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Finding a 4G mobile signal in the UK 'a lot easier' than six months ago

Friday, April 21st 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

It’s much easier to get a 4G signal in the UK than it was six months ago, a new report has claimed.

OpenSignal, which collects its data from smartphone users who’ve downloaded its app, said all four national operators have seen “substantial bumps” in availability.

The company’s latest State of Mobile Networks report took data from 30,000 app users between 1 December 2016 and 28 February 2017.

It found that people on the EE, O2 and Vodafone networks had 4G available to them around two-thirds of the time. Three customers can get a 4G connection around half the time.

The report also found EE to have the fastest download speeds over 4G at 32Mbps compared to 23Mbps for Three, 18Mbps for Vodafone and 15Mbps for O2.

EE also had the lowest latency on both 4G and 3G, while Three customers recorded the fastest average speeds on 3G.

OpenSignal said its users found 4G – or LTE – signals “more often and in more places” than in previous tests.

“For the longest time the UK has provided decent 4G speeds, but limited LTE accessibility. Our latest results show that times are changing.

“Finding an LTE signal in the UK is a lot easier than it was six months ago. In our latest round of testing, we saw sizable increases in 4G availability from all four operators.”

Earlier this month, a report by mobile testing firm RootMetrics found EE to have the best 4G coverage in almost all of the UK’s major cities.

Its research showed EE to have the most coverage in 13 of the UK’s 16 largest metro areas and a similar rate to O2 and Vodafone in another.

RootMetrics said EE’s 4G coverage was above 90% in 11 metro areas, while O2 and Vodafone’s coverage rates were above 90% in three places.

In December, the National Infrastructure Commission ranked the UK 54th in the world for 4G coverage and said the average user could get a signal “barely half the time”.

The watchdog’s chairman, Lord Adonis, said: “Our roads and railways can feel like digital deserts and even our city centres are plagued by not spots where connectivity is impossible.

“That isn’t just frustrating, it is increasingly holding British business back as more and more of our economy requires a connected workforce.”

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