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EE best for UK mobile performance, study finds

Users of EE’s 4G mobile network receive the best overall experience in the UK, according to RootMetrics’ latest study

Mobile network operator (MNO) EE has secured the top ranking in all performance categories measured by mobile network monitor RootMetrics. Users of the UK’s most widely available 4G network receive the best network reliability, speed, data, call and text performance, as well as best overall performance.

Although this is the fifth consecutive time EE has been named the top overall performer, it is the first time it has swept the board in the metrics, which are compiled by the IHS Markit-backed testers from more than half a million tests using commercially available, unmodified Android devices.

Comparatively smaller Three took second spot for overall performance, with Vodafone third and O2 fourth.

“EE’s reputation for delivering strong speed and performance is maintained in our testing, while Three’s consistent reliability places itself as another leading carrier across the UK,” said Kevin Hasley, RootMetrics product head and executive director of performance benchmarking at IHS Markit.

In its latest set of statistics, RootMetrics found that although EE was a clear leader, the gap in performance between it and its rivals was very narrow. It said this showed the need for 5G implementation for further differentiation in the market.

RootMetrics’ so-called “RootScore” for overall performance, which is calculated using a proprietary algorithm from the data gathered by its testers, EE scored 96 out of a possible 100, while second-placed Three scored 93, Vodafone 90.1, and O2 86.6.

In specific areas, such as network reliability, these margins were even tighter, hence the claim that all four MNOs are well incentivised to push on and make the most of their recently purchased 5G ready spectrum.

“The first movers in 5G are going to have an advantage as consumers will see a big step-change in performance of their devices across critical functions such as live streaming video,” said Hasley.

Read more about 5G preparations

“EE’s high performance in 4G testing can lead to a seamless service transition to 5G. However, it will be a brand new playing field once the technology is live. 5G will give all networks an opportunity to be a leader in performance and service provision.”

Hasley added: “However, 5G is most likely to impact urban area performance as it will be deployed in centres of high population density. Operators will still need to prove and maintain 4G and even 3G performance across wider geographies as that’s how we use our phones.

“We accept that when on the move and in more rural locations, that performance will be lower, but we still have expectations about minimum performance.”

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