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Analysis: 5G unlikely for some of rural UK?

May 2, 2019

Analysis by Compare My Mobile, a mobile comparison and recycling website, reveals that Yorkshire and Humber lags behind the rest of the UK when it comes to 4G download speed despite it being one of the best performing regions for 4G availability.

The data shows that:
– Yorkshire and Humber as a region has an average 4G download speed of 20.28Mbps.
– In comparison, the region comes third on the leader board for how often users can access a 4G network at 86.01 per cent availability, according to the latest report by OpenSignal.
– No regions currently have 4G download speeds that meet Netflix’s recommended download speed of 25 Mbps for watching 4K content.

Averages for each region are based on the four big network providers in the UK, EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three. Although there has been some increase in 4G download speed, the improvements have been minimal. This means that even the best performing region for 4G download speeds, the North West 23.05 Mbps, is still below Netflix’s recommended speed of 25 Mbps for watching 4K content.

There has been little improvement in the availability of 4G despite Ofcom’s target set by the government to achieve 95 per cent 4G mobile coverage in the UK by the end of 2022. Currently the region closest to this target is London at 87.09 per cent leaving many rural communities struggling to get a good signal at home and work.

While the region may be performing well for 4G availability, Yorkshire and Humber is the worst area for download speeds, indicating there is a long way to go before all residents can get top-tier network access.

Rob Baillie, Mobile Expert at Compare My Mobile, said: “With plans to roll out 5G later this year, it’s unsurprising that many rural areas are growing frustrated at the lack of 4G signal in their area, let alone the promise of a faster network. Despite this, the UK does remain one of the leading countries in the world for 4G adoption. This is largely due to there being such fierce competition between the four big network providers, EE, O2, Three and Vodafone as well as heavy private investment. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure that people in rural areas have good access to 4G networks, both in terms of high download speeds and availability. Ofcom’s plans to sell new mobile airwaves in 2020, with coverage obligations attached in its bid to achieve 95 per cent 4G coverage in the UK by 2022 is promising, but it does mean that those with little or no coverage still have a while to wait until they have reliable 4G network access.”

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