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Rural areas in the UK lack 4G coverage

(Image credit: Image Credit: GaudiLab / Shutterstock)

Mobile workers operating in rural areas may have a more difficult time being productive on the web, as new research has revealed that only half of the UK is actually covered by 4G.

For instance, mobile workers in Wales - which is the worst region for 4G accessibilit -y can only connect to high speed mobile networks 35.4 per cent of the time. This is half as bad as in London where users looking to use their smartphones for business can connect to 4G 69.7 per cent of the time.

Ofcom recently released a report in which it found that over 45 per cent of mobile connections used 4G service at the end of 2015. This figure is likely to rise as the demand for high speed internet on mobile is expected to increase as users crave to accomplish more on their smartphones, tablets and laptops on the go.

The managing director of home and legal at Which?, Alex Neill noted how rural areas have fallen behind, saying: “This latest research confirms that the rest of the UK is lagging behind London when it comes to accessing 4G signals. It's clear mobile providers must do much more to improve their networks if they are to provide greater access to their customers.”

London may be the best area for mobile workers to connect to 4G while working away from the office, it has the lowest average when it comes to 4G download speeds of all of the 12 UK regions included in the study. The average download speed in London is 18.8 Mbps which is lower that Northern Ireland's 23.3 Mbps.

OpenSignal's performance review of network providers Three, EE, 02 and Vodafone found that EE has both the best 4G speed and accessibility. Three was rated the lowest in the review with its users only able to access 4G on average 44 per cent of the time. The chief executive and co-founder of Open Signal, Brendan Gill responded to the results of its performance review, saying: “There was a lot of good revealed in our data about UK operators. But there definitely are still some areas in which the UK needs to improve. Finding a 4G signal outside of London can still be tricky.”

Mobile workers and those that are often forced to work away from the office due to the nature of their jobs should consider the results of OpenSignal's review and the data available on UK mobile carriers when choosing which carrier best suits their needs and region.    

Image Credit: GaudiLab / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.