4G or Not 4G?

4G network EE is delivering a faster service indoors than outdoors, based on the results of tests carried out by Rootmetrics on EE’s 4G service in Manchester, one of the 11 cities where the service is currently available.

The RootMetrics results also reveal that the 4G service is only available in “urbanised Manchester”. No tests outside this area recorded the presence of 4G, so surrounding towns such as Wigan, for example, showed no evidence of 4G coverage.

In the area in which 4G was found, 40.2 per cent of total tests were on a 4G technology. In the US, says RootMetrics, deployment patterns of new 4G services tend to vary widely, with operators historically launching 4G within approximately 30 per cent to 60 per cent of a particular metropolitan area.

Isolating the 40.2 per cent of tests in which 4G was available, EE averaged 17 Mbps average download speed. Looking across tests (both those in which 4G was present and those in which it wasn’t), EE’s average download speeds were higher indoor than outdoor, at 9.7 Mbps and 8.6 Mbps respectively.

Inclusive of all tests, indoor upload speeds were again higher than outdoor upload speeds at 5.1 Mbps and 4.2 Mbps respectively. Finally, says RootMetrics, EE’s 4G rollout had no statistically significant effect on call success or failure rates.

“Although EE’s 4G service is much faster than any network currently available in the UK, our tests show that 4G connections are not yet widely available, even within a particular area,” said Rootmetrics CEO, Bill Moore. “This is not unusual, as our experience in the US has shown that operators historically launch 4G networks with anywhere between 30 per cent  to 60 per cent availability, and then build out from there. However, customers need to be aware of this, as there will be an expectation of blisteringly fast mobile internet speeds whenever they use their phones. Currently the urbanised Manchester level is just over 40 per cent 4G availability yet venture too far outside this zone and you’re back to 3G or worse.”

Rootmetrics says it plans to test more 4G services as they roll out across the UK and publishing the findings on its website free of charge. The company also has a free iOS and Android app which enables users to check the quality of their 3G and 4G coverage.