4G speeds double of 3G, says Ofcom

4G speeds beat 3G speeds in the UK by more than double, an Ofcom report has found, despite previous reports indicating that performance of the high-speed data service had fallen.

The study, which looked at results from over 200,000 smartphone tests in five UK cities conducted between March and June, revealed an average 4G speed of 15.1Mbps compared to the average 3G speed of 6.1Mbps.

They said: "Our results show that, on average, UK 4G networks perform much better than 3G networks. These differences are consistent across all mobile operators, and we would expect consumers to notice material differences in the performance of mobile broadband when using any 4G network compared to a 3G network."

A recent report from OpenSignal and Which? claimed that 4G speeds in the UK had actually almost halved in the last year, owing to the increasing demand on networks from new users. The study recorded average download speeds of 19Mbps in August 2014, compared to 10.16 Mbps recorded in September 2013.

Both studies found disparity between the services offered by the various UK networks, with EE offering the best 4G speeds at 18.4Mbps, according to Ofcom. O2 followed with 15.6Mbps, and Vodafone averaged at 14.3Mbps. Three came last with average speeds of just 10.7Mbps.

"Our intention in this research was to help consumers understand the differences in performance between 4G and 3G mobile services," Ofcom said. "This kind of research is designed to support consumers in choosing a mobile service that best suits their needs."

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at caroline.preece@futurenet.com.