Oman outstrips the UK with 4G speed and availability.

In a new report – Long-Term Evolution (LTE) November 2017 by opensignal.com – the state of some of the world’s 4G services was covered.

4G availability
4G availability

4G availability was 96.69% in South Korea (as a proportion of time actual users have access to 4G rather than simple geographic coverage). Oman achieved 75.13% and the UK 71.34%.

Speed tests again highlighted the 4G service with the fastest in Singapore at a blistering 46.61MBPS, Oman at 24.28MBPS and the UK at 22.01MBPS.

4g Speed
4g Speed

Unfortunately, its not only in 4G that the UK lags behind Oman. OFCOM, the UKs communications regulator, highlights a widening gap between rural and urban areas. It notes average Internet (fixed line) download rate is now 36.2Mbps  (only 50% more than Oman’s 4G) and a widening gap between rural and urban areas. It should be noted that population density in Oman is a very low 14.3 people per sq. km compared to the UK of 271.3 people per sq. km in 2016 making a roll-out of services relatively more expensive in Oman.

These figures probably understate the difference.

In Oman its possible to obtain 4G in the desert or on 2,000-meter high mountain plateaus, in the UK vast areas have hardly even 3G.

AWASR 1GBPS
AWASR 1GBPS

Oman is the subject of a supermarket led promotion from www.awasr.om/en advertising its home service of 1GBPS service (yes that is 1 Gigabite) with Free Installation.

UK ACTUAL Rural BT Speed 2017
UK ACTUAL Rural BT Speed 2017

While in the UK across wide swathes of the country an appalling, and barely useable, 2MBPS service is the norm. This is frankly accepted by Government elected officials as being suitable for the country’s residents.

The UK is the destination of hundreds of students from Oman (around 1,200 in any given year). They arrive based on the expected superiority of the education in the country, which presumably supported by a technology ‘fit-for-purpose’. I assume online exams, study and so on are part of a modern curriculum in the UK. However, experiencing the substandard ‘modern infrastructure’ of the UK by students from Oman and elsewhere (a total of 397,530  according to ukcisa.org.uk ) will lead to fundamental questions not only as to this destination for education, but also as a source of ‘high tech’ equipment when these future Technocrats and Bureaucrats assume their destined senior positions in their country’s decision-making process. The communication technology may fit the purpose of the UK government for its own citizens and unproductive businesses but, as Oman demonstrates, its lagging well behind even a mid-range service elsewhere.

Author: Tony Walsh

Book author including the current Bradt guide to Oman – edition 4

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