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EE scoops top rating in UK mobile connectivity assessment

BT subsidiary wins top spot in UK mobile quality benchmark survey for sixth time running

EE has come top in the 2020 Umlaut Connect study of connectivity in the UK for the sixth consecutive year.

The Umlaut Connect Mobile Benchmark is based on drive tests and walk tests conducted in November 2019. Four drive test cars together covered about 10,700km, visiting 21 UK cities and 29 towns. Also, two walk test teams visited 10 cities and travelled on trains between them.

The test areas accounted for 17 million people – just over a quarter of the UK’s total population. The results of crowdsourcing analyses across 24 weeks from early June to mid-November 2019 are also included in the score.

EE performed best overall, taking the lead in all three categories, with an overall grade of very good and a score of 876 out of 1,000 points. Vodafone remained second with an overall grade of good and a score of 839 points. Compared with the previous year’s results, Vodafone improved considerably in all categories.

The second-largest operator, O2, ranked third with an overall grade of satisfactory and a score of 697. O2 ranked third in the data and voice categories and second in the crowd category. Fourth place went to Three UK, with a score of 621 and an overall grade of sufficient.

EE achieved more than 90% in both the voice and crowd tests, and more than 80% in data tests. It was rated first for performance in six major UK cities – London, Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Sheffield – and joint first in Birmingham. Vodafone achieved first place in Bristol, Liverpool and Manchester and was on a par with EE in Birmingham.

Umlaut Telecommunication said the results for London were a good indicator of performance. It noted that the capital was an especially demanding terrain for deploying and maintaining a mobile network and, for that reason, the 2020 benchmark took a closer look at how London’s performance compared with the rest of the UK.

The results showed that EE led in London while Vodafone ranked second, performing slightly better in the capital than nationwide. O2 was in third place, achieving the same performance in London as it did nationwide. Three came fourth in London and around the UK.

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Umlaut CEO Hakan Ekmen said: “Congratulations to EE for being the winner of this year's benchmark. Vodafone follows with the most improved score, while O2 also deserves acknowledgment for a clear score improvement, compared with our previous benchmark, and advancing to third place. Finally, Three provides good voice services, particularly in towns and on roads.”

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division – EE’s parent company – said: “Keeping our customers connected to the things that matter most is our top priority. Nationwide, independent and scientific network testing shows our continued investment in delivering the best and most reliable mobile experience. Our engineers are continuing to build and upgrade new sites every day as part of our journey to roll out 4G to even more places, and bring 5G to the busiest places in the UK.”

With all UK operators starting to deploy 5G, Umlaut said it looked forward to evaluating their 5G performance for the next benchmark study.

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