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Mobile network operator (MNO) EE once again dominates in terms of quality and performance, according to the latest biannual survey of the UK’s 4G landscape conducted by mobile testing outfit RootMetrics, delivering median download speeds of at least 30Mbps in 15 metropolitan areas and over 40Mbps in four more, for an aggregate median download speed of 36.7Mbps.
IHS Markit-owned RootMetrics gave EE an overall score of 96.1 on its proprietary RootScore chart – this is generated using an algorithm to crunch millions of data points on network reliability, network speed, call quality, text quality, and data quality – compared to 95.2 for Vodafone, 92.1 for Three, and 90.5 for O2. EE scored top of the chart for all five metrics tested.
Second-place Vodafone also scored in second place across all five metrics and clocked the highest speed measured of 51.7Mbps thanks to its recent LTE investments. Three placed third for all but one, text quality, where it switched places with fourth-placed O2.
RootMetrics noted that Three maintained its “consistent and dependable” reputation in spite of its small 4G LTE fooprint, and despite O2’s placing the operator achieved excellent reliability scores, and having made a substantial investment in its network of late, it should improve soon.
“EE’s continued dominance of our testing backed by Vodafone’s improvements means there is healthy competition in the UK mobile operator market. Three and O2 have also performed well in specific categories, leaving a very competitive market,” said RootMetrics head of product, Kevin Halsey.
“Delivering the best mobile experience for our customers right across the UK is our priority. Being recognised as the UK’s best network for the sixth year running reflects our continued investment in keeping our customers connected to the things that matter most, whether that’s continuing to roll out 4G to even more places or being the first to bring 5G to the busiest places across the UK,” said BT Consumer CEO and EE head Marc Allera.
“EE remains focused on bringing its 4G network to the whole of the UK, including rural communities in the furthest reaches of the country. RootMetrics’ latest report shows that EE’s 4G coverage reaches more of the UK than any other operator.”
This year, the firm’s testers used off-the-shelf Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones to conduct almost 600,000 tests to rate the UK’s four MNOs. While its testers did not log onto the UK’s extremely limited 5G networks just yet, RootMetrics said that as the new standard rolls out, it expected things to improve rapidly.
Having recently conducted similar testing on South Korea’s 5G network performance, where it logged a median speed of 286.9Mbps, it said the results of initial 5G deployments did live up to the hype, suggesting good things to come when the UK roll-out starts to hit its stride.
“5G is still in its infancy and the vast majority of the customer experience will remain on 4G networks for the foreseeable future. Operators have to balance the early stages of 5G deployments while continuing to improve 4G LTE performance. It will be interesting to see how operators differ in their approach to managing network changes,” said Halsey.
“We’ve already seen an indication of the future from our recent South Korea 5G tests and there is a real opportunity for operators to make a move in ensuring this technology can provide the capacity, low latency and fast speeds required to enable the internet of things and connect our world like never before.”
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