London lags behind New York on mobile broadband speeds

Mobile broadband networks in New York are up to four times faster than those found in London, according to extensive testing research.

Watching a movie on your mobile in Manhattan is on average four times faster than in London, according to independent "on-the-ground" data from testing company RootMetrics.

From nearly 16,707 on-the-ground tests conducted across both cities - 11,413 in London and 5,294 in New York - the RootMetrics report shows download and upload mobile broadband speeds are "significantly faster" in New York.

The average download speed in New York was 8.5mbps (megabits per second) as opposed to a paltry 2.265mbps in London. The average upload (sending) speed in New York was 4mbps but only 1mbps in London.

“With mobile internet use soaring, having a fast, reliable data connection has become as important as having a consistent mobile signal,” said RootMetrics CEO Bill Moore. “It’s quite amazing to find such a vast disparity in services between two cities that are rival destinations for global business and tourism.”

Even comparisons across London and outlying areas threw up wide discrepancies in mobile internet services. For example the fastest internet speed wasn’t to be found in the financial centre of the City or the jazzy centre of Soho, but on Blackwood Avenue in Chingford Mount, on the outer edge of London, where one test on the O2 network clocked a blistering 12.95 megabits per second (Mbps).

For London’s commuters the sleepy village of Snodland, Kent returned the fastest speed with two tests recording 7.3 Mbps on Three’s network.

Out of the 70,864 tests undertaken across the Greater London area and surrounding commuter towns, Three was a clear winner in terms of the best overall service, with O2 second, Vodafone coming third, Orange fourth and T-Mobile fifth.

The claim that Three is the most reliable mobile broadband network in the UK is consistently made by that operator itself. However, the unscientific evidence collected by this author shows that Three's network cannot be relied on entirely.

The author works entirely on mobile broadband when not in range of a free WiFi signal and uses networks from both Three and Vodafone. In the centre of (Old) York, North Yorkshire where he is usually based when not on the road, it is impossible to watch an uninterrupted video clip on the Three network, as either a poor signal, latency (delay) and/or possibly a crowded network crash the viewing.

There have been problems with the Three network on basic web access in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Huddersfield raising the question of whether there is a north/south mobile broadband divide when it comes to the best UK mobile broadband operator? 

The full London RootScore report is available to download from the firm's website, where Londoners can also access free, detailed coverage and service maps, and download a free smartphone application to run their own access tests.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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