Scotland lagging behind London and UK regions for mobile 4G access

The consumer champion Which? and independent mobile coverage experts OpenSignal have found that Scotland is lagging behind London and other regions in the UK for access to a 4G signal.

 New data from the OpenSignal ‘State of Mobile Networks: UK’ report, produced in association with Which?, found that mobile users in Scotland can access 4G signal 50.4% of the time, which places it eighth out of 12 UK regions reviewed. This is in comparison to London, which topped the table, with mobile users there able to access 4G signal 69.7% of the time.

For 4G download speeds, Scotland also sits eighth in the table with average speeds of 21.1Mbps. In Northern Ireland, the best performing region, the average download speed is 23.3Mbps.

Although a reserved matter, the Scottish Government published a Mobile Action Plan in June 2016 with a 90% 4G geographic coverage agreement.

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 Scotland. EE (55.06%), O2 (54.68%) and Vodafone (56.19%) all provide similar connection levels to their network. Three, however, perform much worse, with their customers in Scotland only able to access 4G signal on average 33.52% of the time.

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

“This latest research confirms that Scotland is lagging behind London when it comes to getting 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

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%.

6.     OpenSignal contacts > Teresa Murphy and Kevin Fitchard


Regional data for 4G speed/availability


Average 4G availability

Average 4G Speed




Yorkshire & Humberside



North East



Northern Ireland



North West



South East



West Midlands






East Midlands



East of England



South West







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