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Q3 2020 Opensignal Study Reveals the Best UK Mobile Networks

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 (9:00 am) - Score 6,216
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The latest October 2020 Mobile Network Experience Report from Opensignal has once again named EE as the best overall UK mobile network operator for 3G and 4G (mobile broadband) performance. The operator was also the first to win the new Games Experience category, which looks at areas like latency, packet loss and jitter.

The new report used data gathered from a total of 376,499 devices (Smartphones etc.) and collected 3,095,512,380 measurements between 1st June and 29th August 2020. The results were then processed to reveal how EE, Three UK, O2 and Vodafone compared across the various categories.

Interestingly, Opensignal claims to have “used 5G measurements“, in addition to those from previous generations of mobile network technology, when determining the overall scores for each metric. But annoyingly they haven’t split the scores out to show how 5G performs, which they do offer for 3G and 4G networks.

Overall EE came top for video experience, games experience, download speed experience, upload speed experience, 4G availability and 4G coverage experience. The only category they lost was for voice app experience, which was won by arch rival Vodafone, although most operators were fairly close for voice apps (the lowest score was ‘75.9 out of 100’ on Three UK, while Vodafone got 78.2).

Meanwhile EE also became the first UK operator to win Opensignal’s new Games Experience award on a score of 72.3 out of 100. By comparison Vodafone was a close second on 71, which was followed by O2 on 67.6 and sadly Three UK was named the worst for mobile gaming on a score of 59.4. Otherwise the main mobile broadband speed (Mbps) and % availability results can be found below.

NOTE: The games tested include some of the most popular real-time multiplayer mobile games, such as Fortnite, Pro Evolution Soccer and Arena of Valor.

opensignal_q3_2020_uk_mobile_operator_scores

As usual there are caveats to this sort of data. For example, some operators have better 4G coverage, lots of spectrum bands and more advanced networks than others. Furthermore app-based crowd-sourced data could also be impacted by any limitations or locations of the devices being used, which at the same time removes the ability to adopt a common type of hardware and environment in order to form a solid baseline for testing.

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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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
9 Responses
  1. William Ulstermanne says:

    From personal experience in my location atleast this has been the case:
    EE PAYM- Solid 30-40 Mbps on speedtest occasionally even getting 64 Mbps, uploads 30 Mbps which is higher than my broadband provider

    Voxi/Vodafone- 20-25 Mbps with uploads of 3-10 Mbps

    O2 PAYM- Lucky to have a decent sounding phone call, no speedtest on the O2 but it manages the odd app update and shows 4G

  2. Michael V says:

    Some users may not have a phone directly from their operator which mostly means that VoLTE won’t be supported or the VoLTE network may not even be seen by a device = no signal for a user. I think that’s one of the main caveats in the list.

  3. Gary HILTON says:

    Naturally others experiences will vary but when looking for a 4g internet solution, EE hands down beat all the other operators providing coverage in my area In terms of speed/latency vs price.

    Loss of a 15r year account to 02 swapping to EE. Happy so far a year later. Very much seems so be dependant on the business model the operator wants to target, 02 could have /would /have retained my custom but their pricing/data allowances were not attractive.

  4. Mr me says:

    It’s funny I’ve always loved ee speed but over the last 10 months my speed has dropped massively and sometimes the download and upload speed is less the 2mb d and 0.36 up.
    I feel the network has expanded rapidly and now to many users and not enough bandwidth..
    Even when I have full 4g+ I can’t open a Web page or images on Instagram etc don’t load.
    Still the best network for coverage but my phone is just unusable when I need it

  5. Meadmodj says:

    Opensignal is fine for overall performance and trends.

    I still find that the best test is to stream radio or music at my frequented locations and journeys. By doing so it soon becomes apparent which provider will provide you the most consistent experience. For instance you may choose a provider based on where you go rather than home where you may have WIFI (and calling) available.

    I also use a Mobile WIFI (H E5785) using an alternative provider to maintain connectivity while travelling (nothing worse than being in a tail back and your Sat Nav app can’t help). It just illustrates how patchy mobile coverage can be in the UK (and it is not just rural).

  6. Buggerlugz says:

    If anything these figures should highlight the shockingly poor state of 4g speeds in the UK. For EE’s 4g to see an average of 35Mbps from a technology which should be mature by now, its as if they don’t want it to deliver anywhere near what it should be capable of….wonder why that is??

    If only the carriers had implemented 4g properly in the first case?

    1. JitteryPinger says:

      Hmmm, I agree with this, EE for example is pretty happy leaving a lot masts pushing a single 1800mhz signal or 2×2 at best, where Ideally they could be at a point now where most there mast could offer 4×4(CA) config over Bands 1,3,7 which then could be used to pump out 4G broadband services too.

      But seems like they are holding the network back and limiting the use rather than encouraging it

  7. Neil says:

    Congestion, not possible max speeds.
    Three on home router I get 100mb down and 30mb up. But the dropouts and connectivity is horrible. EE on the same saw 140mb down and 20mb up. But I need to test more carefully the connectivity.
    In general EE way better. Three cheap but congested. Three have a new network coming with 5g that’s meant to blitz their congestion problems… I’m not convinced!

  8. Sharon Brown says:

    That’s so they can sell us upgrades to our service later.

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