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EE Named Best UK Mobile Operator for H1 2019 by RootMetrics

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 (7:00 am) - Score 2,391
mobile mast uk in circle

RootMetrics will today publish their latest H1 2019 study of 4G mobile network performance in the United Kingdom, which once again concluded that EE (BT) is overall still the top performing operator and also delivered the fastest aggregate mobile broadband download speed in UK-wide testing (37.6Mbps). Sadly O2 remains at the bottom.

As usual the organisation conducted their work by harnessing a batch of Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones, which were purchased off the shelf from operator stores. The testing itself was conducted during both the day and night across 16 UK cities, while walking and driving. Overall a total of 582,598 tests were completed including 19,238 miles driven, 648 indoor locations and over 750 total places visited.

The results were then converted to a score out of 100 for each category (higher number = better). At this point we had half expected O2’s recent deployment of the newly released 2.3GHz band for 4G services to give them a boost and indeed their overall score this year has improved, although sadly they continued to rank last in every single category except text messaging.

On the flip side Vodafone have moved a lot closer to the top spot and they’re threatening to steal the crown but for now it’s a strong second place finish for them.

Overall Scores for H1 2019 (vs H2 2018 Result)
1. EE – 96.1 (up from 94.5)
2. Vodafone – 95.2 (up from 92.9)
3. Three UK – 92.1 (up from 91.1)
4. O2 – 90.5 (up from 89.5)

In terms of the fastest aggregate ‘median’ UK mobile broadband download speeds (average), EE delivered 37.6Mbps, while Vodafone trailed on 21.7Mbps, Three UK scored just 13.6Mbps and O2 came last with a meagre performance of 11.1Mbps. The general scores across each category can be found below.

rootmetrics uk h1 2019 mobile operator scores

On top of that the report reveals which operators delivered the fastest and slowest median download speeds outdoors in several UK cities during periods of high congestion. In Edinburgh the fastest was EE (30.5Mbps), while the slowest was Three UK (9.1Mbps). In Manchester the fastest was Vodafone (47.9Mbps), while the slowest was Three UK (5.7Mbps).

Finally, in London, the fastest was Vodafone (41.9Mbps) again and the slowest is Three UK (7.3Mbps). In fairness it should be said that many of Three’s customers are heavy data users, due to the operator’s unlimited allowances, and they also have less 4G spectrum than their rivals. Likewise all of the above results may change once 5G goes live from every operator since Three has a sizeable spectrum advantage in that technology.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Business, said:

“Delivering the best mobile experience for our customers right across the UK is our top priority. Being recognised as the UK’s best network for the sixth year running reflects our continued investment in keeping our customers connected to the things that matter most, whether that’s continuing to roll out 4G to even more places or being the first to bring 5G to the busiest places across the UK.”

This time around the study also gives us a good look at how mobile broadband speeds vary by region – England, Scotland, N.Ireland and Wales. Overall EE delivered another clean sweep in all four primary regions of the United Kingdom and Vodafone’s second place finish was rarely challenged.

rootmetrics_speed_by_uk_region_scotland_wales_nireland_england

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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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1 Response
  1. Avatar Fred

    Quite interesting numbers. The reality is that many are not getting the performance they may have expected to get. It will be interesting to see what happens moving forwards given that more operators are pushing unlimited data plans and mobile broadband. It will be some time before 5G can take up all the slack. Higher bandwidth on a phone is probably not been a massive priority for many as long as it is fast enough for a bit of streaming. That may change with cloud gaming on mobile.

    I think people who have held off mobile broadband on capped tiers may take the plunge and that will put a log of strain on networks. Many mobile broadband users will consume hundreds of GB a month (or indeed one person on the forums who has consumed 3TB in 18 days). I have certainly heard a number of disgruntled Three mobile broadband customers who are fed up with the poor mobile broadband speeds on over-subscribed base stations.

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