BroadbandNetworks

UK 4G Availability Improves Significantly As Network Investments Pay Off

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EE still out in front in OpenSignal & Which? 4G report, but all four improve

It’s much easier to get a 4G signal than it was six months ago, according to the latest figures from crowdsourced coverage checker OpenSignal and Which?, which says all four operators are benefiting from network improvements.

It should come as no surprise that EE was found to have the fastest speeds and best availability however. EE was the first 4G service to go live in the UK and has the widest coverage and most advanced network of any operator ever since.

However the other three operators are making significant investments in infrastructure.

O2 4G

UK 4G coverage

“Our results in this report clearly show most UK operators are starting to take the availability part of the LTE network equation seriously,” said its report. “In our last State of LTE report published in November, we measured the average 4G availability for UK smartphone users at 58 percent. Three of the UK’s four major operators are now well beyond that benchmark.

“There are still plenty of countries that offer much more consistent access to LTE signals than the UK, but UK operators are making big improvements in a relatively short amount of time.”

EE was the first to achieve 70 percent 4G availability in OpenSignal’s reports, which are based on 535 million tests from more than 30,000 smartphones.

It was able to offer an LTE signal 72 percent of the time, ahead of O2 on 69 percent, Vodafone on 68 percent and Three on 50 percent.

EE average 4G speed was 32.8Mbps, ahead of Three on 23Mbps, Vodafone on 18.2 Mbps and 15.4Mbps. When 3G connections were factored in, average speeds were 23.6Mbps on EE, 13.4Mbps on Three, 13.3Mbps on Vodafone and 11.5Mbps on O2.

EE also led the way on 4G latency but tied with Vodafone on 3G latency. OpenSignal said O2 and Vodafone were improving but Three still suffered from poor 4G availability which was offset by strong speeds on its 3G service.

Quiz: What do you know about 4G?