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Dead fast, la: Britain's fastest 4G is in Liverpool

Liverpool, Brighton and Stoke have the fastest phone signal while London is below average.

You'll never lock your phone: Everton's Steven Naismith and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard display the sort of blistering pace that scousers can expect from their smartphones. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Scousers are famous for their quick wit, but it seems their phones are faster -- new figures reveal Liverpool has the fastest 4G LTE signal in the Britain.

Online phone shop Mobiles.co.uk compiled the research from the OpenSignal app testing the signal of 30,000 mobile users in 25 towns and cities in England and Wales. Liverpool topped the chart with a head-spinning average download speed of 21.3Mbps, fast enough to download an album in less time than it takes for Steven Gerrard to get sent off.

Sorry, couldn't resist. Meanwhile, Brighton clocks in second with an average speed of 21.2Mbps, followed by Stoke-on-Trent with 19.5Mbps, south Hampshire with 16.7Mbps and Sheffield with 16.7Mbps.

Here's the full run-down:

  1. Liverpool - 21.32Mbps
  2. Brighton and Hove - 1.2Mbps
  3. Stoke-on-Trent - 19.5Mbps
  4. South Hampshire - 16.7Mbps
  5. Sheffield - 16.7Mbps
  6. Coventry - 16.5Mbps
  7. Bristol - 15.8Mbps
  8. Birmingham - 15.5Mbps
  9. Reading - 14.1Mbps
  10. Bournemouth/Poole - 13.9Mbps
  11. Greater London - 13.8Mbps
  12. Nottingham - 12.7Mbps
  13. Leicester - 12.6Mbps
  14. Plymouth - 12.4Mbps
  15. Greater Manchester - 11.9Mbps
  16. Newport - 11.9Mbps
  17. Tyneside - 11.6Mbps
  18. Cardiff - 11.1Mbps
  19. Southend-on-Sea - 9.8Mbps
  20. West Yorkshire - 9.3Mbps
  21. Birkenhead - 8.7Mbps
  22. Derby - 7.5Mbps
  23. Luton - 7Mbps
  24. Kingston upon Hull - 6.5Mbps
  25. Teesside - 5Mbps

The top eight locations beat the national average speed of 15.1Mbps recorded by telecoms regulator Ofcom at the end of last year. One place that doesn't beat that average is Greater London, clocking 13.8Mbps to appear at a lowly number 11, presumably due to congestion caused by a higher number of users than in most areas, after it was the first place to be connected with superfast mobile data.

At the bottom of this particular run-down is Kingston upon Hull with 6.5Mbps and Teesside on just 5Mbps. Birkenhead -- home of the mighty Tranmere Rovers and birthplace of your humble correspondent -- also struggles, despite being just a ferry ride from chart-topping Liverpool.

"Your mobile data speeds can vary even between locations in close proximity," says industry observer Ernest Doku of uSwitch.com, so the network you choose is hugely important. "It's important to choose a network with good coverage not just where you live, but where you work, go out and regularly travel to."

The new figures are drawn from the four major networks: Three, EE, Vodafone and O2. EE was the UK's first 4G LTE network back in 2013, merging the combined spectrum of Orange and T-Mobile to free up space for 4G and giving itself a head start over rivals. A year later O2, Vodafone and Three joined the 4G race, and with EE already deploying LTE across the country, coverage has been a priority for the networks.

The head start has stood EE in good stead: in 13 of the 28 locations EE was the fastest network, and joint-fastest in seven others.

We are still in the early days of 4G, however, so it's worth checking you get a decent signal in your neck of the woods before signing up to a 4G contract -- the networks and comparison sites have checkers to check your area is covered, and you can check in with the RootScore tool from analysts RootMetrics to find out more about coverage and reliability in your area. "If your current provider isn't delivering when it comes to 4G," Doku advises, "then vote with your feet and switch to a network offering a good combination of faster speeds and value for money. Remember that not all mobile networks charge a premium for 4G."

The OpenSignal app is available for the iPhone and Android devices. You can check data speeds manually or set it to run in the background, and your results can be anonymously collected by the app and combined with other users to build a picture of overall coverage.