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Birmingham Named Fastest of 16 UK Cities for Mobile Broadband

Monday, Mar 9th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 1,485
broadband isp uk speed meter uk 2017

RootMetrics has published the results from their biannual H2 2019 study of mobile broadband (3G and 4G) speeds across 16 of the United Kingdom’s most populated cities, which found that people in Birmingham received the fastest aggregate median download speeds of 28.9Mbps. Sadly last place Newcastle only scored 20.1Mbps.

The new report is effectively an extension of RootMetric’s recent study of performance delivered by the four largest mobile network operators (EE / BT, Three UK, Vodafone and O2), which saw EE named as the best overall UK mobile operator for H2 2019 (here). However, unlike that report, the new study simply looks at mobile broadband speeds across each of the measured cities in order to produce a ranking based on the same data source.

Overall Birmingham came top of the study with an aggregate median download speed of 28.9Mbps, which was helped by EE producing a speed of 51.6Mbps for its network in the city. Vodafone also impressed, clocking a strong speed of 38.4Mbps. Meanwhile O2 and Three UK didn’t fare quite as well, registering median download speeds of 10.4Mbps and 15.1Mbps, respectively.

Elsewhere London, by far the largest metro in the UK, finished with a “middle-of-the-pack” aggregate median download speed of 24.1Mbps that was largely kept afloat by EE’s speed of 45.6Mbps. While O2 and Vodafone each delivered relatively solid median downloads speeds of 17.6Mbps and 21.3Mbps, respectively. Sadly Three UK’s speed of 11.7Mbps left something to be desired.

Finally, Birmingham had some of the most improve speeds, having increased from their download result of 24.7Mbps in H1 2019 to 28.9Mbps now. Similarly Hull in East Yorkshire also saw a strong improvement from 21.0Mbps in H1 to 24.5Mbps in H2.

rootmetrics h2 2019 top 16 cities by mobile broadband speed

As usual the organisation conducted their work by harnessing a batch of Samsung Galaxy S9 (4G) smartphones, which were purchased off the shelf from operator stores. As a result of this the above study hasn’t factored in the impact of any early 5G deployments, although they will do this properly from the future H1 2020 report onwards. The results also lack any feedback for upload speeds or latency, which is disappointing.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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3 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Truth says:

    If your on Three’s network in Birmingham it’s awaful. Will struggle to load ‘Google’ and speed tests show 0.32mbps for download. This is with 4G+ too, however if you use a 5G handset you will achieve 200mbps easily on 5G. Just a shame coverage is hardly anywhere at this point.

    1. Avatar photo Name says:

      Poor coverage is just the one part of Three story. The other is poor network capacity.

    2. Avatar photo Ryan says:

      Three is hopeless in most urban locations,the only places where three is normally faster than 02/Vodafone is in countryside since 02/Vodafone is normally just awful 800 MHz 4G.

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