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EE Beats O2, Vodafone and Three UK to Top Opensignal Study

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 (10:25 am) - Score 6,580
golden cup broadband and telecoms award

The latest October 2019 Mobile Network Experience report from Opensignal, which used crowd-sourced data to test 4G and 3G based UK Mobile (Mobile Broadband) performance, has once again named EE as the best overall operator as it beat arch rivals Vodafone, O2 and Three UK in almost every single category.

As usual the report is based on crowd-sourced data that was gathered via users of their app between 1st June and 29th August 2019, which included 9,671,508 measurements via 93,482 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 91.2% on EE (up from 86.77% last year), followed by 85.7% on O2 (up from 83.24%), 84.2% on Vodafone (up from 80.26%) and just 76.2% on Three UK (up from 73.18%).

Meanwhile 4G based Mobile Broadband speeds generally improved a little across the board. However we should add that this study is too recent for the latest 5G based ultrafast mobile broadband services to have an impact, although we’ll be expecting some solid results from that next year.

Generally the only category where EE didn’t come top was for “Voice App Experience” (i.e. WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger), which saw Vodafone take the crown but only by a fairly small margin. Below we’ve attempted to include the latest results and show how they’ve changed since last year (we’ve opted to only focus on the metrics for mobile data performance).

October 2019 vs 2018 Mobile Results (4G Only)

Network Availability
1. EE 91.2% (86.77%)
2. O2 85.7% (83.24%)
3. Vodafone 84.2% (80.26%)
4. Three UK 76.2% (73.18%)

Download Speed
1. EE 33.7Mbps (28.9Mbps)
2. Vodafone 25.1Mbps (21.92Mbps)
3. Three UK 21.6Mbps (18.78Mbps)
4. O2 16.9Mbps (14.61Mbps)

Upload Speed
1. EE 8.9Mbps (9.3Mbps)
2. Vodafone 7.8Mbps (8.02Mbps)
3. Three UK 7.4Mbps (7.97Mbps)
4. O2 5.7Mbps (6.55Mbps)

Latency (Milliseconds – lower is better)
1. EE 37.3ms (39.77ms)
2. O2 37.4ms (42.38ms)
3. Vodafone 39.4ms (40.78ms)
4. Three UK 46.3ms (48.15ms)

As usual there are some caveats to consider. For example, some operators have better 4G coverage, lots of spectrum bands and a more advanced network than others (EE). Crowd-sourced data can also be impacted by any limitations of the devices being used, which at the same time 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 are 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.
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14 Responses
  1. Avatar Eamonn Carter

    I dunno where they get their info from,but I have a EE sim and a 3 sim in my phone.
    I am on a canal boat travelling from the grand union canal in Northampton,so far I have been to Wolverhampton, Birmingham Llangollen and am now just outside liverpool.

    So far 3 has outperformed EE completely.

    • As the article states, they get it from data supplied by 93,482 devices and millions of tests from across the UK via their Opensignal app. So rather more feedback than one person on a narrowboat who follows a pre-set route 🙂 .

    • Avatar J Hanson

      It says where they get their info from.

      “crowd-sourced data that was gathered via users of their app between 1st June and 29th August 2019, which included 9,671,508 measurements via 93,482 test devices (e.g. Smartphones).”

      But, you know, if your experience is different, with your device in your area with your usage patterns, that’s okay. Enjoy it.

    • Avatar excustomer

      Try the nperf app. It will show you exactly where they’ve mapped 3G,4G,5G for each network from their users. It may just be that Three have better cell tower placement for your needs. The Three offering works better for me than EE does too.

    • Avatar Name

      This is app is an inaccurate crap. It always says that I am connected to the Three mast while I am on Vodafone and their mast is in opposite direction.

    • Avatar Mike

      Only pay monthly users get access to 800Mhz band, are you pay monthly?

    • Avatar Leex

      In Warrington area Vodafone blows the socks off for speed and data reliability and signal (compared to ee and more so 3)

      Main problem with 3 and ee is they don’t allow network step-up, if your on 3g it won’t goto 4g unless your data is idle

      if data is in use say twitch/YouTube or anything that prevents the connection from going idle for more then 5-10 seconds it affects 3 more because if you end up on dredred 4g800 without LTE+ it has to goto 3g first before it can go back to 4g1800 or higher

      and don’t have LTE+ in a lot of locations around here (half the masts seem to be repeater masts that only have microwave links)

      O2 and Vodafone allows network 3g to 4g switching while data is in use (I fond Vodafone and o2 very aggressive but seamless at moving between LTE and LTE+ where available and moving from 3g once 4g is available at better signal level then 3g)

    • Avatar Ryan

      You sure the 3g to 4g active data issue is not a 02/voda issue as am petty sure EE/THREE can do it but on 02/voda you get stuck on 3g until you stop using the data.

    • Avatar Mike

      Why not just set your phone to 4G only?

    • Avatar Go away

      @Mike LOL, how dare you suggest common sense to stupid people LOL

  2. Avatar Lary

    Try three network in Manchester is like snail slow speeds I only get around 0.03mbps in city centre and curry mile places I work moved to EE last week is like night and day.

  3. Avatar André

    My experience with EE in Shrewsbury is pretty dismal, if I’m honest.
    Can’t wait for Three to have eSIM offerings (whenever that might be)

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