London Has Slower, But More Reliable, 4G Than Rest Of The UK

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Opensignal research shows disparities between London and the rest of the UK in terms of network performance

EE has the fastest, most reliable 4G network in the UK but there are stark differences between London and other parts of the UK in terms of speed and availability.

Crowdsourced mobile testers OpenSignal and Which took 500 million samples across all four mobile networks and ranked each in terms of performance and across 12 regions and constituent countries of the UK.

Given the number of investments made in by EE, O2, Three and Vodafone in the capital, it’s unsurprising to learn EE has the best availability of any region, with a 91.7 percent network availability and 69.7 percent for 4G.

Regional network split

london black cabThis compares with Wales, which was the worst. A 3G or 4G signal was available just 70.8 percent of the time an LTE connection only 35.4 percent. Scotland and the South West also had less than 80 percent reliability.

However, when it came to speed, London had the slowest average speed of 18.8. The other eleven regions averaged 20Mbps and Northern Ireland the fastest on 23.3Mbps. When 3G is included, London has 12.9Mbps which is relatively more respectable, but OpenSignal said the figures showed that London’s relatively high use of LTE meant the infrastructure there suffered from congestion.

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“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,” said Brendan Gill, CEO of OpenSignal. 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.”

“This latest research confirms that the rest of the UK is lagging behind London when it comes to accessing 4G signal,” added Alex Neill, Which managing director of home and legal. “It’s clear mobile providers must do much more to improve their networks if they are to provide greater access to their customers.”


In terms of speed, EE had the fastest 4G speed with 27.98Mbps, faster than Three’s 24.46Mbps, Vodafone’s 17.97Mbps and O2’s 16.9Mbps. Three had the fastest 3G speeds with 6.1Mbps, ahead of EE on 5.5Mbps, Vodafone on 4.8Mbps and O2 on 4.1Mbps.

EE was able to offer a connection 64 percent of the time, while O2 and Vodafone scored 60 percent and Three 43.7 percent.

A separate study by RootMetrics, which conducts its own tests, found EE to be the best operator in the UK.

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