Broadband News

Which bits of the UK are beauty and beast for mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband is something that when it works you simply do not notice it and you get on with whatever you are doing, whether that be uploading your latest selfie to your millions of followers or responding to an important work email after spending 30 minutes using your mobile to check the information so you can respond while away from the office.

4G is the latest incarnation and we know it can do amazing speeds with some people delivering speed tests of over 200 Mbps in the download direction and 30 Mbps upload speeds, of course the latest 4G handsets with support for CAT9 are needed to see those speeds but you also need a provider that supports the speeds and also has the widespread coverage. OpenSignal who offer an app that collects data on mobile signal strength and does some testing in return for helping you find the best locations for 4G based on the crowd sourced information have published their coverage data, highlighting that coverage and speeds are vary variable across UK cities. Of course we have our own data on this and you can search on broadband availability and speeds site for how your area is performing.

The Top 10 UK Council Areas for Mobile Broadband Speeds Q1/2017
Data from thinkbroadband speed test
Area Download Speed of bottom 25%
(Mbps)
Median Download
(Mbps)
Mean Download
(Mbps)
Download Speed of top 25%
Mbps
Median Upload
(Mbps)
Mean Upload
(Mbps)
Waveney District 9.9 22.6 44.5 34.5 5.4 8.1
South Tyneside District 6.2 17.3 39.1 34 3.7 5.8
Enfield London Borough 7.7 12.8 38.6 22 3.2 6
North Tyneside District 5.3 19.9 38.4 32 3.2 8
Charnwood District 9.5 16 37.4 23.3 4.6 6
Windsor and Maidenhead 8.3 17.2 36.6 33.1 2.7 9.3
Bexley London Borough 9.1 18.6 34.5 33.9 3.8 7.5
Bassetlaw District 9.8 15.2 31.8 35.5 2.9 5.8
Erewash District 11.1 21.6 31.2 44.8 3.4 6.2
Camden London Borough 6.2 23 31 37 5.7 5.7

What is interesting to see is that the median and mean speeds are often very different, highlighting that when some people get good 4G it is really good and can thus pull the mean a lot higher. With a modern Internet where we are all content creators to some extent upload speeds are equally important and therefore we have included the mean and median figures.

The Bottom 10 UK Council Areas for Mobile Broadband Speeds Q1/2017
Data from thinkbroadband speed test
Slowest at top of table
Area Download Speed of bottom 25%
(Mbps)
Median Download
(Mbps)
Mean Download
(Mbps)
Download Speed of top 25%
Mbps
Median Upload
(Mbps)
Mean Upload
(Mbps)
Fenland District 2.8 9.1 10.2 13.3 1.5 2.1
Waltham Forest London Borough 2.7 7.5 12.7 18.7 1.5 3.2
Brent London Borough 2.8 9.2 14.1 18.3 1.4 3
Suffolk Coastal District 4.8 10.3 14.1 22.8 1.6 3.2
Harrogate District 6.5 10.8 14.1 16.7 1.5 3.8
Pendle District 4.6 8.9 14.2 21.4 1.7 3.3
West Lothian 6 11.7 14.3 23.8 2.8 2.9
Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough 5.4 9.9 14.5 25.8 3.6 5.1
City of Nottingham 4.1 12.8 14.6 17.9 1.7 3
Torbay 9.1 13.6 14.7 21.5 1.1 1.9

The fact that three London Boroughs are in the bottom 10 council areas may surprise some, but is in line with the Opensignal results that rank London as 16th out of 20 UK urban areas. The spread across different parts of London is very apparent when you just view those areas, and for a wider UK picture we have also included a copy of the metropolitan district councils.

7967-london-mobile-speeds-q1-2017-thumb.
All London Boroughs Mobile Broadband Download Speeds in Q1/2017 Click image for larger version
7967-metropolitan-areas-mobile-speeds-q1
UK Metropolitan District Council Mobile Broadband Download Speeds in Q1/2017 Click image for larger version

Ofcom is on record saying that "Ofcom rules mean that virtually all UK premises must receive a 4G signal by the end of this year. We're also making available valuable new airwaves to boost mobile broadband, and have challenged mobile operators to explore how to reach all remote areas and transport lines." so it will be interesting to see what difference there is when we look at the Q1/2018 figures in 12 months time. On the extra spectrum it needs to be highlighted that while the release of the 700 MHz is a massive boost to coverage it is a part of the spectrum that will not give the best speeds and if masts are spread too thinly issues will arise at peak times.

The problem facing Ofcom and the Government is that much money and time is being spent on the next greatest thing since sliced bread in the form of 5G, but if 5G is to hit the ground running and be a big showcase for the UK many more masts need deploying and better to start that now and offer 4G rather than wait another few years. Some cities are ahead of the game as the roll-out of 'free' Wi-Fi means that adding 5G at its highest Gigabit speeds should be a simple upgrade of existing hardware in various bits of unobtrusive street furniture.

If you have spare mobile data allowance and want to help with our mobile broadband speed plotting then you can try our mobile tester version which will request access to location information and will automatically align this to the closest postcode if the location accuracy is good. This tester is one we use when plotting speeds in areas on foot ourselves and is configured to repeat a test every 10 minutes if you are on foot and if you do not want that behaviour simply closing the web page will ensure we don't use any background data. The web app can also be added to your home screen for easy access, since the URL is not easy to type.

Comments

I use Vodafone mobile BB as it is the only way to get a usable connection where I live in rural N. Ireland. It`s pretty reliable with D/L of 30+ meg most of the time. Drawback is the usage cap of 50 Gig per month before incurring extra charges.4g could be the answer to slow rural BB.

  • pipcoo
  • 6 months ago

In Dumfries & Galloway,no 4G, only 2 out of the 4 networks give a 3G, and still no fast fixed broadband.

  • brianhe
  • 6 months ago

@ brianhe
Yes, I should`ve said that 4G is a solution in SOME rural areas depending on coverage.

  • pipcoo
  • 6 months ago

Many parts of Wester Ross are lucky to get a good 2G signal never mind 3G or 4G and FTTC is available to a very few in reality due EO lines and the distance to new cabinets which are usualy placed close to the EO exchange to shorten the fibre required so still long lengths of copper for the signal to travel along.
Some might say a lot of fake news around re. FTTC and 3/4G :P

  • 21again
  • 6 months ago

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