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EE Dominates OpenSignal’s UK Mobile Network Performance Report

Thursday, October 11th, 2018 (10:42 am) - Score 3,827
speed broadband meter on grey background uk

The latest October 2018 report from OpenSignal, which uses crowd-sourced data to test 4G and 3G based UK Mobile (Mobile Broadband) network performance, has revealed that EE is continuing to hoover up most of the awards for mobile download speed, upload speed, latency and availability.

The group’s Mobile Networks UK update is based on app-based crowd-sourced data that was gathered between 1st June and 29th August 2018, which included 1,104,989,130 measurements via 76,939 test devices (e.g. Smartphones). Overall this found that 4G network availability (i.e. the proportion of time OpenSignal users have an LTE connection) was 86.77% on EE, followed by 83.24% on O2, 80.26% on Vodafone and just 73.18% on Three UK.

Meanwhile 4G based Mobile Broadband speeds held fairly steady in the UK, although EE, Three UK and O2 did suffer a mild loss of performance since the last report in April 2018. Meanwhile O2 seems to be performing quite poorly overall, although we expect them to improve as they expand the reach of their new 4G friendly 2.3GHz radio spectrum band.

October 2018 vs April 2018 Mobile Results (Apr Results)

Network Availability: 4G
1. EE 86.77% (86.62%)
2. O2 83.24% (83.67%)
3. Vodafone 80.26% (79.45%)
4. Three UK 73.18% (66.64%)

Download Speed: 4G
1. EE 28.9Mbps (29.02Mbps)
2. Vodafone 21.92Mbps (20.07Mbps)
3. Three UK 18.78Mbps (22.55Mbps)
4. O2 14.61Mbps (15.16Mbps)

Download Speed: 3G
1. Three UK 7.82Mbps (6.95Mbps)
2. EE 7.17Mbps (7.78Mbps)
3/4. Vodafone 4.58Mbps (5.24Mbps) tied
3/4. O2 4.58Mbps (4.76Mbps) tied

Upload Speed: 4G (no April results)
1. EE 9.3Mbps
2. Vodafone 8.02Mbps
3. Three UK 7.97Mbps
4. O2 6.55Mbps

Latency: 4G (Milliseconds – lower is better)
1. EE 39.77ms (40.35ms)
2. Vodafone 40.78ms (40.6ms)
3. O2 42.38ms (42.84ms)
4. Three UK 48.15ms (47.23ms)

Latency: 3G (Milliseconds – lower is better)
1. EE 60.98ms (65.8ms)
2. Vodafone 62.52ms (66.81ms)
3. Three UK 64.11ms (71.91ms)
4. O2 73.76ms (80.64ms)

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


As usual there are some caveats to consider with this report. For example, some operators have better 4G coverage, lots of spectrum bands and a more advanced network than others. Similarly other operators may deliver slower speeds because they suffer more strain on their capacity (network congestion) due cheaper “unlimited” style mobile data plans (e.g. Three UK).

App-based crowd-sourced data could also be affected by any limitations with the users location or device being used, which can also remove 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 is one of the better organisations at analysing such data.

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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 CJ

    Interesting to see the geographical results for Vodafone match what many people have have reported in forums, i.e. the network performs well in the western half of the country and London where they control their own network, but less well in the east where their network is managed by O2 and relatively little of Vodafone’s available radio spectrum has actually been deployed.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      The fruits of an extended period of underinvestment, using thie U.K. as a cash cow to fund activities elsewhere.

  2. Avatar gerarda

    I don’t know how OpenSignal account for the inbuilt bias in their sample, in that anyone lives in an area where one or more operators performs badly is not likely to use that operator.

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