UK mobile users only able to connect to 4G half of the time

The consumer champion, Which?, and independent mobile coverage experts OpenSignal, have found that mobile customers in the UK were only able to access 4G just 53% of the time on average across the four networks.

​The latest data from the OpenSignal ‘State of Mobile Networks: UK’ report, produced in association with Which?,​ ​found that on average EE customers have the best 4G coverage with customers able to access a 4G signal 60.6% of the time.

The report, which is accompanied by a live interactive map service on the best and worst areas for 2G, 3G and 4G signal in the UK, ranked Vodafone second with their customers able to connect to a 4G signal 57% of the time. O2 came third and Three last with their customers able to access 4G signal 56% and 39.8% of the time respectively.

The report’s findings are based on data collected from over 30,000 registered users of OpenSignal’s mobile app which takes a background reading every 15 minutes to calculate the proportion of time users can access 4G.

When looking at 4G download speeds, Three fared much better offering an average speed of 18.7Mbps, which is up significantly on last year when their average speed measured 12Mbps. EE again performs well this year with their 4G speed clocking an average 17.8Mbps. O2 was third for 4G at 12.1Mbps and Vodafone the slowest at 11.8Mbps.

With mobile users only able to access 4G just 53% of the time, UK consumers are left relying on a slower download speed with 3G. This is compared to 39 countries around the world where mobile users can access 4G 60% of the time or more. Ofcom’s recent review of the digital telecoms sector set a target of 98% of homes in the UK able to access 4G by the end of 2017.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director said:

“Almost everyone now uses a mobile phone service and it’s not good enough that the UK is lagging behind so many countries with our 4G network coverage. Increasing 4G access s​hould be a priority for mobile providers and Ofcom must continue to push them to make this a reality.”

OpenSignal, CEO Brendan Gill, added:

“While it’s clear the UK is making progress in building out powerful 4G networks, it’s obvious there is still some work to do to extend coverage further. We encourage everyone to help us track the U.K. mobile market by downloading our Android or iPhone app and contributing to our coverage maps and speed data.”

Which? has free consumer rights advice on what you can do if you receive poor mobile phone signal.

Notes to Editors

  1. To access OpenSignals interactive coverage map, visit
  2. The full findings of this report  can be accessed by visiting:
    [Before embargo lifts, report can be accessed via username: opensignal / password: opensignalpreview]
  3. 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, OpenSignal take their measurements from millions of smartphones owned by normal people who have downloaded the OpenSignal app. Computer predicted maps often don’t take in to account physical factors such as trees or buildings.
    Those measurements are taken wherever users happen to be, whether indoors or out, in a city or in the countryside, representing performance the way users experience it. For more information on how they collect and analyze their data, visit their methodology page
    For this particular report, 60,436,228 datapoints were collected from 31,525 users during the period: Nov 1st 2015 – Jan 31st 2016.  All data has been collected from users of the OpenSignal mobile app for Android or iOS.
  4. For press information on OpenSignal please contact:Jasmin Schawalder, or tel: +44 790427 15 88
  5. On 4G vs 3G download speeds, Ofcom say ‘4G services provided faster download speeds than 3G services consistently and across all networks. Across all five cities and all operators, the average download speed when using a 4G network was 17Mbit/s compared to 6Mbit/s when using 3G technology.’ Visit

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