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Three UK Tops Ookla’s 5G Mobile Broadband Speeds Study – H1 2022

Monday, July 11th, 2022 (2:59 pm) - Score 3,336
Symbol max speed meter

Ookla, which operates the popular Speedtest.net service, has published their latest Q1-Q2 2022 (H1) study of 5G based mobile broadband performance from Three UK, EE (BT), Vodafone and O2 (VMO2), which found that Three once again delivered the fastest average (median) download speed. But Vodafone still wins on uploads.

As usual, it’s vital to highlight that mobile data performance can be difficult to pin down because related users are always moving through different areas (indoor, outdoor, underground etc.), using different devices with different capabilities and the surrounding environment (weather, trees, buildings etc.) is ever changeable.

All the above can impact your service, and that’s before we even consider the other complicated issues, such as network (backhaul) capacity at different cell sites or differing spectrum ownership between mobile operators. Nevertheless, in the era of 4G we tended to see EE dominate most of the performance studies, while for 5G that same pendulum has been gradually shifting toward Three UK.

The latest study from Ookla is said to have compared 954,763 user-initiated 5G tests, taken on the Speedtest iOS and Android mobile apps via 261,134 unique devices (Smartphones like the iPhone 13 and 12 Pro Max were the most popular), from all the major mobile carriers in the United Kingdom.

NOTE: Scores in brackets represent the results from last year (H1 2021) for comparison.

Ookla’s UK 5G Mobile Speeds for H2-2022

Median Download Speed
Three UK – 292.57Mbps (231Mbps)
Vodafone – 157.55Mbps (159Mbps)
EE – 143.70Mbps (151Mbps)
O2 – 104.23Mbps (155Mbps)

Median Upload Speed
Vodafone – 15.60Mbps (19.69Mbps)
EE – 14.71Mbps (18.42Mbps)
Three UK – 13.44Mbps (13.65Mbps)
O2 – 10.68Mbps (11.74Mbps)

Median Latency (lower figures are faster)
Vodafone – 29ms (29 milliseconds)
EE – 29ms (29ms)
O2 – 32ms (31ms)
Three UK – 35ms (33ms)

Despite falling short on upload speeds and latency (not that you’d notice such a tiny difference in latency), Three said the award was further testament to the progress of their £2bn+ network transformation, which they say has delivered 5G to 56% of the UK’s population across 3,200 sites in more than 400 locations.

David Hennessy, CTO of Three UK and ROI, said:

“We are delighted to receive this award for the third consecutive half year. As the only operator to be named the UK’s fastest 5G network through testing done with real consumers, we are proud to be delivering on our promise of providing better connectivity, every day, for every customer. It is clear that Three’s network is critical to the UK infrastructure and this could not be achieved without the relentless hard work and dedication of our people.”

The reason why uploads and latency times are, looking more generally, only a little better than those of existing 4G services is because most of the current 5G deployments actually still make some use of 4G connectivity and spectrum, which won’t change until Standalone (SA) 5G becomes common.

The good downstream performance reflects Three UK’s strong spectrum holdings, rapidly rising network coverage and recent capacity upgrades.

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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
21 Responses
  1. Michael says:

    Between Three – my main phone and Vodafone, my 2nd phone, Vodafone usually hover around 150 to 250mbps. Three consistently smashes it at 500 to 700mbps with some places seeing it around 900 approaching 1gbps.

    Latency ain’t so much of a bother. It’s more of a thing for gamers & VoIP users.

    But regardless of Three doing so well, it’s good to see someone else knocking EE off the top spot that they’ve been holding onto for so long.

    1. Sam P says:

      I just a few weeks ago broke the 1gbps mark on Three in Newport. The area was extremely busy too, in rush hour with traffic for miles.


  2. John says:

    Oh someone mentioned that in the forum’s a few days ago, three seem to be doing well lately.


  3. Andy says:

    my download has been ~270 down with peaks of up to 400.

    Speed test this morning? 800-900 mbps.

    Thanks three 🙂

    1. Bent says:

      I just left three as they are crap on 4g as no 5g yet

      I went to ee I’m getting 400 mbps on there 4g plus

    2. Gareth says:

      Yeah, I was at work with an EE SIM in my 5G phone and got over 300Mbps but when I looked it wasn’t on 5G, it was on 4G+. Quite impressed with EE Speeds, but very dear tariffs. I get just as fast speeds on Three for a fraction of the price.

    3. Mike says:


      The higher prices keep the penny pinchers away giving more consistent speeds.

    4. Gareth says:

      Possibly, or another way of looking at it, is that the gullible that pay the premium pay the fat cats wages at BT/EE and not forgetting the outrageous amount totalling £Billions that they pay for football rights….that has to be paid for by all BT/EE customers…it doesn’t come off a magic money tree! LOL

  4. Gareth says:

    I recently got to the 5G Home Hub even though apparently Three don’t have 5G in my area. Got it for £10 a month and it gets average speeds of over 200Mbps and near 500Mbps last evenings.

    Needless to say, after two months of testing it, I’ve finally ditched my 200Mbps Virgin Fibre which they were charging me over £40 a month for.

    Very happy with the Three 5G service. Not great for gaming though if that’s something you do. I tried Microsoft Cloud Gaming and there was simply too much lag, but I’m not really a gamer so not really fussed about that.

    1. Matt says:

      Microsoft cloud gaming is laggy in general. Nothing to do with your Internet. I have symmetric 1 gigabit low latency connection from hyperoptic and it lags.

  5. André says:

    I’ve been hearing of SA 5G for a while. What is it that’s delaying its deployment?
    Will it require further physical upgrades to the network or is it just software?

  6. Anuraj says:

    I use vodafone as main line and Three uk for second line.
    Vodafone is very good for voice quality calls and reasonable 5g coverage and speed.

    Three start to cover more 5g areas and speed really fast.

    Left EE last month because of their voice quality on calls. Most of the time calls drops and can’t hear other side clearly. EE 5g coverage is good.

  7. Sam Perry says:

    I got 1.6Gbps at Horsham on Three, I got 790Mbps on EE in Brighton, 290Mbps on Vodafone in Hove and O2 I got 305Mbps in Worthing.

  8. Rich says:

    I get about 15mbit on O2 5G in Ipswich :/

    1. bubbles says:

      anything under 50mbit is normal for O2 lol, they are really lagging behind

  9. Martin E says:

    Pity their 3G and 4G speeds are dire and their indoor coverage in the likes of supermarkets is non existent

  10. Ben says:

    I used to work for Three and all I can say is most of the staff where on different networks.. This is the problem with Three you can’t have a network where you get 250mpbs on 5G then soon as you move to a 4G area you get less then 1mpbs, very poor 4G network unfortunately Three didn’t start to really invest money upgrading the 4G network until now.

    1. Ryan says:

      That’s describe Three, on 5G Three is good but the issue is when you in a non 5g area that where Three fall to pieces not sure if capacity issues or underinvestment.

      The issue when 4G on Three quite often it basicly unusable or sub 1 Mbps sure in some places it works fine, it’s no way as as consistent as EE or Vodafone if you got 4G on them it’s actually probably works.

  11. Martin Burkitt says:

    Well done 3UK! Nice work in the results.

    I do agree with the whole 5G crazy speed then 4G speeds are slower (but that’s more town and city centres) but that’s bound to happen as the network develops.

    The laughable ‘spot’ review of every supermarket not having signal (works in my one fine) on 3 made my morning – people should take all spot reviews with a huge amount of tongue in cheek.

    Exercise some patience with 5G and it will improve. Too many people want things now and aren’t willing to wait or like to armchair CEO’s.

    1. Ell says:

      With regards to the supermarket comment, there is some truth in that because in one of my local supermarkets for some reason I always struggled to get a signal with O2 but was fine with EE eg O2 would struggle with a 3G signal but EE would keep a good 4G signal.

      Also not sure if there’s a connection but went there recently using a DAB radio with headphones and the DAB signal kept breaking up so maybe there’s something in it?

      As to Three; while their 4G network does leave something to be desired, I have found their 5G coverage where it exists to be pretty decent even offering places where one day you get 5G and the next you don’t.

      They are closely becoming to 5G what EE is to 4G but they and this applies to all operators as well but they all need to be investing in 5G technology as much as they still need to invest in 4G technology and they can do this by ramping up closure of 3G services and using better methods of providing 4G and 5G technology be it on the roof of bus shelters, lamp posts, public buildings etc

  12. Luke Savin says:

    Absolute scandal that Three network is being awarded for the fastest rollout of 5G yet failed miserabley at investing and completing its 4G network versus its rivals. Three network is useless if you live anywhere outside a 5G coverage area/city. If you are lucky to receive 4G then the speeds are crap. Sorry but Three you are like a Ferrari without an engine, you might look good but technically you’re not all there.

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