back to article Britain's 4G is slower than Armenia's

The UK’s average 4G speeds are slower than Armenia’s, according to network performance monitor OpenSignal. The firm’s international survey placed the UK in 39th spot internationally, four behind the mountainous Transcaucasian Republic, which can now boast an average download speed of 24.08Mbps. With an average 4G speed of 23. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does it compare to similar countries like Germany, Holland and (shudder) France?

    1. Grikath

      Way worse than Holland, slightly better than Germany and France, actually. Although France has better speed when you get it.

      Which fits with the rollout really. Holland is small and urbanised enough to have near-national coverage, and the fiber backbone to distribute the signals. Germany/France rollout is concentrated around the cities, and far less out into the country. And both Germany and France have oodles of Middle-of-Nowhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Holland is small and urbanised enough to have near-national coverage

        Being pretty flat is also a big advantage, although I'm not sure that has helped the residents of East Anglia out that much.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Being pretty flat is also a big advantage

          Not always: it was also one of the main reasons for the Netherlands adopting cable instead of UHF for television.

      2. Khaptain Silver badge

        "Germany/France rollout is concentrated around the cities, and far less out into the country. And both Germany and France have oodles of Middle-of-Nowhere."

        Agreed, in France it's definitely the larger cities that have the best coverage. On saying that FTTH will be available for me round about July... Oh happy days....

        Fibre is obviously introduced on a "concentration basis".... Although most homes receive 20 Mbs without problem and where xDSL is not available, Orange and SFR can provide 4G boxes that at least allow for a reasonable link... ( obviously you have to be in a 4G zone but France has pretty good coverage)...

    2. pnony

      To a first approximation, the Netherlands has 100% 3G coverage, and fairly high 4G coverage as well. There's still a 2G network for embedded systems and hoarders of crusty old kit.

      I suppose there must be some parts of the country that have a weak signal. The bottom of a deep mine, or inside a Faraday cage, for example. Merely being a few tens of metres underground on the Metro or in a long railway tunnel such as that under the Noordzeekanaal isn't enough.

      1. Crisp

        Re: Crusty old kit.

        My GPS tracker doesn't really need any more than 2G.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      The other day German TV was highlighting the apparently high prices for mobile data here versus other EU countries with the UK coming out cheaper for "unlimited" deals. Coverage here is pretty good, though like any industrialised country, can drop off rapidly in the countryside.

      The French government threw money at improving coverage in rural areas a few years ago.

    4. Dr_N Silver badge

      > and (shudder) France?

      I've got great 4G in my village and the surrounding area. And there's fibre too. (If I think the DSL bandwith, currently running at ~20Mbps up/down, isn't doing the job.)

      Compared to the patchy 4G coverage I've seen when in the UK? Knocks it into a cocked hat.

      But after brexit, things will get better in the UK in terms of investment, services etc. I'm sure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Brexit shoe-horn of the day goes do Dr_N.

        Congratulations Sir.

        1. Dr_N Silver badge



  2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    After the spectrum recent auction

    I expect O2 to improve.

    1. Aitor 1

      Re: After the spectrum recent auction

      It depends.. most companies dont have a spectrum problem.. they have probelms in the backend and in the connections to the base stations.

  3. jms222

    Maldivian experience

    I was amazed how good my mobile connectivity was on a liveaboard boat in the Maldives was last month.

    Even when we weren't near one of their many little islands.

  4. Alan J. Wylie

    What's the point of measuring bandwidth

    when I can't even make phone calls and send texts when I'm at home in a town in North Yorkshire (pop. 3000)? FTTC is available, though.

  5. Anonymous Noel Coward

    Slow Internet in the UK?

    That's about par for the course, isn't it?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Slow Internet in the UK?

      Shortly be little point to good speed or coverage, anything interesting will be banned or require registration.

  6. Flakk


    That's it? The speed is slower? What else? What's the average number of subscribers per cell in Armenia compared to the UK? What's the comparison of the average cost of 4G devices and service per subscriber? When did Armenia build its 4G infrastructure in comparison to the UK? Are there any regulatory roadblocks in the UK that hinder the building of additional cells to accommodate the explosive growth of 4G use?

    We absolutely could rest on the implication that UK's 4G carriers are teh suck. Is that really all there is to the story?

  7. Tigra 07 Silver badge


    What i'm hearing is...that we a wall?

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: So...

      And if you remain behind the wall everyone in Europe will be quite happy.... Win Win

  8. J27 Bronze badge

    Considering the relatively high population density and small land mass I would have expected that 4G service would be quite fast in the UK. Problem with communications monopolies?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      No just coverage isn't necessarily where the users are. For example Stratford is supposed to have good coverage, however, you try getting a decent signal standing on the platform at Stratford International station (by decent I mean sufficient to browse a train information website) or in the Olympic park.

      Interestingly, I suspect that when it does connect the over-the-air speed is quite fast, just that signal limitations mean it still takes forever to load a webpage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've always thought they should call it Stratford Upon Londinium so that us midlanders dont get confused when London folk start talking about Stratford but don't mean the one Upon Avon. ;)

    2. Nick Kew Bronze badge


      BT and Virgin have monopolies on their respective turf.

      The mobile providers don't. Which is no doubt why they compete, and provide a much better service than the monopolies.

      Similarly, the regulatory scrutiny on BT will no doubt be why they are nowhere near as bad as Virgin, despite still being worse than the mobile telcos.

    3. Commswonk Silver badge

      @ J27:Considering the relatively high population density and small land mass I would have expected that 4G service would be quite fast in the UK. Problem with communications monopolies?

      I suspect that you identified the problem (at least in large part) within the first 6 words: high population density. If all the users bar one on any given cell went somewhere else than that "one" would enjoy a really spectacular download speed; a high population density brings with it more people fighting over / having to share a finite resource.

      A bit like trying to travel on the M25*...

      *Other congested roads are available.

  9. GingerOne

    In the City Of London, I'm getting 4.20 down and 0.08 up - not that I needed to do a test to know just how shit it is.

  10. Rabbit80

    Read it and weep..

    Just outside Leeds at the moment and getting 42.6 down and 18 up :)

    1. Wyrdness

      Re: Read it and weep..

      West London (Isleworth), Sky Mobile, 60.4 down, 11.2 up. Quite surprised because I used to get about 40 here with EE.

  11. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Not surprising really...

    Not surprising really when you consider it's all new infrastructure in Armenia so they don't have the hassle of trying to bolt it on and and integrate it into years of legacy comms infrastructure, as well as keeping all of the network providers happy. The same is true in the Azores; a tiny cluster of islands in middle of the Atlantic, and still faster 4g on the remoter ones than here in the South of tropical Hampshire.

  12. Nick Kew Bronze badge

    From experience

    My connection from home/office these days is 4G.

    It's a comparable download speed to Virgin cable, and much faster upload. And that's when Virgin is working, which it hasn't for some time: the 4G is a lot more reliable.

    I posted a comparison back when I first had both connections.

  13. GIRZiM
    Paris Hilton

    Future Echoes: "Who's that guy?"

    Or, in this case, who is the girl/woman in the photo and what's she got to do with it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Future Echoes: "Who's that guy?"

      Well, if she has a decent agent then every time you see her picture on a website there's a very, very tiny "ka-ching" sound. But I understand Li Ka-shing is stepping down from the owners of 3.

      1. GIRZiM

        Re: Future Echoes: "Who's that guy?"

        As long as I'm not guilty of 'presuming' Andrew Orlowski's gender, I guess it's okay.

  14. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

    My experience in the UK is that 3g is generally faster than 4g, mainly because I can get more than 1 (unreliable) bar signal. When you do get a good signal its usually in the city where the user levels are so much higher per cell that you also get equally poor download speeds.

  15. Nate Amsden

    coverage sucks

    Seems telcos are hyping up 5G when it would be nice if they did the more boring thing of improving existing coverage. I live in the U.S. but I can count on two fingers the number of times I have gotten awesome 4G speeds(over 20Mbit) over the past 5 years.

    One time was in a Las Vegas convention center where they obviously had cell repeaters in the room, and the 2nd time was staying at a hotel in San Jose CA a couple of months ago where I got an astonishing 50Mbit down and 20Mbit up(that was faster than the cable modem connection I had when I lived in the bay area for 5 years ending in 2016 though I did not live in San Jose, I lived 1 mile from the Youtube HQ as a point of reference as that has been in the news recently).

    The mobile speed test app I use has a history going back to 2015, and has tons a single digit numbers, or in many cases numbers that start with 0.x Mbits.

    I remember when I went to Barcelona a couple of years ago, pretty much any building I went into coverage went to either 2G or no signal(I believe because of the stone buildings).

    In the city in California where my current home is there are several spots in busy areas (population ~220,000) where signal is bad enough I can't even get a DNS query to complete.

    On my phone I have an app that is supposed to measure signal strength, the weakest one always seems to be "LTE RSRP Signal", which at home now currently measures at 14% (-114 db), however overall LTE signal strength it says is 52% (16 db), phone reports 2 bars of signal (I would consider this level of signal to be good). With this rating the speed test app reports 10.68Mbps(quite a bit more than I expected) of download and 0.63Mbps of upload.

    It's not my phone because I bought my wife a brand new Sony XZ1 last November running Android 8, it's signal reception abilities are almost identical to my late 2013 Galaxy Note 3. Re-affirmed when I was able to lock in those 50Mbit speeds at the hotel a couple of months ago.

    My carrier is AT&T, the 2nd largest carrier in the country.

    With 3G life would probably be better on some occasions, unfortunately in order to force my phone to 3G requires shutting the phone down, removing the SIM card, booting it up again, typing in a code, and shutting it down again, re-inserting SIM card and booting it up again. I worry that is too much wear and tear on the device(mainly SIM removal and re-insert) that I don't do it unless I am traveling internationally. I already get the occasional "UNABLE TO READ SIM - REBOOT" message on bootup.

  16. jonfr

    SpeedTest Global Index

    On Speed Test Global Index UK is number 45 for February 2018. Just behind it is the U.S. Germany is number 49 on this list. Spain is number 31 on this list.

    Norway is number 1 and Iceland is number 2.

  17. Randy Hudson

    Is this really an issue for anyone?? I'm getting 40Mbps down on LTE right now. Enough for two 4K video streams. What are people doing on their phones?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The speed is largely irrelevant - its coverage that's more important and too many rural areas in the UK aren't covered. Time for the government to make shared masts a reality in areas that aren't economically viable to the operators.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020