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One in three premises can access 4G in UK, says Ofcom

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More than a third of the UK's outdoor premises can access 4G LTE services by the country's three biggest operators, new data from Ofcom has revealed. 

The country's regulator issued its annual infrastructure report this morning, which revealed 28 percent of premises were complete "not-spots" with no 4G coverage from any operator.

Indoor coverage fared worse, with only 20 percent of premises covered by EE, O2 and Vodafone and 37 percent receiving no 4G signal whatsoever.

Given the focus of operators to introduce LTE first to built up areas, it was no surprise that urban areas fared better than rural. The three operators provided outdoor coverage to 40 percent of outdoor urban premises, compared to seven percent in more remote parts of the country.

EE, which got a headstart on its rivals, launching 4G in late 2012, has better coverage than its competitors, covering 68 percent of outdoor premises, compared to O2 (43 percent) and Vodafone (37 percent).

It also performed better indoors, covering 59 percent of premises, compared to O2 (38 percent) and Vodafone (32 percent).

However, there was no data from the UK's fourth biggest operator Three, with Ofcom claiming there were differences between the operator's data and its own field measurements. A spokesman said: "Our analysis of the data received indicates that at this point in time Three’s 4G coverage is lower than that of other MNOs.

Elsewhere in the report, Ofcom found there were 41,798 Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK, up 23.5 percent. Data per hotspot was 54GB, compared to 45GB in 2013.

Data usage among Britons was 1.5GB per year, up 46 percent on 2013.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “Digital infrastructure is crucial to the UK’s future. As a country we are continuing to make real progress, particularly in the roll out and take-up of superfast broadband and 4G mobile services.

"But there is more to be done. We need to continue asking whether collectively we are doing enough to build the infrastructure of the future, and to maintain the competition that benefits consumers and businesses."

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