Wide variation in 4G network speeds

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Published: Thursday 2nd April 2015 by The News Editor

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The UK’s 4G networks are performing “much better” than 3G but a study has highlighted significant variations between operators.

Ofcom’s test of smartphones in five towns and cities found EE delivered the fastest average 4G download speed at 18.6Mbit/s, followed by Vodafone (16.4Mbit/s), O2 (13.9Mbit/s) and Three (8.5Mbit/s).

Overall, 97% of test samples across EE, O2, Three and Vodafone provided 4G download speeds above 2Mbit/s, typically enough to support high-capacity video services.

This varied from EE delivering 4G download speeds faster than 2Mbit/s in 99.8% of test samples to Three, which achieved it in 89.9% of samples.

Three was the quickest on average for web browsing over 4G at an average of 0.63 seconds to load a web page.

Across the four networks, 83.4% of test samples provided 4G page loading speeds of under one second. However, the proportion was lower for EE at 62.9%, with nearly a third (29.9%) of EE’s web browsing test samples failing to load within 15 seconds.

Overall, 4G networks performed “much better” than 3G networks in the five areas – Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Newcastle and Poole/Bournemouth, Ofcom said.

In these areas, 4G networks delivered an average download speed of 14.7Mbit/s, compared with 5.9Mbit/s on 3G, and took 0.72 seconds to load a web page compared with 1.04 seconds on 3G.

Across the four networks, 83.4% of test samples provided 4G page loading speeds of under one second.

Ofcom’s consumer and content group director Claudio Pollack said: “People are increasingly connected, communicating and sharing content on their mobiles when out and about.

“4G is delivering a significantly enhanced mobile experience and, as these services roll out across the UK, our research will support consumers when choosing the right mobile package for their needs.”

Published: Thursday 2nd April 2015 by The News Editor

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