Ofcom finds 4G Twice As Fast As 3G

4G speeds in the UK are more than double the speed of 3G, according to new data from Ofcom. The average speed was found to be 15.1mbps, 3G averaged 6.1mbps.

Data was collected from mobile networks in five major cities in the UK including London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Edinburgh.

London came top of the speed league table for 4G, but was actually the slowest for 3G. Load times were fairly consistent across networks, with Three coming out on top.

On average, it took 0.72 seconds to load a standard sized web page on 4G in London, compared with 1.2 seconds on 3G.

In Glasgow it took 0.82 seconds to load the same page via 4G, the slowest of the cities tested. The fastest 3G browsing speeds were found in Manchester, where the average load time was 1.01 seconds.

It emerged that Edinburgh had the fastest download speeds for both 3G and 4G, while London was slowest for both. These results may be surprising for some, and come as a clear indication that both old and new technologies are patchy and at times inconsistent. Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said however that it does make a good case for the overall performance of 4G.

“Today’s research shows 4G is providing a significantly enhanced mobile broadband experience to customers, which we expect to be available to 98% of the population by 2017 at the latest.”

Matthew Howett, Ovum analyst added the following: “I expect some consumers might have held off upgrading in the belief that the network performance wouldn’t be that much different, or because of a bad 3G experience, but this report clearly highlights the difference, so for operators this is probably a welcome piece of work,”

It has been pointed out that the survey conducted does not offer a fair reflection of speeds across the UK at large.

“Ofcom’s latest report shows that 4G speeds are undoubtedly improving, but 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.” said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.

The report also took into consideration the coverage offered by networks as well as raw performance.  4G coverage in the UK has expanded at very fast rate, and is currently available in 70% of UK premises.
O2 is leading the way with 98% indoor coverage, something other operators have pledged to match by 2015. This will include extended 4G coverage in areas that are currently not served by 3G.
The Procurement Group

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