4G internet is continuing to expand around the UK, despite having slowing down somewhat from 2012 predictions. With potential speeds of 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps, 4G is touted as a leap forward from 3G speeds for mobile phones and tablets, and could eventually solve issues with rural broadband speeds. At present, EE are the only 4G provider in the UK, with around 687,000 subscribers; the recent Ofcom auction of 4G spectrum space should see new competitors emerge in 2014. For the time being, what are the best cities for 4G coverage, and where are some of the best areas for 4G for business?
The capital remains the largest 4G ready area, with average speeds of 24 to 30 Mbps possible in most parts of the city; investment in superfast broadband has also been focused around Tech City in Shoreditch, a hub for startup IT companies. 4G tests are regularly carried out in London to gauge new services.
Early 4G tests were carried out at the Birmingham Science Park in Aston, with the city itself receiving 4G coverage in November 2012. Expanding 4G coverage and speeds has been a priority in the Midlands for attracting investment and new business.
EE launched its 4G mobile broadband service in Bristol last October, and has promised that internet speeds will continue to rise from a 20 Mbps average, with a 750 per cent speed increase predicted over the next few years.
Wales’ capital was switched on for 4G last year, and is one of the cities in the UK earmarked for doubled speeds as EE and other networks expand their coverage. Cardiff is also set to receive new free Wi-Fi hotspots for public buildings and businesses.
Both Glasgow and Edinburgh are the focus for Scottish 4G campaigns, which are aiming to reduce dependence on fixed line broadband in favour of mobile internet seven times the speed of current connections.
A northern flagship for 4G last year, Leeds has been recently joined by Sheffield as part of a series of cities that are expected to receive significant speed boosts above and beyond 20 Mbps in the next year.
Another northern city that’s set to receive 4G boosts, Liverpool has also used its growing tech infrastructure as a way of strengthening businesses and international connections.
This city was among the first to get superfast 4G broadband last year, and has been the subject of around £3.2 million in investment in improving connectivity for public and business communities, with support coming from the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce.
Belfast, Newcastle & Southampton
These cities are expected to receive a doubling up of their 4G speeds in the next year, with maximum potential speeds creeping up to 50 Mbps and beyond. Trials are ongoing, though, in terms of making 4G signals and devices more widely available.
It’s likely that at least 1 million people will be using 4G services by the end of 2014, with the arrival of competitors for EE next spring meaning that costs should lower across the market. To this end, mobile broadband could become more cost effective for homes and businesses than paying for a monthly land line.
About the Author:
Rosette writes about all things tech and smartphones. She recommends visiting DCL Mobile to learn more about 4G handsets and packages. Over the next year she hopes to be able to use 4G across the UK.
Image Credit: Danielle