Researchers Say EE 4G Covers Just 40 Percent of Manchester

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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Tests show that just 40 percent of Manchester has EE 4G coverage

Less than half of Manchester has access to the new EE 4G network, research from mobile coverage firm RootMetrics shown to the BBC has revealed.

Manchester is one of the ten cities currently served by the new superfast LTE service, but only 40.2 percent of test locations had 4G coverage, while there was none whatsoever outside the city centre.

Researchers used off-the-shelf Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones to carry out coverage and speed tests across the city and found that in areas that had access to 4G, users could receive average speeds of 17Mbps. In areas where there was no 4G, this dropped to 7.6Mbps, although this was more than double that of the next fastest operator, Vodafone, which offers 3.1Mbps.

EE 4G Manchester coverage questioned

Around 31 percent of tests achieved speeds of more than 10Mbps, 9 percent achieved speeds of between 3 and 6Mbps, while 23 percent recorded speeds of 1.5 to 3Mbps. This left 19 percent with speeds of 1.5Mbps.

However, the tests also found that 4G provided much faster speeds indoors than what was previously possible with 3G networks. Researchers found that 93 percent of indoor tests were successful, compared to 96 percent of outdoor tests. Average speeds of 9.7Mbps were recorded indoors, higher than the average of 8.3Mbps outdoors.

RootMetrics CEO Bill Moore told the BBC that patchy coverage may frustrate users, but mirrored the rollout of 4G in the US, where deployments had typically launched with 30-60 percent coverage. The firm plans to carry out more tests in other cities with EE 4G coverage.

These are London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Glasgow, with another six due to come online before Christmas. EE has plans to expand coverage even further in 2013, with CEO Olaf Swantee claimingLondon was the “widest covered capital already” and that it wanted to replicate coverage in the capital across the country.

EE was referred to Trading Standards following claims that an advert displayed in a Plymouth EE retail store was misleading. The advert stated that ‘4G is here’ despite Plymouth not being covered by the 4G network. The advert has since been removed, but EE has said that it will continue to advertise nationally to help build its brand.

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