UK 'straggling behind Europe' for mobile broadband speeds header image

Published: 11th Feb 2015

Mobile broadband speeds in the UK are among the worst in western Europe, according to a new study.

Research from Netradar reveals that the Brits are offered speeds that are significantly slower than people living in France, Italy and Germany.

In 2014, the average download speed from a mobile internet connection in the UK was 5 Mbps, compared to 8.4 Mbps in France, 6.1 Mbps in Germany, 4.7 Mbps in Spain and 5.4 Mbps in Italy.

The results were compiled by measuring data from normal mobile phones using the Netradar app, which analyses mobile connections through devices and presents the user with information concerning the quality of their connection.

At the same time, this data is anonymously uploaded to a database so it can be scrutinised further by the developers of the app, run by Aalto University in Finland.

The fastest mobile internet connections are accessible to those living in Denmark, where speeds of around 22.3 Mbps are available, followed by Switzerland (16.6 Mbps) and Norway (14.8 Mbps).

Despite the fact that the speeds accessible to those living in the UK were poor, they are by no means the worst in Europe overall, with just 0.3 Mbps available to Ukraine, 1 Mbps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and 1.8 Mbps in Moldova.

Commenting on the results, Professor Jukka Manner, leader of the Netradar project at Aalto University, said: "Mobile internet speed depends not only on mobile network operators, but also on used devices, speed limitations in the subscriptions, a user's distance from the operator's antenna, landscape, available radio technologies and how congested the mobile network is."

The study revealed significant disparities between different operators in Britain, with the best service available through Three in 2014, which provided speeds of 6.3 Mbps, compared to T-Mobile's 6.3 Mbps, Vodafone's 4.9 Mbps, Orange's 3.6 Mbps and O2's 3.1 Mbps.