Birmingham has the fastest internet in the UK: We reveal which cities have the best download speeds

Birmingham has the fastest mobile internet download speeds of any city in Britain, new data shows.

With an aggregate median download speed of 28.9Mbps, the West Midlands city was quicker than any of its rivals, according to research from RootMetrics.

Liverpool came a close second with speeds of 28.8Mbps while Manchester finished third with average speeds of 26.7Mbps.

Although some may expect London to have some of the fastest speeds, it came ninth of the list, with Coventry, which is nearly 18 times smaller, beating the capital to come fifth.

Birmingham has been named as the city in the UK with the fastest internet download speeds

To find the fastest and slowest speeds, network testing firm RootMetrics took an average of download speeds recorded on EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone in each of the 16 most populated metropolitan areas in the UK and ranked them in the last six months of 2019. 

It revealed that Birmingham’s impressive speed was largely due to EE’s incredibly fast median download speed of 51.6Mbps.

With this speed, downloading a 600MB video from Netflix would take less than two minutes. 

However, on the networks of O2 or Three, downloading the same movie would take between five and eight minutes. 

Not only did Birmingham have the highest speed, it also demonstrated one of the biggest increases in speed since the last RootMetrics data collection, with an increase of 4.2Mbps.

It was joined by Hull, which also had an increase of 3.6Mbps, thanks to faster speeds from EE and O2.

Graph showing how much quicker a video can be downloaded if the download speed is quicker

Graph showing how much quicker a video can be downloaded if the download speed is quicker

However, Three’s median download speed of 7.1Mbps in Hull was the slowest speed RootMetrics recorded across all UK metros in the second half of 2019. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Newcastle came last on the list for fastest download speeds, with an average of 20.1Mbps.

Meanwhile, Sheffield and Leeds and Bradford both came just behind with median speeds of 20.7Mbps.

Clearly, which network customers are with has a big impact on how quick their speeds are. 

For example, Manchester residents will find that subscribers of EE or Vodafone will likely have a faster mobile experience than customers of O2 or Three.  

Quick: Birmingham’s speed was largely due to EE’s fast median download speed of 51.6Mbps

Quick: Birmingham’s speed was largely due to EE’s fast median download speed of 51.6Mbps

Glasgow’s fourth-fastest aggregate median download speed of 26.7Mbps was also largely propped up by EE and Vodafone, with EE registering an outstanding median download speed of 41.3Mbps and Vodafone clocking a strong 39.0Mbps.  

On the other hand, O2 and Three weren’t nearly as fast, recording median download speeds of 11.4Mbps and 14.9Mbps, respectively. 

Similarly, in Leeds and Bradford, customers with Three saw speeds of 15.2Mbps compared to EE’s strong 36.2Mbps.  

5G results 

Although 4G provides relatively fast speeds across the country, especially those from EE and Vodafone, it is likely to get much quicker when 5G is fully rolled out. 

This is especially likely to be the case with London, which, despite only coming ninth in the list, is expected to rise much higher after the introduction of 5G.

While 5G results weren’t factored into London’s – or any cities – aggregate median download speed, EE and Vodafone delivered incredibly fast 5G median download speeds of 149.2Mbps and 97.7Mbps, respectively, in the capital.

Speed is clearly important for mobile users with 71 per cent saying slow data performance significantly reduces productivity whilst another 40 per cent said slow data performance leads to a loss of customers, according to another survey by RootMetrics.

However, 5G is not expected to be present everywhere until 2021 or 2022, as it takes new network technologies time to reach their full capabilities. 


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