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UK Struggles in H1 2023 Study of Global 5G Mobile Broadband Speeds

Tuesday, Sep 12th, 2023 (2:56 pm) - Score 1,368
5g mobile signal bars uk

The latest data from Ookla, which operates the popular Speedtest.net internet connection benchmarking service, has revealed that the United Kingdom now places near the bottom of the table of 5G capable countries for mobile broadband speeds and availability.

The latest benchmark, which examined 5G mobile performance between 1st May and 29th July 2023, reveals that Puerto Rico scored the highest for 5G availability at 49.2% (i.e. the amount of time 5G users spent actually connected via 5G). By comparison, the UK scored just 10.9% and sat in the bottom third of the table, while Indonesia came last on 0.9%. But this is particularly bad considering that the UK was an early 5G adopter.

The situation is even worse for average 5G download speeds, where South Korea retains the top spot on 427.1Mbps and the slowest country is Peru on 49.1Mbps. By comparison, the UK scored just 118.6Mbps – placing us in the last quarter of the table, although this still marks a 4.2x times performance improvement over older 4G networks.


In terms of upload speeds, South Korea tops that table too with an average of 43.6Mbps, while the slowest country is the Philippines on 11.7Mbps. But the UK is only three places above the Philippines and sitting on just 14.3Mbps, which largely reflects the fact that our 5G networks are still partly reliant upon older 4G infrastructure.

Overall, it’s a poor showing from the United Kingdom, which was impacted by the government’s earlier ban of Huawei’s kit (this delayed the rollout). But there is hope for the future, with the adoption of pure end-to-end (Standalone) 5G networks being expected to boost performance. Not to mention that Ofcom are preparing to release a large chunk of millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum across the 26GHz and 40GHz bands for use by ultrafast 5G services in the near future (here).


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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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10 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Smythe says:

    It’s O2 letting the UK down.

    1. Avatar photo 10BaseT says:

      More than Three(Mbps)?

    2. Avatar photo Anon says:

      10BaseT, I recommend having a look on Three’s thread on this site’s forum. Check the speed tests on 5G (which is what this article is about) and tell me if Three’s 5G is slow…

    3. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

      10baseT – consider only 3 and EE have a usable signal where I live I’m going to disagree with you there (O2 and Vodafone both show me as covered but don’t work).

  2. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

    I’ve disabled 5G. Signal is usually low enough 4G is usually faster. Granted when it works well * its great but the pain of a barely working 5g signal isn’t worth it. (* a little spot outside the lidl near work – I’m not kidding.).

    1. Avatar photo Fred Fintstone says:

      I’ve also disabled 5g. It’s completely irrelevant where I live and I very rarely go to areas with 5g coverage. I wish I could get reliable 4g but I can’t. 3g will be turned off soon and that is what my phone connects to >95% of the time.

    2. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

      To be fair – My 4G signal is rarely above 8Mb where I live so might as well be 3G anyway. OFCOM loves to state how I can strong 4G on all the maps but its all a load of rubbish! I sometimes think that mobile not spots are more under reported than FTTP due to the fact its clear if you have FTTP but a 4G signal can be anywhere from unusable to faster than the local FTTC with no difference in reporting.

  3. Avatar photo Me says:

    Considering the obsessive blocking of any planning application for new poles and towers in multiple areas by councils and locals, I am shocked the UK is even that high up on the list.

  4. Avatar photo Krabs says:

    I posted in this forum a month or so ago that EE appear to be speed capping speed tests via Ookla’s Speedtest.net site and apps. It has been impossible for me to get more than 200Mb in recent months. As a test, I bought a Lyca SIM which now uses EE and I’m about to get speeds of 800Mb in some areas, but never over 200Mb on EE. Initially I thought the overall speed was capped but this is not the case. Speed tests with Meteor and downloading Linux ISOs shows that there is no overall speed cap in place. Other members have confirmed the same thing. It’s just bizarre that EE would do this considering they refer to Ookla a lot to boast about their speeds. At a guess, I’d say the next Ookla quarterly speed test results or however often they post them won’t show favourably for EE if this is indeed a widespread issue. It’s hardly on unusable at these speeds but still, it seems bizarre and possibly some sort of bug/fault.

  5. Avatar photo Chris Sayers says:

    Here I sit at Waltham cross,
    5G result’s
    4G result’s

    I think in my case here mirror’s the survey.

Comments are closed

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