The Progress of 4G Mobile Internet in London


This week a boost from EE has provided Tech City in London with the world’s fastest mobile network, with 4G speeds of up to an incredible 300mbps. The 4G provider is expected to be able to rollout the boost to the rest of the city next year, a step that will undoubtedly help EE stay ahead of newer providers who are only just establishing their 4G networks.

Super Fast 4G at Tech City

With this new development in mind, it seemed a good time to look at the general progress of 4G in London over the past few months. Both O2 and Vodafone have chosen to begin their 4G rollouts in the capital, and Three will shortly be doing the same, so London should be by far the best connected part of the UK.

To get a better idea of the progress of 4G in London, we looked at the RootMetrics RootScore Report for London, which was published in October 2013. RootScore reports compare mobile network providers, looking at a number of factors including call performance, and text performance, but we’ll only really be looking mobile internet performance, as this is where 4G will have had an impact. The recent London report is based on the results of over 86,000 tests in the capital, and is compared with the April 2013 report to establish key trends.

Here are the highlights by provider:

4G from EE in London: Not surprisingly EE was found to have the fastest mobile internet performance in the capital and received the RootScore award in this category. EE had already established its 4G network by April 2013, but by October 2013 it had launched double speed 4G which has had some impact on speeds. Between April and October:

  • Average download speeds have increased from 13.6mbps to 19.3mbps
  • Average upload speeds have increased from 8.4mbps to 12.9mbps

4G from Vodafone in London: Since the April 2013 report, Vodafone has launched its own 4G network in London, which has had a significant impact on its mobile internet speeds. Although it is lagging behind EE is it generally faster than O2. Between April and October:

  • Average download speeds have increased from 4.8mbps to 9.5mbps
  • Average upload speeds have increased from 1.4mbps to 4.7mbps

4G from O2 in London: O2 has also launched its own 4G network in London since the April 2013 report was put together, meaning that its mobile internet speeds have increased. However, at the time the October report was compiled the network was still lagging behind EE and Vodafone. Between April and October:

  • Average download speeds have increased from 3.2mbps to 7.1mbps
  • Average upload speeds have increased from 1.2mbps to 3.7mbps

Just for comparison, Three’s mobile internet speeds have remained fairly static during the same period, with an average download speed of 5.4mbps and an average upload speed of 1.6mbps. However, they are yet to launch their 4G network in London, which should increase the speeds considerably.

To replicate typical customer mobile use, RootMetrics tests a variety of functions including the upload and download speed of files, the download speed of e-mails, and the upload speed of webpages and apps. If the speeds mentioned above don’t mean much to you, here is an example of the difference:

Posting an image to Facebook using a 4G handset in London would currently take approximately:

  • 1 second with EE
  • 15 seconds with Vodafone
  • 15 Seconds with O2
  • 45 seconds with Three

Currently EE is clearly the fastest 4G provider in London, and with the new boost at Tech City it seems they are intent on increasing speeds even further. However, it’s early days for the other 4G providers, so it will be interesting to see how these stats change over the coming months.