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Ookla Publish Latest UK 5G Mobile Broadband Speeds for Q1-Q2 2021

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 (3:32 pm) - Score 2,064
5g_mobile_logo_and_signal_uk_image

Ookla, which runs Speedtest.net, has today revealed more data about 5G mobile speeds and availability across the UK. Overall, the country delivered average (median) 5G download speeds of 167.38Mbps (15.91Mbps upload), but availability is still low at 10.2% (17.9% on EE, 10.3% on Vodafone, 6.4% on Three UK and 5.4% on O2).

We’ll start by reminding readers that mobile data speeds remain notoriously difficult to pin down because end-users are always moving through different areas (indoor, outdoor, underground etc.), using different devices with different capabilities and the surrounding environment is ever changeable (weather, trees, buildings etc.).

All the above can impact your signal quality, and that’s before we even consider other issues like network (backhaul) capacity at different cell sites or differing spectrum ownership between mobile operators. But with that said, Ookla’s latest data does help to give the country’s progress a little more context.

The data for this comes from Ookla’s latest Q1-Q2-2021 country sample, which has already resulted in an earlier report on 5G speeds by mobile operator (here). But the new data takes a wider look and finds that the UK is ahead of its main European trade partners for 5G, but still can’t beat the likes of South Korea and China. However, we’re further behind when it comes to 5G availability.

Ookla-5G-Speeds-and-Availability-of-UK-vs-Trading-Partners

The reason why uploads are only a little better than those of existing 4G services above is because most of the current 5G deployments actually still make some use of some 4G connectivity and spectrum, which won’t change until Standalone (SA) 5G is more widely deployed and that will take time.

Elsewhere, Ookla also noted that the Net Promoter Scores (NPS) were much higher for those on 5G mobile connections than 4G. NPS scores are designed to measure the willingness of customers to recommend a particular company’s products or services to others (on a scale of -100 to 100).

At present only around 10% of UK brands get an NPS of 40 or more and 80+ is considered by Bain & Co, the system’s creators, to be “world class.” But generally speaking, any NPS score above 0 indicates that a provider’s audience is more loyal than not. Suffice to say that EE will be happy to have topped this list on a score of 43.40, which perhaps does more to reflect their 5G availability than speeds (Three UK were faster for 5G).

Ookla-5G-NPS-Scores-by-UK-Mobile-Operator

Scotland was also found to have the fastest 5G download speeds (178.30Mbps) among the four countries of the United Kingdom, with England being the slowest (165.42Mbps), but only just.

Ookla-5G-Speeds-by-UK-Country

Finally, Ookla provides a useful summary of 5G speeds across the UK’s 10 top 10 major cities, which reveals that Glasgow has the fastest median 5G download at 208.80Mbps. On the flip side, Sheffield had the slowest 5G downloads.

Ookla-5G-Speeds-of-the-Major-UK-Cities

We should add that Ofcom’s recent auction released quite a lot of new spectrum frequency in the 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz bands to EE, O2, Three UK and Vodafone, which once fully deployed could potentially change the current picture.

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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
5 Responses
  1. Buggerlugz says:

    So its still just as quick as uncontended 4g+ should be.

  2. Skeptic says:

    UK 5G faster than Japan? Netherlands?
    Press X to doubt.

  3. Mike says:

    Comparing speed without accounting for usage allowances makes the data almost worthless.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      How do you figure? All operators now have “unlimited” data options, and data allowances have significantly increased over the past decade.

    2. Mike says:

      Most of the foreign providers I’ve looked at have low usage allowances when the FUP buried in the T&C’s is taken into account.

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