We know very well that 4G LTE is just a fancy combination of letters and numbers and that, just because a carrier says it’s faster and better than 3G, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way in reality.

There are a number of variables that can influence LTE speeds, especially soon after a network’s inception, so when EE flipped the switch on “true 4G” for the first time in UK, there were those who preferred caution to overexcitement.

Now however it’s time to look at the first large-scale test of EE’s LTE service and see if it’s in fact as revolutionary as the carrier flaunted it. The test was performed by mobile coverage firm RootMetrics and shared exclusively with BBC and in short… it proves the new network is far from glitch-free.

Only 40.2% of test locations in the city of Manchester had access to LTE, while outside of town there was no 4G coverage at all. The numbers pretty much replicate early results of LTE services rolled out in countries like the US, but they’re still a tad disappointing.

On the flipside, the network provided faster speeds indoors, canceling all early concerns surrounding limited coverage behind closed doors. Also, the overall speeds were pretty darn impressive (when and where 4G was accessible), topping 10 Mbps in 31% of tests, reaching between 6 and 10 Mbps in 9%, between 3 and 6 in 18% and 1.5-3 Mbps in 23%.

On average, speeds reached 17 Mbps indoors and 7.6 Mbps across all test locations, which is double the average speed of Vodafone, the “next fastest operator in the area”.

Bottom line? Well, we’ll let RootMetrics’ CEO Bill Moore in charge of that: “Although EE’s 4G service is much faster than any network currently available in the UK, our testing shows that 4G connections are not consistent even within a nominated area.” So, patchy? Yes, sir! Snappy? Even more so. Worth it? We don’t know yet, but we thing very soon it’ll be. What do you guys think?