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H1 2020 Tutela Study Names EE Fastest UK 4G Mobile Operator

Monday, August 17th, 2020 (9:34 am) - Score 835

Crowdsourced data analysis firm Tutela has revealed the results from their H1 2020 study of 4G based mobile broadband performance (speeds, latency etc.) in the United Kingdom. Once again EE (BT) remains top of the pack with median average downloads of 21.2Mbps and one-way latency times of 12ms (milliseconds).

The research was conducted by gathering anonymous usage data from the background of many supporting Android and iOS based Smartphone apps (conducted between February to April 2020), which produced a total of 127 billion measurements, 3.4 billion records, 46.9 million speedtests and billions of other tests for latency, jitter etc.

As part of this Tutela also produces a “Consistent Quality” score for each operator, which reflects the percentage (%) of tests in common coverage areas that meet their CORE and EXCELLENT service thresholds – CORE reflects moderately-intensive tasks (i.e. web browsing, social media, SD video streaming), while EXCELLENT reflects more demanding use (i.e. HD video streaming, Skype video calls, online video gaming etc.).

Overall EE came top here too with an EXCELLENT score of 85.5% and a CORE score of 98.1%, which is slightly up from last year’s report (here). Interestingly most of the scores have improved since our last report, albeit only by the smallest of amounts.

H1 2020 Consistent Quality % by Operator – (2019 Result)
1. EE 85.5% Excellent / 98.1% CORE – (82.5% Excellent / 97.1% CORE)
2. Vodafone 79% Excellent / 97% CORE – (76.4% Excellent / 96.7% CORE)
3. O2 73.6% Excellent / 95.7% CORE – (69.9% Excellent / 94.9% CORE)
4. Three UK 72.1% Excellent / 93.6% CORE – (68.6% Excellent / 93.8% CORE)

However, the results for mobile broadband speeds and latency show some much bigger differences between the four primary operators. EE may still lead the pack, but we note that their speeds haven’t changed much this year, while others have shown more improvement. We should point out that this report is likely to have been impacted by higher demand due to the COVID-19 crisis, yet the operators appear to have held up well.

NOTE: For latency (a measure of response time between servers / networks), faster performance is reflected by lower values.

Fastest UK Operator by Median Download Speed – (2019 Result)

1. EE 21.2Mbps – (21.2Mbps)
2. O2 13.2Mbps – (9.9Mbps)
3. Vodafone 13.1Mbps – (13.3Mbps)
4. Three UK 12Mbps – (9.7Mbps)

Fastest UK Operator by Median Upload Speed – (2019 Result)

1. EE 9.2Mbps – (8.2Mbps)
2. Vodafone 8.3Mbps – (6.5Mbps)
3. Three UK 7.3Mbps – (4.7Mbps)
4. O2 5.5Mbps – (5.3Mbps)

Fastest UK Operator by Latency Performance (Milliseconds) – (2019 Result)

1. EE 12ms – (13ms)
2. O2 15.4ms – (16.6ms)
3. Vodafone 15.8ms – (16.9ms)
4. Three UK 17.9ms – (17.3ms)

At present the new generation of 5G mobile networks are still only just starting their roll-out and so won’t yet be having any significant impact upon such studies. The recent decision to ban Huawei is also expected to slow the related roll-out, which could further suppress its near-term impact at some operators. However, this may be good news for O2, which is already deploying via different suppliers.

As usual we must stress that any testing conducting via non-dedicated apps could be less accurate than dedicate ones (e.g. opensignal). Crowdsourced data can also be affected by the user’s location, as well as any limitations of the device being used and it similarly lacks a common type of hardware (useful when trying to form a solid scientific baseline of performance).

Suffice to say that speed testing like this may not always tell the whole story, but it remains a useful bit of extra information and seems to echo other reports.

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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
4 Responses
  1. Mike says:

    Three really has let themselves go lately.

  2. Qq says:

    Nothing new there, pretty sure EE has been in this position for about 2 years or more now.

    1. JitteryPinger says:

      7 years according to latest ad.

      Can agree to be honest.

  3. Kerbs says:

    I live in rural Essex. Currently using 3 sim cards connected to modems from EE, Three and Vodafone.
    Sounds ridiculous but.. i get fantastic speeds and while a couple are “unlimited” they have ups and downs. i.e Latency when gaming.
    EE – Ive seen 250mb on this connection but right now getting 150-180 quite steadily. This is of course on an “unlimited” but fair usage of 1TB. The connection is stable(ish) but there seems to of been some issues with the mast as of late.
    Three – Up and down like a Yo-Yo however when its up.. 80-100mb constantly. Shares the mast with EE so was a stupid idea for a failover and also used for all my streaming and downloading needs. Connection is truly unlimited, I tested it..
    Vodafone – Recently got this, while stable i only get 40mb on a good day. Good enough for HD not for 4K. The connection is also traffic managed like mad! VPN’s do not work, connections throttled. This is even on a MAX subscription.

    I say all this as while some people in the City centers might get this kind of speed as above.. There are options for rural users. Dont get me wrong i WANT FTTH, but this will do me for now. Nothing worse than being in a conference call or a game and being unexpectedly dropped out.

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