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RootMetrics Benchmarks 5G Mobile Speeds in Birmingham UK

Monday, October 28th, 2019 (7:00 am) - Score 2,262

RootMetrics has today published their first tentative report into the initial availability and mobile broadband performance of 5G Mobile networks in the West Midlands city of Birmingham, which sees EE delivering the fastest data speeds and strongest coverage.

One significant catch to this report is that it was conducted between 30th August and 21st September 2019, which means that it could only reflect the earliest performance from EE and Vodafone (neither O2 nor Three UK had yet established a noticeable presence in the city). Remember, these networks have only just started to go live over the past few months.

NOTE: Testing was based on 168.6 miles driven, 25 indoor location tests and 8,883 total tests conducted using both a OnePlus 7 Pro 5G (EE) and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G (Vodafone).

The first operator to deploy 5G was EE in May and Vodafone didn’t follow until July 2019. As such it’s no surprise to find that EE are currently delivering the strongest level of availability in Birmingham, although we wouldn’t read too much in to that as rivals will soon catch-up. Overall EE’s 5G network had availability of 51.6% to Vodafone’s 10.8%; if anything this shows just how quickly the operators’ can rollout a new network in urban areas.

In terms of Mobile Broadband speed it’s again worth considering that early 5G networks won’t have many users (low congestion) and are somewhat hobbled by their ability to access a single slice of the 3.4GHz band (EE has a 40MHz slice and Vodafone 50MHz). The fact that RootMetrics used a different Smartphone for each network may also have a role to play in these results.

Non-5G (4G/3G) Median Download Speeds in Birmingham

1. Vodafone 57.1Mbps

2. EE 47.4Mbps

3. O2 12.2Mbps

4. Three UK 9.5Mbps

5G Median Download Speeds in Birmingham

1. EE 185.7Mbps

2. Vodafone 112.2Mbps

Overall the average 5G download speeds appear to be at least more than double what existing 4G networks can produce on the same operator and in EE’s case they’re about four times faster! Not bad considering that at present the technology only has access to a single radio spectrum band and 5G should really come into its own once Ofcom releases more bands in 2020.

In terms of peak download speed, the maximum recorded on EE’s 5G network was 450.9Mbps and this falls away a bit to 366.9Mbps on Vodafone. Once again we wouldn’t read too much into this during the early rollout phase, although it’s notable that we’re still some distance from the claimed Gigabit-capable (1000Mbps+) speeds (wait for some extra bands).

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

“Our number one priority is keeping our customers connected to the things that matter most. This recognition of the early performance of our 5G network reflects our continued investment in delivering the best mobile experience, and our ambition to connect customers 100% of the time.”

A separate report from Opensignal, using different methodology, has already given us an indication of just how fast we can expect 5G networks to go once they have access to the best spectrum in the near future (here). Sadly the RootMetrics report didn’t touch on latency and that’s a shame because we’re keen to see how much faster the network’s response times are than 4G.


Added a comment from EE above.

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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
5 Responses
  1. Avatar Name says:

    It seems that the 5G delivers something was promised by 4G before. It will settle at stable 60-70Mbps once fully deployed and that all.

    1. Avatar Name says:

      Also median for non-5G clearly shows how sh*tty Three and O2 are.

    2. Avatar Stephen Wakeman says:

      I couldn’t help notice the non 5G speeds for O2 and Three. Terrible. Those speeds are achievable with 3G+ years ago. The concept that we’re on the cusp of 5G and those operators are only offering 4G at speeds 3G is capable of is pretty damning.

      It’ll no doubt have a lot to do with capacity, nevertheless as a median stat in an urban area it looks terrible. No wonder 3 do unlimited data so cheaply; at their speeds it would take you 5 times as long to go through the same amount as a decent 4G connection would.

    3. Avatar Connor says:

      I’m actually surprised they got that low. I’ve been using a 5G device on EE for a month now and typically my average low speeds are 200, typically going between 300-450 depending on where I am.

    4. Avatar Name says:

      @Connor it mainly depends on mobile make/model as they mentioned in their “research”. But since Vodafone started selling their wannabe no limit plans, average download speed has dropped from 60Mbps to 15-20Mbps in my town while the download speed is stable 20Mbps.

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