Bristol bottom of mobile phone coverage list despite investment

Mobile phones

Belfast and Cardiff ranked amongst the best cities to get a mobile phone signal while Bristol finished in last place, in a full-scale analysis of UK phone coverage. 

Affordable Mobiles, winners of the Uswitch Mobile Reseller of the Year award, found that all of the cities Belfast and Cardiff topped the list, alongside London and Birmingham, with a score of 4.2 out of 5 based on general 5G and 4G signal coverage.

And despite major plans to introduce two major 5G projects in Bristol, at a cost of £15 million, the city is amongst the four cities in joint last place with the worst signal in the UK.  

However, Bristol’s signal levels should see an improvement soon with the Government Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport naming it as a 5G ‘testbed’ in a nationally coordinated programme which will continue to be rolled out during 2021.

Southampton, Derby and Wakefield were other cities with a low coverage score with a 1 out of 5 rating.

All the locations that were examined were judged on a number of different metrics such as overall 4G/ 5G signal rating as well as the signal on several best-selling handsets including the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21.

Data was gathered from two of the nation’s leading network providers with each metric scoring on a scale of 1-5 based on signal rating and final scores calculated taking the average for each location.   

The research also looked into the most popular staycation destinations across the UK, finding that it was the larger cities coming out on top with York and Bath both scoring 4 out of 5 for coverage. 

A large portion of the 20 staycation locations tied in second place with a score of 2.5, including some extremely rural areas including Loch Lomond, Isle of Skye and the Yorkshire Dales, showing you can now get signal almost anywhere in the UK. 

However, although coverage across the UK has improved drastically over the last decade or so, there are still a few places where no signal is available for those looking to completely switch off. 

These coverage ‘blackspots’ include Stonybreck, Foula, Isle of Canna (all located in the Shetland Islands) Rosedale Abbey in North Yorkshire, Alwinton in Northumberland, the Isle of Man and Scottish Border town Ettrick.

Says Jessica Canning, Mobile expert at Affordable Mobiles:

“It’s really interesting to see how coverage in the UK varies from place to place, with the study giving us some surprising results. 

“Looking at the very rural staycation destinations, it is a pleasant surprise that most have good coverage levels and shows how the UK has improved its coverage levels across the board in the last few years.

“If we looked at the same data 10 years ago, it would be a major shock if Loch Lomond or the Isle of Skye had any coverage at all, now it’s clear to see the investment is paying off and soon there will be very few places in Britain where you won’t be able to get any signal.”

To find out more about the research, visit: 

Chris Price
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