UK Cities Report


September 2019

The word ‘5G’ has created such a buzz in the mobile industry for 2019 and has everyone excited about its potential to elevate stresses around data congestion and quality. As consumer habits change to a desire for more content from more platforms on more on-the-go devices, operators are having to create new, or tailor old, data plans to cater to these habits that also must include lower price points. 

However, a working version of 5G is still a while away and data consumption is not going to slow or decrease anytime soon, therefore operators on the 4G network must be able to give the best quality it can to its users, within its capabilities. 

In Tutela’s State of Mobile Networks report for the UK it showed EE as a strong contender against Tutela’s testing, meeting all requirements across Excellent and Core Consistent Quality, download speeds, upload speeds, and latency. 

To see how the four nationwide carriers on the 3G and 4G networks performed against the top 10 most populated cities of the UK, Tutela has collected and analyzed over 16 million speed tests and 259 million latency measurements, taken from over a billion unique iOS and Android smartphones between March 1st and August 31st 2019.

Key findings:

  • Glasgow had the best overall mobile network quality in the UK - with an Excellent Consistent Quality percentage of 78.4%, just ahead of Leicester at 77.6%.
  • London came in 10th place and last on our leader board with 74.4% Excellent Consistent Quality. 
  • Leicester has the fastest median download speeds with 14.5 Mbps. 
  • EE delivered the best quality in 8 out of the ten cities tested, while Vodafone is best provider for Excellent Consistent Quality in both Glasgow and Liverpool.

Jump to individual city results


1. Glasgow
2. Leicester
3. Liverpool
4. Newcastle Upon Tyne
5. Leeds

6. Birmingham urban area
7. Manchester
8. Bristol
9. Sheffield
10. London


Consistent Quality 

To more objectively evaluate when networks are (and are not) enabling users to do those things, Tutela has developed a standard called consistent quality. Simply put, it’s two sets of thresholds, called Excellent and Core. If a connection hits the Excellent standard, it’s sufficient for the most demanding mobile use-cases, like HD group video calling or 1080p video streaming.  A Core connection is good enough for SD video streaming, web browsing, emails, and VOIP calling, but users are more likely to experience delays or buffering when trying to use more demanding apps. Tutela bases the threshold values on the minimum performance requirements published by popular apps. We most recently updated our Consistent Quality threshold on September 1st, 2019.

Tutela’s consistent quality metric, as used in our reports, simply measures the percentage of time that users can hit the thresholds. The higher the number, the more often users have a Core or Excellent quality connection.

Excellent Quality

KPI Average download speed Average upload speed Latency Jitter Packet loss
Minimum acceptable value 5 Mbps 1.5 Mbps 50 ms 30 ms <1%


Core Quality

KPI Average download speed Average upload speed Latency Jitter Packet loss
Minimum acceptable value 1.5 Mbps 500 Kbps 100 ms 50 ms 5%


View report 


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