OpenSignal spends a lot of time focussing on the UK's mobile signals, specifically how coverage affects regular people using their phones. Speed, availability, that sort of thing. With all that work comes analysis, which inevitably gets published throughout the year. Now is one such point, with the latest report on the state of the UK's 4G and 3G networks.
In news that will shock absolutely no one, EE has come out on top (again). It has the fastest speeds (4G, 3G, and overall), the highest level of availability, and tied with Vodafone for 4G and 3G latency. Three came in second on all speed counts, followed by Vodafone then O2. Three came in last on 4G latency, but beat O2 on 3G. Surprisingly O2 came in second in terms of availability, with 83.67 per cent coverage to O2's 86.62 per cent. Vodafone came in third with 79.45 per cent, and unsurprisingly Three was last with 66.64 per cent.
As you can see in the table below, EE also dominated on a regional level - only losing in four regions and all on 4G latency.
OpenSignal notes that 4G has actually taken a long time to spread through the UK, particularly in comparison to other developed nations, but things look to be on the up. Both EE and O2 have crossed the 80 per cent availability threshold since September, with Vodafone not far behind. Even though Three and Vodafone were behind, it's still notable they they both grew a respective nine and eight percentage points.
OpenSignal also points out that the slow rollout of 4G was down to the strong 3G networks already in place, but as more users switch to 4G and increase their data consumption there's more pressure for the big networks to expand their coverage. It's also in part thanks to Ofcom's push to decrease the number of areas without stable 4G coverage.
The UK is still quite far behind the rest of the developed world, as OpenSignal's global report from February showed, but with the new levels of expansion show promise and means by the time the next report is due the UK won't be right in the middle of the table.
You can read the whole report here.