The UK’s 4G connectivity still has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world – and it’s those on the south coast who are worst affected.
The results of a study by Which? and OpenSignal reveals the shocking state of 4G in the UK and the major cities hit hardest.
OpenSignal’s 2016 study ranked the UK as 54th best in the world for 4G – a pretty embarrassing statistic that shows the UK is trailing behind areas like Estonia and Peru.
The results this year’s study show that things haven’t improved much over the past year, with 4G speeds and availability varying wildly between the UK’s major cities.
Brighton is getting the slowest 4G service with a speed of 17.6 Mbps, slightly worse than Cardiff at 17.7 Mbps.
At the other end of the spectrum, Stoke-on-Trent is getting an average speed of 26.6 Mbps – the fastest in the country.
Coventry, Leicester and Liverpool also find themselves near the top of the list.
London ranks as the 16th fastest area for 4G, with a mediocre speed of 20.5 Mbps.
The study also examined the accessibility of 4G in major cities to see if any improvements have been made over the past year.
Our mobile phone is central to how we live our lives.
These latest findings underline the need for Ofcom to keep the pressure on mobile operators, so that every part of the country gets a decent service on their mobile phone.- Alex Neill: Managing Director of Home Products and Services, Which?
Is 4G getting better?
Overall, 4G coverage has increased to 65% – that’s only 7% better than in 2016.
Indoor 4G coverage in the UK is even worse at just 28% availability.
Mobile signal boosters to improve shoddy indoor 4G could be legal if the regulator has its way.
Ofcom is aiming for 98% indoor coverage by the end of 2017, so they’ve got a huge amount of work to do in order to reach that goal.
In terms of coverage, Middlesbrough ranks the highest with 83 percent availability (with a lower speed at 20.8 Mbps) and Bournemouth ranks the lowest with 68 percent availability (with a higher speed at 23.1 Mbps).
London again ranks 16th with 73.6 percent 4G availability.
These results certainly seem to indicate that speed and availability are pretty independent factors – a fast 4G connection does not make for a reliable 4G connection and vice versa.
Putting the pressure on 4G
Which? has made strong demands on Ofcom and the next Government to undertake “critical reforms” on the policies and practises governing the mobile sector with its recent “Consumer Agenda for Government”.
The results of this study again highlight the need for the UK to improve on its 4G networks both in terms of speed and accessibility.
MAIN IMAGE: By Valcker via Flickr