MOBILE phone users in the UK only have access to 4G half of the time, a new report says.

Research from consumer group Which? and independent mobile coverage experts OpenSignal​ found mobile customers were only able to access 4G 53 per cent of the time, on average, across the four networks.

​The latest data from the OpenSignal ‘State of Mobile Networks: UK’ report, produced in association with Which?,​ ​found that on average EE customers have the best 4G coverage with customers able to access a 4G signal 60.6 per cent of the time.

The report, which is accompanied by a live interactive map service on the best and worst areas for 2G, 3G and 4G signal in the UK, ranked Vodafone second with their customers able to connect to a 4G signal 57 per cent of the time.

O2 came third and Three last with their customers able to access 4G signal 56 per cent and 39.8 per cent of the time respectively.

The report’s findings are based on data collected from more than 30,000 registered users of OpenSignal’s mobile app which takes a background reading every 15 minutes to calculate the proportion of time users can access 4G.

When looking at 4G download speeds, Three fared much better offering an average speed of 18.7Mbps, which is up significantly on last year when their average speed measured 12Mbps.

EE again performs well this year with their 4G speed clocking an average 17.8Mbps. O2 was third for 4G at 12.1Mbps and Vodafone the slowest at 11.8Mbps.

The limited access means consumers are left relying on a slower download speed with 3G.

This is compared to 39 countries around the world where mobile users can access 4G 60 per cent of the time or more, the report said.

Somerset County Gazette:
The OpenSignal map of 4G coverage shows sparse coverage in the south west

Ofcom’s recent review of the digital telecoms sector set a target of 98 per cent of homes in the UK able to access 4G by the end of 2017.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “Almost everyone now uses a mobile phone service and it’s not good enough that the UK is lagging behind so many countries with our 4G network coverage.

"Increasing 4G access s​hould be a priority for mobile providers and Ofcom must continue to push them to make this a reality.”

OpenSignal CEO, Brendan Gill, added: “While it’s clear the UK is making progress in building out powerful 4G networks, it’s obvious there is still some work to do to extend coverage further." 

OpenSignal has created an interactive map showing 4G coverage across the UK.