London has the best 4G coverage in the UK, but the slowest speeds

EE wins the battle of the networks

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The Independent Tech

London has the best 4G coverage in the UK, but also the slowest speeds. That's according to a new State of Mobile Networks report from Which? and OpenSignal that has broken down the key 4G stats for the various regions in the UK.

According to the report, mobile phone users in the capital are able to access a 4G network 69.7% of the time. For phone users in Wales, that figure falls to a meagre 35.4%. The key 4G coverage stats can be found in the table below:

  1. London - 69.7%
  2. Yorkshire and Humberside - 61.3%
  3. North East - 60.3%
  4. Northern Ireland - 58.5%
  5. North West - 54.8%
  6. South East - 54.3%
  7. West Midlands - 52.3%
  8. Scotland - 50.4%
  9. East Midlands - 49.9%
  10. East of England - 48.9%
  11. South West - 45.7%
  12. Wales - 35.4%

Unfortunately for Londoners, the capital is also where you’ll find the slowest average 4G speeds in the UK, at 18.8Mbps. Northern Ireland, meanwhile, has the fastest 4G speeds, at 23.3Mbps. The key 4G speed stats can be found in the table below:

  1. Northern Ireland - 23.3Mbps
  2. Yorkshire and Humberside / East Midlands - 22.8Mbps
  3. East of England - 22.3Mbps
  4. South East - 21.9Mbps
  5. Wales - 21.7Mbps
  6. West Midlands - 21.6Mbps
  7. Scotland - 21.1Mbps
  8. South West - 20.9Mbps
  9. North West - 20.6Mbps
  10. North East - 20.1Mbps
  11. London - 18.8Mbps

The report also ranked the UK’s major mobile networks for their 4G coverage, with EE coming out on top for both coverage (64%) and download speeds (27.9Mbps). 

Its rivals trailed a long way behind, with Three scoring highly for speed (24.4Mbps), but not coverage (43.7%), and Vodafone (60%, 17.9Mbps) and O2 (59.9%, 16.1Mbps) achieving precisely the opposite feat.

"We see some interesting contrasts when it comes to mobile data in the U.K," says the report. "On the one hand, the breadth of the kingdom benefits from fast 4G speeds, more so outside of London than within. On the other hand, the availability of those LTE connections is poor compared to many other developed countries, a limitation only exacerbated when you venture outside of London."

However, all four of the UK's major operators are working to improve 4G connectivity, and Which? and OpenSignal expect to see positive changes in the near future. 

"We're highly likely to see LTE speeds increase even further in the coming year," the report concludes. "What the UK really needs, though, is a big boost in 4G availability so consumers can take advantage of those speedy connections."