study conducted by Which? and OpenSignal used  crowd-sourced data from more than 28,000 smartphone users showed the availability of 4G mobile broadband across the UK and between different network operators.

The study was based on data collected using OpenSignal’s smartphone app between early June till August end this year. It also took note of 3G performance between the networks and split the results by different regions across UK.

According to the study, EE (BT) had the best overall 4G speeds and network coverage. This has been largely attributed to EE owning most of the radio spectrum and a year of time it had for the roll-out.

It is also partly due to Ofcom letting them use their 1800MHz band for 4G, while its competitors had waited for 800MHz and 2.6GHz band.

As per the results, the average 4G speed for download in EE stood at 28Mbps, while its average 3G download speed stood at 5.5Mbps, while 4G availability was 64.1%.

For Vodafone, the average 4G download speed was 18Mbps, with 4.8Mbps speed for 3G download speed with 60% availability.

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ThreeUK showed a 4G download speed of 24.5Mbps with 6Mbps and with 43.7% 4G network availability.

O2 stood at last with 4G download speed of 16Mbps, 3G download speed of 4.1Mbps and enjoyed 4G availability of 60%, on par with Vodafone.

In UK region, London showed a 4G availability of 69% with average 4G download speeds at 18.8Mbps.

In Yorkshire & Humberside, the availability was 61% while the download speeds were higher than London with 22.8Mbps.

The regions with least 4G coverage include Northern Ireland with 58%, Scotland with 50% and Wales with 35%. But the 4G download speeds in these regions averaged at 23.3Mbps, 21.1Mbps and 21.7Mbps respectively.

OpenSignal CEO and co-founder Brendan Gill said: “There was a lot of good revealed in our data about U.K. operators. Mobile data speeds, both 4G and overall, were consistently fast in our tests throughout the country.

“But there definitely are still some areas in which the U.K. needs to improve. Finding a 4G signal outside of London can still be a bit tricky.”

It must also be noted that in UK 4G networks are still being rolled out and it is estimated to be completed by the end of 2017, where about 98% of the population could be covered under 4G networks.

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