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RootMetrics Benchmarks the Best UK Mobile Networks in H2 2021

Wednesday, Jan 19th, 2022 (11:02 am) - Score 2,824

Mobile testing firm RootMetrics, which was recently gobbled by Ookla (here), has today published their latest H2 2021 study of mobile network (4G and 5G) and broadband performance across the United Kingdom, which once again awards the top spot to EE (BT), with Vodafone being the runner-up.

As usual, this study used the “latest” Samsung 5G-enabled smartphones – purchased off the shelf from operator stores – to test both 4G and 5G performance on the networks. All of this stretched across 16 of the UK’s biggest metro cities. The testing team then conducted a total of 650,328 tests, including at 750 different locations and while driving a total of 25,027 miles.

The results have then been split into several categories (network reliability, speed, data, call and text quality etc.) and each is assigned a score out of 100 (higher numbers = better). In terms of the UK-wide results, EE came top in almost every single category except ‘Calls‘, where they shared the top spot with Vodafone.

Rootmetrics H2 2021 UK Mobile Network Scores

Overall Scores for H2 2021 (vs H1 Result)
1. EE – 95.3 (up from 95.2)
2. Vodafone – 90.9 (down from 92.3)
3. O2 [VMO2] – 88.6 (up from 87.6)
4. Three UK – 87.6 (up from 87.5)

In terms of the average (median) UK download speeds on both 4G and 5G networks combined – EE delivered the strongest data speeds of 60.4Mbps (up from 58.8Mbps), while Vodafone hit 24.8Mbps (down from 25.2Mbps), Three UK returned 21.6Mbps (up from 19.1Mbps) and O2 [VMO2] scored bottom with 15.2Mbps (down from 15.6Mbps).

Mobile Download Speeds by UK Region – H2 2021 (Mbps)

EE: 62.0
Three: 22.7
Virgin Media O2: 15.8
Vodafone: 25.0

EE: 55.7
Three: 17.6
Virgin Media O2: 12.9
Vodafone: 23.9

Northern Ireland
EE: 50.1
Three: 12.5
Virgin Media O2: 13.0
Vodafone: 23.1

EE: 45.0
Three: 12.3
Virgin Media O2: 8.6
Vodafone: 23.6

Sadly, the report includes very little detail on other areas, such as network latency, 5G availability and upload speeds, but some of that data is likely to follow in a 5G specific report.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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10 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Anuraj says:

    Using EE last 2 years. Speed is always good but sometime too many users on 5g and get under 10mbps.

    Also voice quality is terrible. Most of the time calls drop or not good quality. Battery drains quicker because of 1 or 2 bar signal.

    I used Vodafone before. Voice quality is much better may be they on 800mhz or 900mhz. Signal quality is good and better battery life.

    With Vodafone speed is not fast as EE but nothing to complain.

  2. Avatar photo Michael V says:

    Seeing much more Three 5G around Cardiff & surrounding areas. Averaging about 300mbps.
    Vodafone for mobile number 2 has good coverage but 5G speeds much slower.
    But coverage improving from them both.

  3. Avatar photo El Guapo says:

    Interesting. When I complained to EE about their speed, using Ookla/speedtest.net for my metrics the EE tech department spat the dummy out and refused to accept it. They told me if I didn’t use rootmetrics they wouldn’t even look at it.

    And now rootmetrics is owned by ookla.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Does RootMetrics offer an end-user speed test?

    2. Avatar photo James says:

      I believe their app does. Never found it to be reliable though. Worse than Ookla.


    3. Avatar photo Meadmodj says:

      The way Rootmetrics currently record and summarise data has its short comings but the Coverage option https://webcoveragemap.rootmetrics.com/en-GB could provide a good basic guide to the average mobile user. However currently they are dependant on the small number people participating and the quality of their devices.

      In my area the issue is the holes in their coverage which I intend to try and update. I assume they will now be combining Ookla and Rootmetric data which will help.

      Beware though their app is a battery killer.

      My view is that if we can get more detailed and accurate coverage in this currently volatile provision of UK mobile then their data would be a useful first step before obtaining test PAYG SIMS as the coverage maps from the providers are rubbish.

  4. Avatar photo James says:

    Still waiting for the 2nd Half 2021 results for Hull!

  5. Avatar photo James says:

    Thought this was the case.

    Their app is poor too. Tried contributing to the map but it never seems to want to go past 4-500 when all other speedtests will easily hit 7-800

  6. Avatar photo drevilbob says:

    Three would be higher but their 4G is just over-subbed and their customer service is worse of the big four, genuinely the worse out of the four.

  7. Avatar photo Joe says:

    I use EE at home and I get 150Mb on 4G, fantastic speed. Looking forward to 5G when it happens.

Comments are closed

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