Belfast named best UK city for mobile

Image credit: iStockphoto/benkrut
Belfast is the best city in the UK for mobile speed and performance, but London finishes bottom of the table among the UK's 16 biggest urban areas.

Belfast has been named as the best city in the UK when it comes to coverage of 4G and 3G mobile connectivity, with the Northern Irish capital scored well for both speed and reliability.

This is according to tests conducted by RootMetrics and IHS Markit, which performed almost 600,000 tests across 16 UK cities using store-bought Samsung Galaxy S8 devices. It found that major cities across Scotland and northern England also performed well in the rankings – but London came last for overall performance.

Belfast took the top spot by scoring 96.3 out of 100 in the overall performance chart, ahead of Edinburgh (95.9), Sheffield and Glasgow (both 95.6). 

London, on the other hand was bottom of the table for both overall performance (92.5), data performance (90.8) and network reliability (96.4). It was also second-from bottom in the other two categories tested, call performance and text performance, where it was only kept off the bottom spot by Newcastle and Hull respectively.

Kevin Hasley, head of product at RootMetrics and executive director of performance benchmark at IHS Markit, said: "As the capital city and business epicentre of the UK, you would expect connectivity that is equal to or better than rivals, but that hasn’t been the case to this point. 5G may well be the cure London needs, but currently, performance in other cities like Belfast and Edinburgh has been stronger."

RootMetrics noted that while performance in London was generally good, with the capital still scoring in the 90s in most categories, it's overall figures were dragged down by comparatively slow speeds on the O2 network, and by comparatively high rates of dropped and blocked calls by both O2 and Vodafone.

Manchester, which is the UK's second-largest city after London, also saw strong all-round performance, with an overall score of 95.5. It also ranked in first place for both call and text performance, and second for network reliability. However, its overall performance rating was affected by poor results in data and network speed performance, which RootMetrics gain attributed to O2's relatively slow speeds.

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