4G mobile coverage ‘varies wildly’ across the UK, research finds

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The UK’s 4G mobile coverage “varies wildly”, according to a new report, with customers on average receiving a 4G connection just 65 per cent of the time.

Research from Which? highlighted the issue, which could cause problems for small business owners who need to access data on the go from their smartphones and tablets.

Of the 20 locations tested, Middlesbrough was the best with 83 per cent 4G coverage. The worst place for high-speed mobile coverage was Bournemouth, with just 68 per cent.

The capital, London, was only 16th in the table with 74 per cent 4G coverage on average.

The report also looked at average 4G download speeds across the UK. Stoke-on-Trent was found to be the fastest city, while Brighton was the slowest.

A previous study, published by OpenSignal in November 2016, ranked the UK 54th in the world for 4G accessibility, behind the likes of Estonia and Peru.

“The mobile data experience isn’t the same in every city for UK consumers,” said Brendan Gill, CEO and co-founder of OpenSignal. “OpenSignal users found LTE signals more often in Middlesbrough than in Manchester and faster 4G connections in Stoke than in London.”

The varying results could put SMEs in areas with lower-quality connections at a disadvantage when it comes to mobile working and communicating on the move.

The report’s authors said the findings show mobile operators need to take greater care to ensure that all of their customers receive a better level of service.

“These latest findings underline the need for Ofcom to keep the pressure on mobile operators, so that every part of the country gets a decent service on their mobile phone,” said Alex Neill, Which?’s  managing director of home products and services.

“Our mobile phone is central to how we live our lives and that is why it is so frustrating when we can’t access emails or browse the internet on the go.”

For more from the report, see the Which? website.


Photo © Esther Vargas (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped.