EE 4G  LTE-Advanced London promo shot
Good luck getting these 4G speeds in the capitalEE

London has been revealed to have the slowest average 3G and 4G mobile broadband data download speeds among UK cities monitored by Ofcom.

Despite its low average speeds, the capital boasts with the fastest 4G network in terms of average webpage load times and data packet latency. Inversely, London suffers the slowest 3G average webpage loading times, while Manchester wins in this category.

Edinburgh claims the average download speed crown for both 4G and 3G services. For 4G uploads, Manchester recorded the fastest average speed. Edinburgh also shares the fastest average upload speed with Glasgow on 3G.

These findings are part of a report from UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, published on 13 November, 2014. It is the first research into consumers' experience of mobile broadband in the UK since the 4G auction in 2013.

The results are summarised below, showing which cities performed the best in terms of average HTTP download and upload speeds, webpage load times, and data latency in the UK.

City4G network 3G network
Download Upload Page load Latency Download Upload Page load Latency
London 13.1Mbps 12.0Mbps 0.72s 48.8ms 4.1Mbps 1.4Mbps 1.20s 67.4ms
Manchester 16.1Mbps 13.2Mbps 0.79s 56.3ms 6.6Mbps 1.4Mbps 1.01s 64.4ms
Birmingham 13.8Mbps 12.5Mbps 0.79s 53.3ms 5.3Mbps 1.5Mbps 1.11s 63.6ms
Glasgow 16.4Mbps 11.8Mbps 0.82s 59.0ms 6.6Mbps 1.7Mbps 1.02s 68.2ms
Edinburgh 16.8Mbps 12.3Mbps 0.80s 60.3ms 7.8Mbps 1.7Mbps 1.03s 69.4ms

Using smartphones, Ofcom engineers performed 210,000 tests of 4G and 3G mobile broadband on the carrier networks EE, Vodafone, O2, and Three. Tests were carried out both indoors and outdoors across five UK cities (London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Edinburgh) between March and June 2014.

Ofcom defines its test categories as follows:

  • Download speed - the speed it takes to download data from the web. Measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
  • Upload speed - how long it takes to upload content such as pictures or videos. Megabits per second (Mbps).
  • Web browsing speed - the time it takes to load a standard web page. Measured in seconds (s).
  • Latency - the time it takes data to travel to a third-party server and back, which is important to reduce delays when making video calls, for example. Measured in milliseconds (ms).