An interactive map from an independent mobile analytics firm has shown the extent of 5G coverage across the country – and which mobile network offers the best coverage in Blackburn with Darwen.

RootMetrics, an Ookla company, shows real-world mobile performance results gathered from the firm’s “professional findings and those crowdsourced from users of our free app”.

They analysed test samples from on-the-ground locations in order to create a map showing coverage for the UK's four main providers – EE, 02, Three and Vodaphone.

The map is divided into colour-coded hexagons, which represent the type of connection available to users.

Dark blue represents 5G coverage, light blue is LTE (4G), orange represents 3G+, red represents 2G/3G and white depicts areas which haven’t been tested.

5G, the newest generation of wireless technology which is meant to improve mobile signal and efficiency, is prevalent across many central parts across Lancashire – but less so in more rural areas.

Lancashire Telegraph: Mobile coverage across Lancashire (Photo: RootMetrics)Mobile coverage across Lancashire (Photo: RootMetrics)

While the map shows some 5G coverage in Blackburn, Preston, Blackpool and Burnley, it is less prevalent in other towns.

In Blackburn one mobile network provide reigns supreme when it comes to 5G coverage – and that’s Three.

Their coverage spreads from Blackburn town centre and into the outskirt areas of Rishton and Guide.

Lancashire Telegraph: Three's 5G coverage in Blackburn (Photo: RootMetrics)Three's 5G coverage in Blackburn (Photo: RootMetrics)

However, as you enter into the areas of Mellor and Pleasington, Great Harwood and beyond you are met with a sea of orange hexagons, interspersed with the odd spattering of light blue shapes – indicating a mix of 3G+ and LTE (4G) coverage.

5G coverage provided by EE and Vodaphone are similar, restricted mainly to Blackburn’s central areas.

Lancashire Telegraph: EE 5G coverage in Blackburn (Photo: RootMetrics)EE 5G coverage in Blackburn (Photo: RootMetrics)

According to the map, O2 offers the poorest level of 5G coverage in the town, with just a sprinkling of dark blue hexagons around Ewood, in a sea of light blue.

Lancashire Telegraph: O2's 5G coverage in Blackburn (Photo: RootMetrics)O2's 5G coverage in Blackburn (Photo: RootMetrics)

The interactive map shows that Darwen is yet to feel any 5G benefits, with Three being the only provider to get anywhere close – even then it is isolated to the M65.

How do RootMetrics test mobile network performance?

RootMetrics uses off-the-shelf mobiles phones purchased from mobile network operator stores, when conducting its tests, which are not altered.

The smartphones used are updated for testing twice a year, but not during the middle of a testing period.

The company’s website states: “To accurately reflect a typical consumer’s mobile experience, we use only off-the-shelf mobile phones purchased from mobile network operator stores.

“We never alter the phones with external antennas or any other non-standard equipment, and we never ‘root’, jailbreak, or modify the phone’s software in any way.

“To reflect how consumers use their mobile phones, we also measure data, call, and text performance with the same device rather than testing each category with a separate device.

“We select leading Android-based mobile phones for each network during our device selection process.

“During the device selection process, RootMetrics benchmarks device models to determine the best commercially available phone model from each operator in order to capture the best possible user experience for data, call, and text usage on each particular operator's network.

“Benchmarking models before testing also helps remove limitations that can be caused by specific model/network interactions.”

What is 5G – and why is it important?

5G is the next generation of wireless mobile connections, following on from the 4G networks currently used by smartphones across the globe.

As the name suggests, this is the fifth generation of the network technology.

5G is made up of unique radio frequencies that are broken up into bands. These frequencies are a lot higher than 4G, which means it will allow far more devices to access the mobile internet at the same time – and they will work faster too.

Experts say this means more connected devices can be used at one time and have also suggested that some potential benefits of this could be the increased ability to operate data-heavy networks, such as those needed to power autonomous vehicles, in years to come.