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The Fastest Mobile Broadband Services for Liverpool, Belfast and Sheffield

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 (1:51 pm) - Score 1,733

RootMetrics has published another new study into the 3G and 4G based Mobile Broadband performance from all four of the UK’s major Mobile Network Operators (MNO), covering the cities of Liverpool, Belfast and Sheffield. As before EE and Three UK came top of the pack for internet download speed.

The study involved between 35,000 and 26,000 mobile performance tests in each of the three cities. But it should be noted that EE’s urban network had a distinct advantage over its rivals due to the use of 4G (LTE at 1800MHz) technology (everybody else is still stuck on slower 3G).

Broadly speaking each of the networks did similarly well for voice call and text performance, although Three UK’s call performance in Belfast was notably lower than the others. Similarly all networks exhibited a strong network reliability score of usually more than 90 out of 100. Otherwise the most obvious differences came from raw internet performance.

Liverpool – Best Operator for Mobile Internet Speeds
1. EE (DL: 23.4Mbps | UL: 14.8Mbps)
2. Three UK (DL: 7Mbps | UL: 1.8Mbps)
3. Vodafone (DL: 5.3Mbps | UL: 2.1Mbps)
4. O2 (DL: 3.5Mbps | UL: 1.4Mbps)

Belfast – Best Operator for Mobile Internet Speeds
1. EE (DL: 10.8Mbps | UL: 6.2Mbps)
2. Three UK (DL: 6.1Mbps | UL: 1.9Mbps)
3. Vodafone (DL: 4Mbps | UL: 1.5Mbps)
4. O2 (DL: 3.3Mbps | UL: 1.2Mbps)

Sheffield – Best Operator for Mobile Internet Speeds
1. EE (DL: 16.5Mbps | UL: 12Mbps)
2. Three UK (DL: 7Mbps | UL: 1.9Mbps)
3. O2 (DL: 3.2Mbps | UL: 1.5Mbps)
4. Vodafone (DL: 2.9Mbps | UL: 1.1Mbps)

RootMetrics noted that Three UK’s download performance had, across each of the cities, more than doubled since its last test in December 2012 (this will be due to their recent “ultrafast” network upgrade). Meanwhile EE’s average download speed of 23.4Mbps in Liverpool was the fastest that the study had ever recorded in the UK to date.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar DanielM

    Take these results with a pinch of salt.

    Speeds can vary per cell site. (or those where orange sites are still active as apposed to the t-mobile only ones or those using microwave) + Congestion, you would be lucky to get 2Mbps in Liverpool city center during the day

    • Avatar DTMark

      The consistency of the “3” speed results suprises me – they always seem to come back at around the same figures in all these tests. I’m guessing that they have more cells on average than the other operators due to the frequencies used.

      I’ve only ever used that here at home in a single location. It does beat those results here, but then it’s a rural area.

      Meanwhile on O2 I find you’re doing very well to see much above 0.4Mbps no matter where you are. Indeed O2 seems to be going down the proverbial toilet.

    • I would expect consistency as they must use some sort of adaptable supply / demand costing model for each city / areas and thus it would arguably be more unusual if the performance varied wildly (except for EE as they’re still busy rolling out 4G and a new speed boost.).

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