According to a report by Global Wireless Solutions, 5G connections in the UK are falling back to 4G where the signal is weak. The network has definitely increased the average speed across the board, yet the coverage has been spotty at best.
5G in the UK
The next generation network was introduced in the UK in May 2019 by EE. The data provided by GWS was collected via a national drive to test the speed and network quality. The UK has 4 major network providers in the country, namely, Vodafone, Three (3), EE and O2.
The report noted that even though 5G covered 37% of the market, only around 20% of the connections were being completed on the same. Vodafone led the market in terms of the ratio of connections made via 5G with 75% of the total connections. Three, EE and O2 used the same only about 50% of the time.
The study also showed that these telecom operators are prioritizing cities in terms of their rollout than other areas. This sounds obvious – but these telecos have neglected motorways altogether. This could be a hindrance in future applications such as autonomous driving and AI-based traffic management.
The service was noted to be present in 40% of the cities, 16% of the towns and only 11% of the motorways. And 5G was being employed in only 23%, 8% and 5% respectively.
5G Speeds Across the Board
GWS noted, somewhat obviously, that wherever the new service was made available, the network speeds went up by significant amounts. The data was delivered at 33 Mbps on an average in areas where 5G was not there and more than 150 Mbps where the same was available. GWS estimated that for an operator to achieve 100 Mbps baseline in a market, the operators have to have a 40% coverage in the market.
In Manchester, Vodafone managed a throughput of upwards of 160 Mbps with 70% market coverage. This is just an example provided by GWS to back their estimation.
Customer Satisfaction with 5G
Reliability still remains an unanswered question for the telecos in the UK. 39% of the O2’s customers were “always satisfied” with the service, compared with the others O2 comes out on top.
It is a hard ask to be always satisfactory to the customers but this establishes a baseline figure.