UK phones only able to access 4G ‘53% of the time’

UK phones only able to access 4G '53% of the time' (Georgijevic)

Smartphone users across the UK are on average only able to access 4G services just over half of the time (53 per cent).

That is the main finding of a new report by OpenSignal in conjunction with consumer watchdog Which?.

The data included in the study was gathered from thousands of smartphone owners through an app.

EE, which was the first company to set up a 4G network, was found to have the best coverage of 60.6 per cent, closely followed by O2 (59 per cent) and Vodafone (57 per cent).

Three was found to have the worst coverage with a rate of just 39.8 per cent.

However, despite compiling a ranking for each company, Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said there was little to cheer for any of the UK's major networks.

"Almost everyone now uses a mobile phone service and it's not good enough that the UK is lagging behind so many countries with our 4G network coverage.

"Increasing 4G access should be a priority for mobile providers and Ofcom must continue to push them to make this a reality."

The demand for 4G service has coincided with a rise in flexible and mobile working practices, with the digital economy requiring companies be far more agile in the way they approach their work.

The latest findings will come as a worry to firms that have bought into the concept of mobile working as a lack of 4G coverage means many companies will have to settle for the slower speeds of a 3G connection.

Investment in the necessary infrastructure is on the cards, but some experts haves suggested such plans may be held up by planning issues regarding the taller masts needed to provide wider levels of coverage.