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GWS Reveals Top Most Reliable UK Mobile Operators in 32 Cities

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 (12:06 pm) - Score 1,633

A new study conducted by Global Wireless Solutions, which combined controlled network testing with an analysis of consumer behaviour and expectations of performance, has revealed which UK cities deliver the most reliable mobile network per operator. It’s good news for O2 and bad for Vodafone.

Apparently nearly 1 million data and voice task tests were conducted to evaluate the network performance of EE, O2, Three UK and Vodafone across the 32 major cities and towns. The tests were conducted using the GWS OneMeasure App running on iPhone 7 devices, Rohde & Schwarz’s Freerider using Samsung Galaxy devices, and the GWS Mobistat data evaluation and reporting platform.

On top of that GWS worked with YouGov to conduct focus group sessions and an online poll of over 2,000 UK adults between November 2017 and February 2018 (total sample size of 2,727). The results were then combined to produce a final score.

Overall the GWS Reliability OneScore results suggest that O2 is the most reliable network in 17 of the 32 major cities and towns tested, while Three UK was most reliable in 12 and EE in just 3 of the cities. Meanwhile Vodafone did not rank as being the most reliable network in any of the cities and towns tested.

The major cities with the most dropped and blocked calls (worst signal) were also found to be London, Leeds and Birmingham.

Dr. Paul Carter, CEO of GWS, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We have purposely let the British public direct us as to which aspects of mobile network performance are the most important in their daily lives. There is too much focus on ranking operators by data speed versus other key network performance aspects such as reliability and customer satisfaction. The message we received loud and clear is that consumers want to know which network they can rely on to keep them connected to friends and family or to provide access to content.

Our testing showed that all operators currently provide mobile internet quick enough to stream a video from Netflix, but the real issue is which network will let you call, text and browse the internet most reliably. We have broken down the results by cities and towns to give consumers meaningful information with which they can ensure they choose the network which best fits their needs where they live and work.

Our scientific testing ensures we provide the most meaningful measure of network performance and should help people avoid throwing their phones in anger!”

In terms of where consumers struggle the most when connecting to their mobile network, GWS’ research found that 25% reported issues on trains, 22% struggle at home, 18% struggle in shopping centres and 13% have issues at work. The most common network problems encountered by consumers include text messages not sending (28%), websites or apps not loading (35%), calls not connecting (22%), and calls dropping mid-call (20%).

When asked to consider the 5 most important criteria in selecting an operator, UK consumers are twice as likely to choose reliability instead of network speed. Similarly, the most important phone functions for UK adults are making calls (69%), texting (53%) and browsing the internet (43%), while only 3% of UK adults listed watching videos as a top priority. Overall when looking at how operators fared in the consumer survey, O2 had the highest percentage of ‘very satisfied’ satisfaction ratings.

GWS Most Reliable UK Mobile Operator by City (A-Z)
Armagh O2
Belfast Three UK
Birmingham Three UK
Bradford Three UK
Bristol Three UK
Cambridge O2
Cardiff O2
Carlisle Three UK
Carmarthen O2
Chelmsford O2
Dumfries Three UK
Edinburgh Three UK
Exeter Three UK
Glasgow O2
Hull Three UK
Leeds EE
Leicester EE
Liverpool O2
London Three UK
Maidstone O2
Manchester EE
Newcastle upon Tyne O2
Nottingham O2
Oxford Three UK
Preston Three UK
Reading O2
Shrewsbury O2
Southampton O2
Stafford O2
Sunderland O2
Swansea O2
Warwick O2

We should point out that recent crowd-sourced network tests conducted via Opensignal (here) and Tutela (here) appear to tell a very different story, often choosing to favour Vodafone and EE.

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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. Wujek Pawel says:

    Pigs might fly if Three is most reliable in Cambridge or Oxford. Oh, maybe if you are located 300m of their mast and have visual contact with it.

    “A new study conducted by Global Wireless Solutions, which combined controlled network testing with an analysis of consumer behaviour and expectations of performance, has revealed”

    Last ten different studies seen here, and each one reveals completely different results. As usually depends who pay for that.

  2. Michael V says:

    I’m a follower of OpenSignal. I think their research & reports are more reliable than these small companies we’ve never heard of. We don’t know their way of taking these tests / measurements. I have the opensignal app too to contribute.

  3. moses Akaboti says:

    I need a sim card urgently 145 Hartley road Nottingham

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