London has decent 5G availability but speeds lag behind Birmingham and Cardiff – research

Over 60% access better than anything found in US and SK


5G in London is so far lagging behind Birmingham and Cardiff, according to research into the tech's early deployment.

According to mobile performance testers Rootmetrics, EE has the fastest median download speeds in the capital of 149.2Mbps, while Vodafone recorded 97.7Mbps.

But EE recorded much higher median speeds in Birmingham of 185.7Mbps, with Vodafone recording 112.2Mbps. Meanwhile, the providers recorded median speeds of 163.1Mbps and 113.6Mbps respectively in Cardiff.

However, the research found EE's 5G availability in London is more widespread than in other major cities.

"While 5G maximum download speeds in London trailed those in other major markets, EE's 5G availability in London [60.6 per cent] was higher than what we've found in the US and South Korea to date," said the report.

"For instance, the highest 5G availability percentage we recorded during our testing across Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas was Sprint's 51.4 per cent in Atlanta, while KT had the highest 5G percentage in Seoul at 45.6 per cent."

The body's testing in London was based on the team having driven 132 miles (212km), including tests via 28 indoor locations and 12,502 total tests conducted via both a OnePlus 7 Pro 5G (EE) and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G (Vodafone) phone. At the time of the research, only EE and Vodafone had launched 5G.

A separate analysis by speed tester Ookla today reported that 5G deployments are now live in 29 cities in the UK. It found that, on average, 5G speeds are 463.6 per cent faster than 4G speeds, with average download speeds of 176Mbps.

It found EE had the fastest download speeds across Blighty of 205Mbps and latency of 25ms, while O2 had 159Mbps at 26ms and Vodafone 140Mbps at 21ms. It did not include Three as at the time of testing it had only gone live with a dedicated mobile broadband service.

As of October 2019, 33 operators across 18 countries have launched commercial 5G mobile services, according to a study by global mobile operator data-wranglers at GSMA's Intelligence branch

It predicts that by 2025 China will dominate the global 5G market, along with the US, Japan and South Korea, leaving Europe behind. ®

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