4G at London Transport Hubs

This week we’ve been looking at Rootmetrics’ recent report into the state of mobile network performance in London, Big city network performance: the London urban mobile experience. While our first post looked at the overall performance of the four major 4G network providers in London, and our latest post discovered the state of mobile performance in event venues around the capital, this post will take a closer look at how the different providers are performing at significant transport hubs.

4G coverage at the airport

4G at London train stations

The rail network is a vital part of London’s infrastructure, used by millions of commuters every day. The ability to use smartphones to check e-mail, download work related documents, stream music and video, or play games is highly valued by those using train stations on a regular basis.

Rootmetrics measured speed and reliability for all four 4G network providers at a number of key train stations including Euston, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, London Victoria, and Waterloo. The honours were split between EE and Vodafone with EE coming top for overall performance at Euston, London Bridge, and Waterloo, Vodafone coming top at Liverpool Street, and the two networks sharing first place at London Victoria.

Speeds were generally found to be good at all of London’s stations especially from EE, which recorded the fastest median upload and download speeds at London Bridge, where it would take customers just 2 seconds to download a 5MB song. Vodafone achieved faster download speeds than EE at both Liverpool Street and Waterloo.

Reliability was also impressive across all stations, with Euston and Waterloo having the most reliable mobile internet performance overall, and Liverpool Street and London Victoria having the worst. Vodafone’s reliability scores were exceptional, achieving excellent performance (97% plus) nine times out of a possible ten.

4G at London airports

Waiting for a flight is the perfect time to research your destination, catch up on missed TV, download films to watch onboard, or just get a bit of work done, so good mobile connectivity at the airport is essential. Rootmetrics measured the performance of the major providers at Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City airports and found EE to be the winner in overall performance.

EE was also the winner for speed by a significant margin at all three airports. The most notable difference was at Heathrow where EE achieved a median download speed of 31.2 Mbps, which was over six times faster than nearest rival Three. Rootmetrics looked at the time it would take to download a single 600MB episode of a TV show in High Definition at each airport:

  • At Heathrow the fastest was 2.6 minutes with EE and the slowest was 24.3 minutes with Vodafone
  • At Gatwick the fastest was 3.9 minutes with EE and the slowest was 33.3 minutes with O2
  • At London City the fastest was 5 minutes with EE and the slowest was 17.8 minutes with Three

In terms of reliability, London City airport was by the far the best, with all four providers achieving excellent scores for both getting connected and staying connected. While reliability was also excellent for both EE and Vodafone at Gatwick and Heathrow, O2 and Three scored less well in getting connected, and O2 scored poorly in staying connected at Gatwick.