back to article Modem life is rubbish: RootMetrics 5G stats show EE has widest UK coverage, but Three is the speed demon

Most UK cities now have some degree of 5G coverage, promising those with capable devices faster internet connections. But how much of a game change is it really? New data from RootMetrics highlight consistently nimble connections, albeit with some major differences between networks. Take EE. At the time of RootMetrics' …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5G coverage, eh?

    Well, here I am in SE16, and since they built those new flats in between us and the nearest mast, ... I'm doing quite well to even get much of a mobile signal (especially on 3 - but fortunately I can go up a nearby small hill if desperate).

    5G? I do not care... unless, I suppose, it means they put up a new - and differently sited - mast

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: 5G coverage, eh?

      Unfortunately for you, current deployments of 5g are in the lower frequencies so they can collocate masts with existing locations, and therefore not have increased site acquisition and rental costs

  2. myithingwontcharge

    Someone forgot the one thing that actually needed fixing

    I'm getting 800 Mbps download on Three in Birmingham which sounds amazing until you realise the upload is only 25 Mbps. That's actually less than I was getting on 4G. Since upload is pretty much all that matters to a mobile user, it almost seems like a downgrade. Seriously, we all upload videos and photos to Facebook, Twatter, the cloud etc and that's about the only thing that really needed immediate improvement and is also the one thing that many home broadband connections fail spectacularly at.

    I'm not sure who designed the 5G standard but you had one job.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Someone forgot the one thing that actually needed fixing

      If Three mobile 5G is the same as the home broadband variant then the upload is still 4G. It's only 5G on the download. Why? That I don't think anyone knows.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Someone forgot the one thing that actually needed fixing

        Why? Because the standard allows for it and the kit is flexible enough to do it and it's probably cheaper for the operator to do it that way

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Someone forgot the one thing that actually needed fixing

      Only losers and millennials use upload bandwidth on mobile. :D

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Someone forgot the one thing that actually needed fixing

      "Since upload is pretty much all that matters to a mobile user, it almost seems like a downgrade. Seriously, we all upload videos and photos to Facebook, Twatter, the cloud etc "

      You have strange ideas about most people's use of the Internet or, indeed, their phone.

      I work in IT (obvs), and I couldn't care much about my upload. I mean, it has to have some, but ADSL was asymmetric for a reason... people's use is asymmetric.

      I have two 4G connections, one on my phone, and one running my entire house (given that the broadband is so shite I didn't even bother to take out a BT line when I moved into this place). Both unlimited data. I don't suffer at all, mobile-wise or when at home. I game, I upload photos, work remotely, hell I even stream HD TV from my home (via tvHeadend, a RPi and a DVB-T2 hat for it) to my phone and watch it routinely.

      And I upload to Facebook / Twitter maybe a picture or so every now and again. What's that? A couple of meg of data? Videos take longer for them to process than to upload. And it's really not a huge part of my life at all. If I did a video once a day, I'd consider that excessive. And my connection would perfectly handle it without very much inconvenience at all (it's a mobile... I say upload... I continue going to work or whatever I was doing, and it uploads while it's in my pocket wherever I go).

      Honestly, though your ratio is less than you'd expect (about 8:1 is right), it's really not going to be detrimental to the vast, vast, vast majority of people - even those working from home and videostreaming in... what's that? 1Mbps? Maybe 2.

  3. Richard Jones 1
    WTF?

    Reliable 4g might have been nice

    I doubt I will ever be in a position to make a useful comment on 5G. It appears an unlikely option for the foreseeable future due to the poor state of mobile service at home. The prices I saw suggest it is for others anyway. I will stick with voice and text, Wi-Fi is an option when at home when the machine updates itself. A 23 inch screened PC is a far superior experience. I am now concerned at how much IPv6 might disrupt wired service, given the situation with 5G

  4. JetSetJim Silver badge

    It won't last...

    ... both EE and Three use Huawei for their 5G infrastructure.

  5. vogon00

    What is it with '5G'?

    Now, I admit I'm in my cups this evening, so this may be a less thought through question that usual....however..

    For a long time I have been of the opinion that it is better to have more consistent long-to-medium-term throughput at a lower-than-peak speed than the instantaneously achievable high speed that cannot be sustained - especially if one is mobile (Either walking or at speed as opposed to being immobile/static).

    Consistency is what you want/need (Ask any racing driver!) - it's pointless being able to shift stuff at 600Mbps if you can do that for one second and then get, say 50Mbps for the other 59 seconds of that minute (3550Mbit/Min) due to RAT/environmental conditions. Better to have a consistent rate of 75Mbps for the entire minute, every minute, isn't it (4500Mbit/Min)? Especially when on the move on foot or train etc.

    I'm well aware of the traffic profiles in use (Still generally asymmetric, although upload from user-to-network is becoming more important as we upload increasingly 'rich' content including over-the-top VOIP and especially video calling, and more frequently too).

    I'm also well aware of the fact that '5G' tech incorporates the concept of fixed (as opposed to mobile) devices to some extent, and it's right that these can expect higher transfer rates.

    Now, here's the question:

    Can someone provide, preferably in words of one syllable, and as you would explain in plain English to a small child, a decent explanation of exactly exactly *why* people still try to sell mobile services on *SPEED* rather than sustained throughput? (* and **).

    I'm getting more and more cynical and despondent as time goes on, so please understand when I say that my current considered opinion is that all mobile operators are a bunch of cnuts (Although not the engineers!).

    * Because differentiation / marketing / competition / commercials / going ever forward is *NOT* a valid answer - I want another one!

    ** We are the technical aristocracy and I know Joe Public is gullible mug :-)

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: What is it with '5G'?

      > Can someone provide, preferably in words of one syllable, and as you would explain in plain English to a small child, a decent explanation of exactly exactly *why* people still try to sell mobile services on *SPEED* rather than sustained throughput? (* and **).

      Because it's radio, not wires. It's easy to quantify peak throughout, harder to do sustained throughout as the sustained throughout will have to have a whole host of conditions attached to it. You can do an RF plan for it, but plans generally get chucked out the window when you get to the limitations of deployment (availability of locations, planning constraints on height of mast, multi path effects on coverage and interference, and a bunch of other factors). Peak throughput is easier as you just test it next to an antenna, or just use the theoretical numbers (as they did back in the UMTS days with their 2mbps numbers)

      1. vogon00

        Re: What is it with '5G'?

        Nice summary....Now I'm sober, I'd be pleased to have written that :-)

        Thanks, Dude / Dudette.

  6. wayneinuk

    5G??

    It would be nice to have a reliable 3G or 4G signal, at times I can get around 80Mbps, 30 minutes later and after several disconnections I'm lucky to get 1Mbps.

    Luckily I don't use 4G often, an occasions at home if my broadband is down and this month I've suffered an outage where an Openreach engineer that should have gone to Specsavers disconnected my line and gave it to another new customer in the area - took them a week to get me back online. Only yesterday I had 2.5 hours of downtime for no apparent reason! Other times I try to use it is when working away or on a UK holiday and despite having a Three subscription for 40GB I usually end up putting in an O2 SIM, especially in Wales.

    I just wish the services were more reliable and also offered more flexibility with static IP's, I also think the operators from time-to-time try to restrict the use of VPN technologies which takes the p*** when you pay for inclusive GB - you should be able to use that data for any purpose and not what they feel like on the day!

    I suspect as well that with 4G and 5G the bottleneck is often the network feed to the mast!

    In Finland (Lapland) we stay around 100 miles from the Russian border in December, right above the arctic circle in the middle of a forest and the 3G is excellent both in coverage and speed. Landing back into Bristol airport at around 15:00 into traffic mayhem and overused 4G!!!

    Moan over :-)

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