4G speeds not quite as fast as promised

4G speeds not quite as fast as promised

There has been a lot of hype and controversy over the introduction of Everything Everywhere's (EE's) 4G network in the UK, with many claiming the superfast technology would revolutionise mobile broadband in the UK.

Eleven cities have been earmarked for the initial network, which went live last week, with consumers and business users alike starting to take advantage of the increased speed it offers over the 3G network.

But just hours after it was launched by EE, questions were being raised about claims that 4G is five-times faster than the current networks.

An EE spokesman denied that its 3G networks had been slowed down to create a favourable comparison, noting: "This is the fastest network roll-out of its kind anywhere in the world. By the time other networks finally launch their own 4G services, EE will have an unrivalled 4G network and will continue to build on this."

Initial reviews and online comments from users suggested that some of the speeds achieved were not quite as advertised, with some commentators even suggesting that 3G connections had been slowed down to make the new service look quicker by comparison.

People signing up for the service are being promised speeds of between eight and 12 megabytes per second (Mbps), as fast as the average home broadband connection, which should be enough to allow them to download items, watch videos and view large documents without a long wait.

The BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones was one of the people who spent time testing out the 4G speeds in London and Manchester, two of the cities where the network has been launched.

He revealed some good results, with high speeds in central London, central Manchester and Stockport as he travelled on a train back to the capital. He saw poor results the further away from central London he went, with services falling away to the north and west.

"While I've seen some breathtakingly fast results, there has also been some worrying evidence that the speed and extent of the 4G network is being oversold," he concluded.