London’s slow 3G mobile internet speed prompts Olympics meltdown warning

07:00 01 February 2012

Smartphone users in London are struggling against the slowest mobile internet speed out of the 10 largest cities in the UK

Smartphone users in London are struggling against the slowest mobile internet speed out of the 10 largest cities in the UK

PA Wire/Press Association Images

London is being left in the “slow lane” and faces a “3G meltdown” during the 2012 Olympics because of poor mobile internet speed.

In a study by price comparison website uSwitch, London was found to have the slowest speed of the UK’s 10 largest cities.

The capital ranked a lowly 24th out of 30 cities tested, behind Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Leeds for average 3G speed.

Based on consumer tests carried out using its 3G speed app, uSwitch says locals, businesses and tourists visiting London for the Olympics will have to make do with an average 3G mobile broadband download speed of just 2.71 megabits per second (Mbps).

This is 24 per cent slower than Portsmouth, the fastest city in the UK.

uSwitch warns that with the extra strain during the Olympics much of London’s 3G network could grind to a halt.

Ernest Doku, technology expert at, said: “Despite government efforts to bring Britain into the digital age, it seems the road to seamless telecoms infrastructure is not an altogether smooth one, with consumers reporting patchy 3G coverage, and tests revealing that major UK cities, including London, are being left in the slow lane.

“There is clearly a long road to travel before smartphone and tablet users can enjoy a

web browsing experience akin to that of superfast broadband currently being rolled

out across the country to homes and businesses.

“Advancements in mobile communications technology and the rollout of fourth-generation mobile internet (4G) will be crucial if Britain hopes to remain an economic force on the world stage and compete in the global marketplace.

“More and more businesses are becoming reliant on mobile internet, but without adequate investment across networks, aspirations of mobile broadband speeds of up to 20 times faster than are currently achieved will be just a pipe dream.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson previously stated that while the Olympics will cause a “big drain” on the capital’s mobile phone capacity he was confident networks will cope.

A recent uSwitch survey of more than 1,000 smartphone users found many were disappointed with their 3G connection and speeds.

Of those polled, 39 per cent said they were not happy with 3G speeds; 47 per cent said coverage was ‘patchy’ or ‘non existent’ and 42 per cent said they had daily problems with connections.

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