Ofcom: 14.7 Mbps Average LTE Download Speed in UK

Average download speeds, by provider in UK, Q4 2014

Ofcom has published research into 4G and 3G mobile broadband performance. Overall, 4G networks performed much better than 3G networks in five sample towns and cities tested - Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Newcastle and Poole/Bournemouth - where both 4G and 3G networks have been rolled out.

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). EE delivered the fastest average 4G speed in the towns and cities tested, at 18.6Mbit/s. For Vodafone, average download was 16.4Mbit/s, O2 was 13.9Mbit/s and Three was 8.5Mbit/s.

Upload speeds for 4G services (13.6Mbit/s on average) were more than eight times faster than 3G (1.6Mbit/s on average). 4G networks had lower latency than 3G networks. Across Ofcom’s test sites, average latency was 53.1 milliseconds (ms) on 4G while on 3G it was 63.5ms.

The research, which collected 120,000 test samples on smartphones, also highlighted variations in performance between the UK’s network operators - EE, O2, Three and Vodafone - across four key measures:

According to report, EE delivered the fastest average 4G download speed (18.6Mbit/s). Overall, 97% of test samples across EE, O2, Three and Vodafone provided 4G download speeds above 2Mbit/s, typically sufficient to support high capacity video services.  

Three was the quickest on average for web browsing over 4G (an average of 0.63 seconds to load a web page). EE delivered the fastest average upload speed of 17.6Mbit/s.

Latency was more consistent than the other measures across the 4G networks tested (an average of 53.1 milliseconds).

EE’s 4G network now covers 81% of UK homes and businesses, up from 68% in June 2014. O2 and Vodafone have increased their 4G coverage to 66% and 65% respectively, up from 43% and 37% in June 2014. Three’s 4G coverage is reported here for the first time, reaching 53% of premises in March 2015.

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