UK 5G speeds among slowest in Europe

By Adrian Vincent - 2 Feb 2024, 18:45 UK 5G speeds among slowest in Europe

A new report from Opensignal reveals the UK is at the bottom of the table for 5G speeds and availability, ranking 22nd out of 25 European countries for both metrics.

In addition, average download speeds across 3G, 4G and 5G are also among the slowest in Europe, with only a modest increase over the previous year.

The study compared results from European countries over a 3 month period, spanning October to December 2023.

Clocking in at 118.1 Mbps, the UK ranked 22nd out of 25 for 5G speeds. Although this seems like a respectable amount on the surface, it pales in comparison to Denmark and Bulgaria, who achieved almost triple speeds with 301.8 Mbps and 288.9 Mbps, respectively. In fact, 9 European countries posted speeds above 200 Mbps, including France with 225.1 Mbps. Ireland, our closest neighbour, were over 39% faster, with 164.6 Mbps.

Country Speed (Mbps) Availability
Denmark 301.8 14.2%
Bulgaria 288.9 24%
Croatia 274.3 15.7%
Sweden 262.1 8.1%
Norway 253.4 12.5%
Finland 242.2 22.8%
Portgual 234.9 9.3%
France 225.1 16%
Slovenia 217.4 9.8%
Switzlerland 192.8 12.8%
Latvia 171.5 10.2%
Spain 170.1 14.2%
Austria 166.1 13.3%
Ireland 164.6 10.3%
Belgium 157.5 4.8%
Germany 152.6 10.7%
Slovakia 143.6 10.8%
Greece 142.8 14.4%
Netherlands 141.9 11.7%
Romania 133.1 7.4%
Italy 132.5 15.5%
UK 118.1 8.4%
Hungary 111.3 11.5%
Czech Republic 102.3 14.1%
Poland 75.1 13.6%

5G availability also paints a grim picture, with the UK ranking in 22nd place again, with a mere 8.4% geographic availability. Bulgaria and Finland have the highest availability, with 24% and 22.8%, respectively.

Unfortunately, average download speeds across 3G, 4G and 5G are just as bad. The UK ranked 29th out of 34 European countries, with average download speeds of 33 Mbps. Although this is a 10.74% gain over the previous year, it’s still one of the smallest increases, with the UK ranking 26th in this regard. Norway and Denmark posted the fastest average download speeds, with 102.3 Mbps and 98.8 Mbps, respectively. The biggest increase came from Latvia, who achieved a 44.88% gain, from 30.3 Mbps to 43.9 Mbps.

Country 2023 (Mbps) 2022 (Mbps) Increase
Norway 102.3 85.8 19.23%
Denmark 98.8 73.4 34.6%
Netherlands 81.7 79.7 2.51%
Finland 71.6 53.9 32.84%
Bulgaria 71.1 64.5 10.23%
Croatia 70.8 56.2 25.98%
Sweden 66.2 56.8 16.55%
Switzerland 60.3 59.5 1.34%
North Macedonia 58.2 42.3 37.59%
France 53.5 43.9 21.87%
Lithuania 52.6 46 14.35%
Estonia 52.2 42.4 23.11%
Germany 51.1 46.1 10.85%
Austria 49.9 42.5 17.41%
Portugal 47.5 42.6 11.5%
Serbia 45.5 38 19.74%
Slovakia 45.2 39.7 13.85%
Slovenia 45.1 38.6 16.84%
Latvia 43.9 30.3 44.88%
Belgium 43.8 38.8 12.89%
Albania 41.8 33 26.67%
Greece 41.3 34.1 21.11%
Montenegro 40.3 33.5 20.3%
Czech Republic 39.5 35.7 10.64%
Hungary 35.7 32.4 10.19%
Spain 34.8 30.4 14.47%
Ireland 33.5 26.5 26.42%
Romania 33.1 28 18.21%
UK 33 29.8 10.74%
Poland 32.8 29.4 11.56%
Italy 32.4 30.5 6.23%
Moldova 28.9 26.8 7.84%
Bosnia and Herzegovina 22 19 15.79%
Kosovo 18.6 18.4 1.09%

In mid-2020, the UK government required all UK networks to remove Huawei 5G infrastructure by 2027. Oliver Dowden, the digital secretary at the time, admitted the decision will set back 5G in the UK by 2 to 3 years, and will cost an extra £2bn.