London 5G speeds are 20% slower than Birmingham, but EE coverage hits 60%

(Image credit: Future)

5G technology is slowly spreading throughout the UK, and RootMetrics want to test the new network under real-world conditions. And in its third 5G test to date, with Birmingham and Cardiff already covered, RootMetrics decided to take a look at 5G performance in London, to see what's currently on offer. 

How fast is 5G in London? 

Unsurprisingly, 5G speed in London are much faster than 4G speeds. EE and Vodafone boast extremely impressive speeds in comparison to non-5G mode and bring some seriously fast download speeds. 

EE’s 5G download speed was more than three times faster than its non-5G download speeds. Vodafone wasn’t far behind being nearly three times faster. 

How fast is 5G in London?

(Image credit: RootMetrics)

Connecting to 5G after initial roll-outs in London is still a challenge as coverage isn’t particularly broad. However, if we are seeing speeds this fast already, it certainly points towards a hopeful future for 5G. 

Having said this, London speeds aren’t currently as fast as those RootMetrics recorded in Birmingham and Cardiff. EE delivered 5G download speeds of 185.7 Mbps in Birmingham and 163.1 Mbps in Cardiff. Vodafone registered a 5G download speed of 112.2 Mbps in Birmingham and 113.6 Mbps in Cardiff.

 5G is changing the video experience

These super-fast download speeds are perfect for users in London that love video. Downloading a 600MB video would only take 32.9 seconds at EE’s 5G speed and just 49.9 seconds at Vodafone’s 5G speed.  

(Image credit: RootMetrics)

This means that people could download content much faster and enjoy it almost instantly. Streaming services are also likely to run much smoother at these speeds.  

Is 5G in London readily available? 

Whilst seeing extremely fast 5G speeds is great and often exciting, this doesn’t mean much if it’s hardly available. RootMetrics found that 5G has limited availability in London, however, EE demonstrates a lot more coverage than Vodafone. EE has a 60.6% coverage whilst Vodafone lags behind with only a 21.7% coverage. 

(Image credit: RootMetrics)

This limited coverage is to be expected in the early days of 5G and London still has more coverage than Cardiff or Birmingham. This could explain why Cardiff and Birmingham have faster speeds than in London, as RootMetrics found that low availability percentage can still lead to much faster speeds. 

How does London 5G compare? 

Maximum 5G speeds in London are currently trailing other cities, but coverage is more widespread in the capital. Arguably, coverage is more important, as long as speeds are significantly faster than that of 4G, which they are. 

And it makes sense that the broader the coverage, speeds will have to take a slight dip. 

(Image credit: RootMetrics)

5G will be a game changer

Kevin Hasley, Head of Product at RootMetrics and Executive Director of Performance Benchmarking said: “5G will be a game-changer for consumers and businesses alike, and we’re impressed with the performance we’ve found as the 5G race kicks off in earnest in the UK. 5G is off to a strong start in the UK and Londoners should be especially happy with how much 5G availability we’re finding so soon after deployments. In fact, 5G availability for EE in London was better than anything we’ve seen to date across global testing in the UK, US, and South Korea.”

What RootMetrics has found is certainly reassuring, with 5G well on the way to transforming the mobile experience. It has taken huge leaps on 4G, and will only continue to improve in to 2020.

Fiona Leake

Fiona discovered her love for investing and making money from a young age. Since then this interest has grown and now she loves writing about investing and business, and follows the 5G market closely. She is also a technology enthusiast, and so they tend to be her favourite investments.