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Q1 2018 OpenSignal Report Awards EE as Best UK Mobile Operator

Thursday, April 5th, 2018 (2:01 pm) - Score 1,606

The latest Q1 2018 report from OpenSignal, which used crowd-sourced data from 61,121 devices (Smartphones etc.) and 890 million tests to reveal how 4G and 3G based Mobile network availability and data speeds vary across the United Kingdom, has once again seen EE sweep the awards.

Overall the group’s latest ‘State of Mobile Networks‘ report for the United Kingdom, which gathered its data between 1st Dec 2017 and 28th Feb 2018, found that two operators had passed the 80% 4G availability milestone (EE with 86.6% and O2 on 83.4%), while Vodafone was on the cusp at 79.5%.

Meanwhile 4G based Mobile Broadband speeds held relatively steady in the UK, with no one operator showing an increase of more than 1.2Mbps since the last report. However, the steady growth in LTE (4G) availability did have a knock-on effect on overall download speeds (i.e. the four primary operators increased their everyday speeds by over 2.1Mbps each).

Q1 2018 vs Q4 2017 Mobile Performance Results (Older Results)

Network Availability: 4G
1. EE 86.62% (78.46%)
2. O2 83.67% (74.17%)
3. Vodafone 79.45% (71.35%)
4. Three UK 66.64% (57.14%)

Download Speed: 4G
1. EE 29.02Mbps (28.99Mbps)
2. Three UK 22.55Mbps (22.31Mbps)
3. Vodafone 20.07Mbps (18.94Mbps)
4. O2 15.16Mbps (15.06Mbps)

Download Speed: 3G
1. EE 7.78Mbps (6.24Mbps)
2. Three UK 6.95Mbps (6.12Mbps)
3. Vodafone 5.24Mbps (4.98Mbps)
4. O2 4.76Mbps (4.57Mbps)

Latency: 4G (Milliseconds – lower is better)
1. EE 40.35ms (43.75ms)
2. Vodafone 40.6ms (43.64ms)
3. O2 42.84ms (45.38ms)
4. Three UK 47.23ms (50.38ms)

Latency: 3G (Milliseconds – lower is better)
1. EE 65.8ms (81.31ms)
2. Vodafone 66.81ms (78.27ms)
3. Three UK 71.91ms (88.57ms)
4. O2 80.64ms (84.62ms)

The following chart shows the regional winners in each category OpenSignal measured.

opensignal q1 2018 regional mobile uk performance awards

As usual readers should remember that some networks, such as EE, have better 4G coverage, more spectrum and a more advanced network setup than others, although their rivals are starting to catch-up. Similarly operators like Three UK may suffer more strain on their data capacity (network congestion) because of affordable “all-you-can-eat” style data plans.

Lest we forget that testing via an app and crowd-sourced data could also be affected by any limitations with the device being used, which also removes the ability to adopt a common type of hardware in order to form a solid baseline of performance. Suffice to say that performance testing like this may not always tell the whole story but OpenSignal does tend to be one of the better organisations at collecting and displaying such information.

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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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