London 4G Speeds Double Thanks To O2 And Vodafone, But EE Still Fastest

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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London 4G speeds are improving, but divide between urban and rural mobile coverage is widening

O2 and Vodafone have been able to double the speeds offered by their 4G services since they launched two months ago, but still trail EE, which continues to make the most of its head start by remaining the fastest network in London, according to independent tests by RootMetrics.

The research firm has pointed out the increasing inequalities in coverage between London and areas outside the city, as operators continue to roll out LTE across the country.

According to the tests, Vodafone 4G now boasts average download speeds of 9.5Mbps and upload speeds of 4.7Mbps in the capital, ahead of O2’s 7.1Mbps and 3.7Mbps. However this is still slower than EE, which recently switched on double speeds in London and is capable of average download speeds of 19.3Mbps and upload speeds of 12.9Mbps.

London 4G speeds

TCity of London (c) QQ7, Shutterstock 2013his means EE service is faster than the average fixed line broadband speed in London, which Ofcom says is currently 12Mbps.

EE also recorded the fastest individual speed on any test, achieving 90.5Mbps at Eastern Avenue in Ilford, significantly faster than Vodafone’s record of 69.3Mbps in Ashford, Surrey and the 64.3Mbps scored by O2 just off Piccadilly Circus.

Three is the only major operator not to have launched an LTE service, but will start offering 4G to customers in December. It continues to offer average speeds of 5.4Mbps and 1.6Mbps in the capital and although it trails its rivals in terms of speed and email download times, it is tied with EE with regards to app and web speed performance.

Digital divide

Despite some progress, there is a growing divide between London and the surrounding areas, with mobile users in St Albans, Basildon and Maidstone suffering from up to two times slower download and upload speeds.

Vodafone 4G was available 73.4 percent of the time in London compared to just 18.7 percent outside, and O2 4G was available outside the city on just 5.4 percent of occasions, compared to 48.2 percent inside. EE fared a bit better, with 4G available to Londoners 84.6 percent of the time and 64 percent of the time in the towns and villages outside the city.

RootMetrics says Vodafone’s reliability issues conspired against its London ranking, with the operator finishing joint third with Three for mobile Internet. The recently launched O2 4G is rated as second best, with EE named the best mobile Internet operator in the city, with a total score of 99.8.

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