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The UK Fastest 3G and 4G Mobile Broadband Operators in Major Cities

Friday, November 20th, 2015 (2:00 pm) - Score 1,029
mobile network mast among trees

RootMetrics have today published their latest H2 2015 report into the Mobile Broadband (3G and 4G) performance of EE, Three UK, Vodafone and O2 across nine of the United Kingdom’s primary cities, which reveals that EE is still the fastest overall provider.. but not in all of the cities.

The report focuses on the cities of London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Belfast, Newcastle, Manchester, Cardiff and Bristol. Unfortunately the results only reflect a general median performance score in Megabits per second (Mbps), which is a shame because we would have liked to see a split to show the performance differences between 3G and 4G networks on each of the operators.

On top of that we’ve also included the % scores for blocked and dropped voice calls on each network, which some of our readers may find useful because most of us do still use our mobile phones for making normal network calls.

Overall EE manages to deliver the best Internet download speeds across almost all of the cities, although they only came 3rd in Edinburgh and Hull; this is perhaps due to the younger 4G deployments in those locations. However the results for upload speeds are much closer and more varied across all of the operators.

city uk mobile broadband speeds h2 2015 report

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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.
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5 Responses
  1. Avatar Big Geoff Mitchell

    Surprised the Three reading for Glasgow is so low.

    I did a speedtest in Glasgow last week and got 36.5Mbps download and 12.8Mbps upload.

    Much faster than anything I’ve ever achieved in Aberdeen.

    • Avatar Graeme

      Im not near those speeds but yea very surprised about glasgow.. I dont think this chart is accurate o2 faster than 3 haha good one

    • Avatar Stephen

      I left Three back in May but even then I was getting speeds of 40-50 MB/S in certain areas of Aberdeen. Their 4G rollout is painfully slow though but the coverage map has shown quite a bit more expanded coverage in the last week or 2.
      EE are light years ahead of the rest of the ISP’s in Aberdeenshire though, speeds are way above what you can get in the city centre. It’s not often the rural locations get the best speeds.

  2. Avatar M

    “Overall EE manages to deliver the best Internet download speeds across almost all of the cities”.

    Let us not forget the fact that on a provider like ‘3’, which is pretty much an ‘unlimited’ service (excluding tethering), people have the feeling of freedom and the confidence to be able to use their service ‘on-demand’ for the duration that they need to and as hard as they wish, thus reducing the overall bandwidth available. With the other operators, the feeling will be the polar opposite as people have to manage their usage and are possibly concerned or afraid of being charged for overuse.

    In-conclusion, I feel this data is slightly skewed towards ‘hardly used’ operators versus ‘heavily used’ operators, for which this data we cannot see.

  3. Avatar AndrewH

    Don’t forget also that EE speed tests using the Rootmetrics app will not use your data allowance. So there is a general consensus that you can’t trust Rootmetrics.
    I’m an EE fanboi too but it’s important that people know this fact.
    Actually in testing I find that both Rootmetrics and Ookla speed test are fairly balanced.
    Sometimes one is faster than the other and then the next time it’s reversed.
    So generally we can say that EE wins the day again.
    Not surprising really with the pace of their 4G roll-out. It’s relentless.
    It also helps to have a CEO who seems to have a personal obsession to get 100% population coverage. 🙂

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