UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has published its annual Connected Nations
report, analysing the availability of mobile communications services across the country.
It notes that all the UK’s major mobile network operators continued to roll out new 5G coverage this year. There are now around 3,000 5G transmitters across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which is ten times as many as last year. 87% are in England, 7% in Scotland and 3% in Wales and 3% in Northern Ireland.
There’s outdoor 4G coverage from all four networks for 97.5% of UK properties, although this is weighted towards towns and cities: it’s just 87% outside rural properties. However, 8.6% of the UK’s land mass can be described as 4G ‘not spots’, with no mobile network available.
Despite usage changing due to the coronavirus pandemic and increased home-based working, the number of reported network resilience and security problems was largely similar to recent years.
The report also looks at fixed-line broadband service, noting that 7.9 million UK homes – 27% of UK properties – can now access gigabit-speed broadband (downloads of at least 1000Mb/s). Northern Ireland and Scotland have the highest availability, with 56% and 42% of homes respectively able to choose these services. The UK's current average broadband speed is 72 Mbit/s. 0.6% of properties across the UK (around 190,000) still cannot get broadband download speeds of at least 10Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1Mbit/s. Some of these properties are also unable to connect to 4G indoors: Ofcom estimates 43,000 premises in the UK are unable to access either a decent fixed-line broadband service or good indoor 4G coverage.