Network congestion to blame for declining UK 4G speeds

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4G LTE may have a reputation of delivering anywhere between five to ten times faster speeds than 3G, but that’s not always realisable and speeds may decline owing to a number of factors and a practical example of such a decline of almost 50 per cent can been seen in the UK because of network congestion.

UK mobile operators have been extensively marketing 4G availability and their ever expanding reach across the UK. A positive outcome is that more and more users are subscribing to 4G, but a negative outcome of that is that over the past 12 months, 4G speeds in the UK have declined dramatically – almost by 50 per cent as compared to what they were last year.

“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”, notes a report by OpenSignal UK who carried out the research in collaboration with consumer watchdog Which?.

One of the primary reasons that OpenSignal has cited for declining 4G speeds is rise in users signing up for new 4G services offered by all major mobile operators in the UK.

As far as reliability of network coverage is concerned, London topped the charts for fastest and most reliable network coverage, while Wales was at the bottom of the list with worse service at the same price.

Out of all the mobile operators, OpenSignal has ranked EE at the top spot out of all mobile operators who provide 4G in terms of geographical coverage.