New yorkers get 4x faster mobile internet than Londoners

London or New York? When it comes to bars, restaurants and shops the answer is up for debate. For mobile internet however, there’s no comparison. Watching a movie on your mobile in Manhattan is on average four times faster than in London, according to independent on-the-ground data from testing company RootMetrics.

From nearly 16,707 on-the-ground tests conducted across both cities – 11,413 in London as defined by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and 5,294 in New York including its five boroughs – the RootMetrics report shows conclusively that on average, download and upload mobile internet speeds are significantly faster in New York.

“With mobile internet use soaring, having a fast, reliable data connection has become as important as having a consistent mobile signal,” said RootMetrics CEO and President Bill Moore. “It’s quite amazing to find such a vast disparity in services between two cities that are rival destinations for global business and tourism.”

Even comparisons across London and outlying areas threw up wide discrepancies in mobile Internet service. For example, in Greater London, the fastest internet speed wasn’t to be found in the financial centre of the City or the media centre of Soho, but on Blackwood Ave in Chingford Mount where one test on O2 clocked a blistering 12.95 Mega-bits per second (Mbps). For London’s commuters, the sleepy village of Snodland, Kent returned the fastest speed with two tests recording 7.3 Mbps on Three’s network.

Commuters living in Chelmsford, Maidstone and Guildford can also feel aggrieved that they get on average significantly slower mobile internet – across all networks – than people living in Watford, Slough and Dorking, although there are some specific exceptions; Vodafone for example being head and shoulders the quickest in Chelmsford – and quickest overall for Greater London – yet bottom of the league in Guildford.

In fact, out of the 70,864 tests undertaken across the whole London area and surrounding commuter towns, mobile company Three was a clear winner in terms of best overall mobile operator (internet and text performance) for London and the surrounding areas. O2 was second, Vodafone third, Orange fourth and T-Mobile fifth.

Using the RootMetrics scoring system there was a 33 point gap between Three in first place (78) and T-Mobile in fifth (45) for mobile internet. On call performance it was impossible to declare an overall winner with only a four point difference between the scores.

Adds Moore: “Are Londoners getting a good deal on their mobile phones contracts? It’s hard to say. For customers who use a phone primarily as a phone, there’s little to differentiate each network. For mobile internet however, there are clearly significant issues with specific networks in specific areas. The power of our RootScore London report is that it gives consumers the power to make informed decisions about their mobile phone provider while at the same time giving operators vital information on what their customers are experiencing on the ground.

With 4G rolling out in the UK later this month, RootMetrics is already gearing up for a further comparison study having tested 78 US cities earlier in the year. With 4G being touted as a real boost to business, similar findings to this 3G report will be worrying for both London and Great Britain PLC.

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