Michelle Donegan is a tech writer who has covered the communications industry for more than 25 years on both sides of the pond. Having worked for various industry titles, including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and Light Reading, she specializes in mobile network technology trends.
As operators continue to roll out 5G across the UK, there has been a slew of tests that reveal the new technology’s download speed, latency and availability. The latest results come from Ookla (which runs Speedtest.net) and show that 5G is more than 450% faster in the UK than all the other mobile technologies combined.
Ookla compared the mobile network speeds among all UK countries, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The results show that mean 5G download speeds are nearly uniform with only a 6 Mbps difference between the fastest country -- which was England at 177.41 Mbps -- and the slowest -- which was Northern Ireland at 171.6 Mbps.
Average 5G upload speeds ranged from 15.76 Mbps in Scotland to 23.11 Mbps in Northern Ireland. The UK average upload speed improvement compared to other mobile technologies was 71%.
Ookla, which also maps 5G deployments worldwide, notes that 5G is available in 29 cities across the UK, most of which are in England (as of November 8). England currently leads 5G deployments with service available in 22 cities, while three cities in Scotland have 5G services, three in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.
- For the latest on UK 5G coverage, see our coverage guide.
Which operator is fastest?
EE had the fastest average 5G download speeds (205.02 Mbps), followed by O2 (159.48 Mbps) and Vodafone (140.15 Mbps). But Vodafone achieved the lowest latency result on 5G, which was 21 milliseconds (ms). EE and O2 had very close latency times of 25 ms and 26 ms, respectively. Three was not included in the data because at the time measurements were taken, the operator was only offering 5G fixed broadband services in London.
Which capital city has fastest 5G?
Ookla also analysed the speed tests by operator and capital cities. In London, EE offered the fastest 5G download time (207.06 Mbps). In Cardiff, Vodafone was fastest at 181.96 Mbps. In Belfast and Edinburgh, speed test results were only available for EE, as Ookla explained that O2 was not included because it did not meet the minimum sample requirements for the tests.