4G availability tables April 2024

These days, a decent 4G connection is vitally important. But with the roll-out of 5G just around the corner, we found that 4G coverage and availability throughout the UK just don't match up...

For example, according to Opensignal's latest Mobile Network Experience Report, places like London and Yorkshire have ample availability, but leave much to be desired when it comes to quality. On the other hand, availability in Wales is lower than other areas of the UK, whereas quality is above average.

Indeed, regulatory body Ofcom aims to improve 4G coverage to UK destinations by 2022 and right now, the national average for 4G coverage is 20.45 Mbps. But, with so many places in the UK lagging behind, is this really an achievable goal?

When putting the data together, we focused on two metrics: availability and speed from the UK’s big four providers - Three, EE, O2 and Vodafone.

Here’s what we found:

East Midlands

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

18.5

72.6

EE

28.2

89.8

O2

15.6

82.9

Vodafone

16.3

78.7

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 20.68

Average Availability 4G % = 82.02

Eastern

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

19.2

73

EE

30.4

89.2

O2

15.7

82

Vodafone

12.9

76.9

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 21

Average Availability 4G % = 81.42

London

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

12.01

83.6

EE

32.67

91

O2

12.25

84.8

Vodafone

25.81

87.6

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 22.89

Average Availability 4G % = 87.09

North East

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

21.8

77.8

EE

29

91.9

O2

14.6

89.2

Vodafone

14.7

86.1

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 21.33

Average Availability 4G % = 86.99

North West

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

18.9

76.1

EE

30.1

89.8

O2

12.5

86

Vodafone

29.3

87.6

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 23.05

Average Availability 4G% = 85.12

Northern Ireland

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

20.6

74.6

EE

28.9

86.8

O2

13.6

83.3

Vodafone

17.9

85.6

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 19.13

Average Availability 4G % = 82.63

Scotland

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

18.4

70.4

EE

28.9

88.4

O2

14.9

84.2

Vodafone

21.1

82.1

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 21.61

Average Availability 4G % = 82

South East

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

18.7

70.9

EE

30

89.4

O2

14.2

81.2

Vodafone

16.5

80.4

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 20.54

Average Availability 4G% = 81.18

South West

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

17.4

66.5

EE

26

85.7

O2

12.5

80

Vodafone

24.3

79.6

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 20.65

Average Availability 4G % = 79.06

Wales

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

17.4

67.3

EE

26.8

86.1

O2

13.7

82.8

Vodafone

24

80.5

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 21.56

Average Availability 4G % = 80.17

West Midlands

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

17.8

76.8

EE

28.5

90

O2

13.4

84.8

Vodafone

24.2

83.2

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 21.87

Average Availability 4G % = 84.4

Yorkshire and Humber

Operator

Download Speed (Mbps)

Availability 4G (%)

Three

17.6

77

EE

29

90.9

O2

14.9

88.7

Vodafone

15.5

86.4

Average Download Speed (Mbps) = 20.28

Average Availability 4G % = 86.01

Conclusion

As you can see, Yorkshire and Humber sits at the bottom of the pile for download speeds, while availability in the region is fairly high. 

In short, then, it’s clear that the region is far from reaching comfortable download speeds.  Still, if you live in the area, or somewhere else with poor 4G download speeds or availability, there are a few things you can do to improve your speeds.

How to improve 4G signal

First, wherever you are, check to see if if free Wi-Fi is available. After all, these days most retailers and restaurants in the UK offer a free WiFi connection. 

Moreover, a decent 4G mobile booster can also improve your signal quality. You can pick one up fairly cheaply, though it is important to get one that supports the correct frequency in your area. Contact your carrier before you splash out on a booster to find out which frequency you'll need.

Lastly, don’t forget that if you struggle to pick up a decent 4G signal in your area,  you'll likely get 3G signal in its place. Indeed, if you’re out and about in an area with poor 4G signal, your phone - providing it has the functionality - will automatically revert to 3G instead. While this isn't always ideal, 3G signal should be enough to the browse the web and reply to important emails.