The UK ranked worse than most European countries in maintaining 4G speeds, showing the need for a 5G capacity boost
The UK is one of only a handful of European countries in which 4G mobile data speeds drop below 20 Mbps during peak times, a new study has found.
Overall, the study from analyst firm OpenSignal ranked the UK’s 4G networks 35th out of 77 countries, with speeds ranging from 34.9 Mbps to 19.7 Mbps.
OpenSignal argued that next-generation 5G networks could be instrumental in easing the network congestion caused by ever-increasing data usage.
The study is based on measurements from more than 94 million devices taken from January to December of last year.
In the worst-ranked countries 4G speeds varied by up to 31.2 Mbps, while in the top-ranked speed only dropped by 5.8 Mbps.
OpenSignal found that in most European countries speeds remained above 20 Mbps even at peak times, with the UK being one of seven exceptions.
As in the UK, speeds in Italy and the Ukraine dropped only slightly below 20 Mbps, to 19 Mbps and 18.8 Mpbs respectively.
In Belarus, Ireland, Poland and the Russian Federation, however, speeds dropped significantly lower.
The Czech Republic had a difference of only 20 percent between peak hours and low-usage times, giving it the highest consistency of any country measured.
In most European countries peak times were from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., with the UK and the Netherlands proving notable exceptions to this rule, with the UK peaking at 5 p.m. and the Netherlands one hour earlier.
London had the second-highest fluctuations of any European city, with speeds ranging from 17.5 Mbps to 38.2 Mbps, following after Paris.
Countries such as South Korea and Singapore, which were both in the top 10 for 4G speed, still showed notable speed drops in peak times, with South Korea, for instance, dropping by 13 Mbps in peak times.
Also in the top 10 for speed were Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Denmark.
Algeria had the slowest 4G speeds, ranging from 2.6 Mbps to 16.4 Mbps, and India, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia rounded out the bottom five.
Auctions for 5G spectrum are set to begin early this year.