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Mobile phone coverage across the UK

Mobile phone coverage in the East of England

By Jon Barrow

Article 11 of 13

New data from Which? and Opensignal uncovers the reality of 4G coverage throughout the UK. Find out what it's really like in the East of England and see which provider has the best 4G network.

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The information contained on the page is based on mobile phone coverage from June to August 2016. You can read more up to date analysis in our 2017 national report and 2017 city breakdown.

4G mobile phone users in the East of England can only get a 4G signal 49.9% of the time on average according to unique research from Which? and OpenSignal. That may be more than 10 percentage points  better than the worst performing region, but it's still a poor result and means that the East of England came 10th out of the 12 regions in our regional rankings.

London is where phone users have the best chance of getting a 4G signal, with our data showing that phone users there can get a signal 69.7% of the time. In Wales, people are typically restricted to slower networks, only able to access 4G 35.4% of the time.

Find out which network is the best where you live with our free coverage checker.

If you can find a 4G signal the East of England, then you will get average speeds that are faster than those in most other areas.

We found that 4G customers in the region received an average download speed of 22.3Mbps – that's only 1Mbps slower than customers experienced in Northern Ireland, the fastest region. And it's faster than many home broadband connections.

Best network for 4G availability in the East of England

In terms of network performance in the East of England, EE emerged as the clear victors. Its customers have the best chance of getting a 4G signal (available 59.8% of the time), while Three, with a meagre 36%, offers the worst availability.

This ranking, with EE providing the best 4G availability and Three the worst, mirrored the national picture – though availability for all four networks was better nationally than it was in the region.

3G availability and speeds in the East of England

When 4G isn't available, customers will typically drop on to the slower 3G network. While customers in the East of England have a much better chance of getting a 3G or 4G signal than just getting a 4G one (82.1% vs 49.9%), it's still among the five worst-performing areas.

Similarly, download speed for customers using 3G and 4G networks are also on the low side: at 12.5Mbps it's in the bottom four alongside Wales, the South West and Scotland.

Our analysis

The information used in this analysis comes from a regular collaboration between Which? and coverage experts OpenSignal, and is based on more than 500m data readings taken from people that have downloaded the free OpenSignal app.

By tracking 28,841 UK app users around the clock between June and August 2016, we're able to give a definitive account of the real mobile phone user experience. We're able to accurately report on network speeds and to chart our own metric, 'availability', which looks at the proportion of time that users have a network connection.

We think that this unique availability measurement, which determines whether the network is doing its job by providing a connection where it's needed most, is far more valuable than simply reporting predicted coverage based on computer models or one-off drive-by tests.

Read more about our approach, and download the free app, on the OpenSignal website.

Which network do you say is best?

Once you know which networks offer the best coverage where you live and work, you'll want to know which ones offer the best customer service and value for money. We asked 4,100 members of the public to tell us about what they love and hate about their network.

Read the results of our best mobile networks survey to find out the winners and the losers.

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