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An Ofcom study into mobile broadband, conducted across five major urban areas, has highlighted the service benefits of super-fast 4G networks.

The media regulator studied speeds, coverage and latency across Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Newcastle and Poole/Bournemouth, where both 3G and 4G connectivity is available.

In these areas, 4G networks delivered an average download speed of 14.7Mb in March 2015, meaning it took 0.72 seconds to load a web page.

This compared with the 5.9Mb average and 1.04-second loading time achieved by 3G networks.

EE was found to be the fastest 4G provider, offering average download speeds of 18.6Mb, although Three was the quickest for web browsing (0.63 seconds to load a page).

In terms of coverage, EE led the way with 81 per cent of UK homes and businesses, up from 68 per cent in June 2014.

O2 and Vodafone increased their 4G coverage to 66 per cent and 65 per cent respectively, while super-fast Three services were available to 53 per cent of premises.

The average latency across all 4G networks tested was 53.1 milliseconds, compared with 63.5ms on 3G.

EE had the lowest average latency on 4G at 48.4ms, ahead of Three (50.9ms), O2 (55.2ms) and Vodafone (59.5ms).

Latency on 4G was found to be more consistent than the other measures, with each operator seeing over 80 per cent of test samples provide latency speeds of between 40ms and 80ms.

Ofcom claimed that mobile operators "continue to invest in and expand their networks as more people take 4G services".

The regulator said its report is intended to provide information that can help consumers understand how 4G and 3G mobile networks perform and support them in choosing the service that best suits their needs.

"The findings are also expected to encourage providers to improve their performance," Ofcom added.

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