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Mobile phone coverage across the UK

Mobile phone coverage in the East Midlands

By Jon Barrow

Article 10 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 Midlands 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.

A joint investigation by Which? and OpenSignal has found that 4G mobile phone users in the East Midlands can access a 4G signal less than half the time (49.9%). Although still more than 10 percentage points  better than the worst-performing region (Wales – 35.4%), this sub-50% availability puts the East Midlands in ninth place out of 12 in our regional rankings.

Londoners have the best chance of getting a 4G signal, with our data showing that they can get a signal 69.7% of the time.

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

The East Midlands may offer mediocre 4G availability, but things improved when we looked at speed.

The region came third in our rankings of 4G speeds, with customers achieving an average download speed of 22.8Mbps. That's only a shade slower than the fastest region, Northern Ireland (23.3Mbps).

Best network for 4G availability in the East Midlands

We also looked at the performance of the four major networks – Vodafone, EE, Three and O2 – and found that EE customers have the best chance of getting a 4G signal in the East Midlands. 4G is available 59.9% of the time on EE’s network, while Three offers the worst availability at just 34.9%.

3G availability and speeds in the East Midlands

If 4G isn't available, then customers will usually drop on to the slower 3G network.

The East Midlands is in the middle of the pack when it comes to 3G or 4G availability – phone users can expect to get a signal 83.2% of the time.

4G speeds in the East Midlands are high, and the same goes for 3G/4G speeds. 13Mbps was the average result in our tests when we looked at people that moved between the two networks. Only four regions performed better.

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.