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Three is SLOWEST for 4G but BEST for browsing, says Ofcom

Network apparently built for data is out-performed by EE, O2 and Vodafone in latest Ofcom 3G and 4G speed and reliability tests

Three has the slowest average 3G and 4G speeds in the UK according to new data released by Ofcom. EE came out on top in the latest round of mobile data speed and reliability tests carried out across the country. Despite slower speeds Ofcom rated Three the fastest network for web browsing.

The communications regulator looked at the performance of mobile data services on EE, O2, Three and Vodafone as part of its 4G and 3G research (PDF).

Ofcom found that 4G networks massively out-performed 3G networks with download speeds more than twice as fast. The overall average speed for 4G in the UK is 15.1Mbps with 3G averaging 6.1Mbps. Upload speeds on 4G average 12.4Mbps with 3G wy back on 1.6Mbps.

Despite having a reputation of being excellent for data, Three had the slowest average 4G and 3G speeds. EE recorded the fastest average download speed on 4G at 18.4Mbps, with O2 on 15.6, Vodafone on 14.3 and Three on 10.7Mbps. EE and Vodafone were almost tied for the fastest average download speed on 3G at 6.8 and 6.7Mbps with O2 on 5.6 and Three on 5.2Mbps.

According to Ofcom it was Three that had the fastest average web browsing speed over both 3G and 4G, partly thanks to its good performance in latency tests. The time taken to load a standard web page on Three was 0.62 seconds on 4G and 0.93 seconds on 3G. EE had the second fastest browsing speed on 3G and 4G.

The figures are based on 210,000 individual tests carried out by Ofcom engineers between March and June 2014. The tests were conducted in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow in areas where all four networks had both 4G and 3G coverage.

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