The average 4G speed in the UK has almost halved during 2014 as more customers sign up to 4G networks, according to data from OpenSignal.
The firm collected 67 million data points from mobile phone users, gathering information such as time without signal, average 3G and 4G speeds for each operator, and a combined average of 4G speeds.
This last metric revealed that the speed average for 4G had almost halved, from 19Mbps in September 2013 to 10.16Mbps in August 2014 (see below).
OpenSignal said this was caused by more customers moving to 4G networks, resulting in slowing speeds despite the efforts of operators to meet the demand.
“As more people sign up to 4G LTE and use the network, the average speed inevitably comes down,” the firm said.
“There are several competing forces at play here. An increase in users slows the network down, but the networks are constantly rolling out improvements and adding LTE-enabled cell towers, which goes some way towards explaining the deviations in the downwards line.”
For example, EE recently revealed that it has six million customers on 4G, as its network is now live across 300 towns in the UK.
Conversely, 3G networks have actually got faster, seeing the average speed rise from 3.25Mbps to 4.03Mbps. However, this is clearly still far slower than 4G.
The best network for speeds is Vodafone, which offered an average connection of 13.21Mbps, followed by EE with 11.78Mbps and O2 with 10.50Mbps. Three brought up the rear with 8.95Mbps.
EE seemingly leads the way for coverage. The OpenSignal metric for ‘time on 4G’ for the past three months shows that EE customers are on 4G 50.22 percent of the time. This is ahead of Vodafone (38.39), O2 (36.92) and Three (20.9).
The report comes on the same day that the government outlined its intention to force operators to share signals in remote locations to end the blight of mobile not-spots.
Mobile operators have already voiced their unhappiness with the plans.
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