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5G Speeds and Availability in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Nottingham

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021 (9:27 am) - Score 1,272
5g itu

Mobile benchmarking firm RootMetrics has today published a short summary of their latest 5G based mobile broadband speeds and availability across the four primary network operators – EE (BT), O2 (VMO2), Vodafone and Three UK – in the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Nottingham.

The company typically employs a team of testers to both walk and drive around each city while running tests via a set of regular Samsung Note 10+ 5G Smartphones. The report is based on data from their H1 2021 testing period, which echoes a similar report last month that examined 5G performance in Birmingham, Bristol, Coventry, and London (here).

The latest report follows a similar model but focuses on a different set of cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Nottingham. The results come in two different flavours, one is recorded entirely on 5G-only connections, while the other adopts their so-called “Everyday 5G” performance metric – this factors in results recorded on both 5G-only and 5G mixed mode connections.

NOTE: Mixed mode connections show performance from scenarios in which a user switches between 5G and older 4G services during the same data task, an experience that is quite common.

Overall, EE posted the highest Everyday 5G availability in all four cities, along with the fastest Everyday 5G median download speed in Nottingham (132.8Mbps). But O2 was faster in Edinburgh (163.3Mbps), while Vodafone did the same in both Cardiff (140.2Mbps) and Glasgow (192.2Mbps). Sadly, Three UK still has a long way to go in order to support their “UK’s fastest 5G network” claims, as they were slowest in three of the four cities tested (excluding Nottingham, where Vodafone wasn’t present and is thus the slowest by virtue of absence).

The study also gives us some indication of how 5G availability has improved over the past 6 months. For example, EE’s Everyday 5G availability in Edinburgh has grown from 23.6% to 37.7% since 2H 2020. Likewise, Three UK saw their availability in Glasgow increase from 9.0% to 27.8% over the same period and Vodafone saw a big jump from 23.4% to 44.2% in Cardiff. Sadly, we don’t get a full before and after comparison for every operator.

rootmetrics_everyday_5g_speeds_h1_2021-map-Edinburgh-Glasgow-Cardiff-Nottingham

rootmetrics_5g_only_speeds_h1_2021-map-Edinburgh-Glasgow-Cardiff-Nottingham

We should point out that Mobile Broadband speeds remain incredibly difficult to pin down due to the highly variable nature of the technology. Users of such services are always moving through different areas (indoor, outdoor, underground etc.), using different devices with different capabilities and the surrounding environment (weather, trees, buildings etc.) is ever changeable.

On top of that, different operators may have different levels of coverage, technologies, backhaul capacity for cell sites and spectrum bands. All of this can impact the service you receive and will vary from location to location. The latest report from RootMetrics also leaves out any mention of 5G latency or upload speeds, which is quite disappointing as these have become increasingly important.

The data is also too new to reflect any impact from the completion of Ofcom’s latest 5G spectrum auction (here), which saw the regulator sell chunks of the 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz bands off to various different operators. Given time, these should help to boost their network speeds and network coverage.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Joe says:

    Does anyone know about any updates for 5G in Newcastle Upon Tyne on Three network?

    I’ve got broadband from Three and the 4G is fantastic but getting those triple digit download speeds would be amazing (Mb/s obviously)

  2. JP says:

    “ RootMetrics also leaves out any mention of 5G latency or upload speeds,“ which don’t surprise me as the 5G service across the UK are currently reliant on 4G for latency and backhaul

  3. JP says:

    The 5G only title seems a little misleading, 4G is still in use for 5G (NSA) no SA that I’m aware of yet.

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