The news comes as the results of research conducted into
consumers’ experience of mobile broadband in the UK since the 4G
auction in 2013. It looked at the performance of 4G and 3G services
provided by the four main UK operators — EE, Vodafone, Three and
O2 — in the cities of London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh
EE and O2 were found to offer the fastest 4G with download
speeds of 18.4Mbps and 15.6Mbps respectively, followed by Vodafone
at around 14.3 mbps and finally Three at 10.7Mbps.
Upload speeds too have improved massively with the introduction
of 4G. They are now more than seven times faster than they were on
3G, jumping from an average of 1.6Mbps to an average of 12.4Mbps.
Again EE and O2 had the fastest upload speeds and were followed by
Vodafone and then Three.
The results sound impressive, but not everyone is impressed or
convinced by the research. Paul Carter, CEO of engineering company
GWS called it “the network benchmarking equivalent of a beauty
“Ofcom’s spent a lot of time and money proving that 4G offers
faster throughputs than 3G. Most of us could have told them that
for nothing. Consumers who only use their devices while standing
stock still in select city centre locations might experience
average download speeds of 15.1Mbit/s on 4G — unfortunately this
rules out every real person with a mobile. This report doesn’t tell
us anything about network reliability, coverage, connectivity on
the move,” he said in a comment.
Telecoms expert Ernest Doku from uSwitch also questioned the
validity of the report, pointing out that “with the chosen test
locations in key urban centres, it’s not a real representation of
the UK as a whole”.
“The true picture for those based outside of major towns and
cities — where it is often needed most — is still uncertain.”
Data caps in the majority of mobile broadband plans are also
restricting users from really making the most of 4G, he added.
He praised the mobile operators that have pledged to match O2’s
4G coverage obligation, which stipulates its 4G must cover 98
percent of the country — and that’s indoors. He also said that it
wasn’t surprising that given EE’s headstart that it was so far of
the other networks in providing the most widespread coverage at the