Rest of UK lagging behind London for mobile 4G access

The consumer champion Which? and independent mobile coverage experts OpenSignal have found the rest of the UK is lagging behind London for access to 4G signal.

​New data from the OpenSignal ‘State of Mobile Networks: UK’ report, produced in association with Which?, found that while mobile users in London can access 4G signal 69.7% of the time, in Wales, the worst region for accessibility in the UK, users could only connect 35.4% of the time.

The second best area in the UK for 4G access is Yorkshire & Humberside with people in the area able to connect 61.3% of the time.

While London is the best area for connecting to 4G, it suffers from the lowest average for 4G download speeds of all of the 12 UK regions reviewed in the report. The average download speed in the capital is 18.8Mbps compared to Northern Ireland, which tops the list with 23.3Mbps. The North East is the second worst area in the UK for 4G download speeds with an average of 20.1Mbps.

The report’s findings are taken from 500 million tests conducted through an OpenSignal app by more than 28,000 smartphone users.

OpenSignal also reviewed the performance of the four major mobile providers in the UK (Three, EE, O2 and Vodafone) and found EE leading the field for both 4G speed and accessibility. Three came last with users only able to access 4G on average 44% of the time. For a full breakdown of the results, visit the Which? website.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home & Legal, said:

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

Brendan Gill, CEO and co-founder of OpenSignal, said:

“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. 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.”

Notes to Editors

  1. OpenSignal partnered with Which? to examine 3G and 4G mobile performance in the UK and drew on 500 million tests conducted by more than 28,000 smartphone users and reviewed the performance of the four major mobile providers in the UK (3, EE, O2 and Vodafone) between Jun 1st and Aug 31st 2016
  2. The full findings of this report  can be accessed by visiting:
  3. Which? has done a comprehensive breakdown of the report, which include analysis of all 12 regions. This can be accessed on the Which? website HERE (Not live until 00:01 Wednesday 05 October 2016)
  4. Methodology: OpenSignal data is collected from regular consumer smartphones and recorded under conditions of normal usage. As opposed to drive-test data, which simulates the typical user experience by using the same devices to measure network performance in a small number of locations, we take our measurements from millions of smartphones owned by normal people who have downloaded the OpenSignal app. For this particular report, 503,997,687 datapoints were collected from 28,841 users during the period: Jun 1st – Aug 31st 2016. All data has been collected from users of the OpenSignal mobile app for Android or iOS. For more information on how OpenSignal analyse their data
  5. UK vs global 4G – It is standard for most developed countries to have 70% or better 4G availability and, with the UK’s best region for access, London, at just under 70%, the UK is falling behind. Countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Nordic countries average around 80% accessibility with Japan and South Korea above 90%.


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