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Discussion - EE Become First UK Mobile Operator to Hit 50 Percent 5G Cover

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
EE Become First UK Mobile Operator to Hit 50 Percent 5G Cover

I recently came across this story on ISPR and thought straight away that it was a garbage claim, so I got an EE Pay Monthly sim and checked it out myself, this lead me to quickly conclude by commenting as such on the story many days later...

Sorry but EE is talking rubbish here….


I’ve an EE sim in a Samsung S22+, the device shows the 5G symbol but in disconnected state, and no 5G bearers are detected and no masts within a mile have 5G kit from EE on them.


I also took notice on my device of when 5G actually connected and it only connected in two locations and that was very shortlived.


Three have enabled 4x as many existing and new masts with 5G kit in the same area.


Vodafone and O2 also have more 5G coverage.


I plain do not agree with how EE advertise there service…. I also know that many devices mistake 5G ENDC availability on masts with EE as being connected too 5G however speedtesting apps (in particular nperf) will see past this mistake and show 4G as the connection type.


I also run O2 and Three on this same device and see true network type shown even with ENDC enabled on non 5G masts in the area so I do think EE may be manipulating results here and actually think they are delaying upgrades too 5G as the need isn’t there for their 4G network which does run extremely fast compared to others.


I may contact ASA to investigate this issue.

Following on from this I wish to discuss the topic with other users of EE Pay Monthly and 1P Mobile with 5G plans.

As I've mentioned in my quote above, I've been using the EE sim now for about a week however, I've previously used EE via 1p Mobile to test 5G before now and saw an exactly duplicated result as I'm seeing now, with no actual improvements in the service since the 1p trial back this time last year.

At that time I was using a Xiaomi Mi10T Lite which was a great device for testing and still is if looking for NSG support.

However this time around I'm using a Samsung S22+ with stock Samsung Software and no root, however this is enough.

The benefit of using the Samsung firmware this time around is the way the software identifies what network type the carrier is using, for instance when the 5G logo appears and isn't filled (solid white/black depending on dark mode) this means the device is connected to 4G+ (multiple bands) but that the mast has been enabled to connect with other 5G masts within range.... and when the 5G logo is filled or solid white or black then 5G bearer (cell) is connected.

On my previous device I used Googles stock software and it would show 5G symbol and no indications of what the was actually active, I used to distinguish this by opening a speed test app or diagnostic app to tell me if it was 4G+ or 5G NSA (such as nPerf)

What I noticed in both my old and new devices however is networks such as 3/O2/Vodafone didn't actually do this all of the time I was connected to masts for 4G that where actually in range of 5G bearers (cells) ....

and the only time my S22 shows the non-solid 5G symbol on these networks is when actually in range and connected to a 5G bearer (cell) and will go between non-solid and solid colors if transmitting data using the bearer..... (So in idle mode is non-solid, when streaming its solid)

Now while the last paragraph is the same with EE, the device thinks there's a "constant" availability of 5G, but isn't able to connect, but when looking at various cell monitoring apps and also Samsung's own stack diagnostics (*#0011#) no 5G/NR cells are detected "at all / in range"

This puzzled me quite a bit when I kept going around to EE masts and finding no 5G radios or signals, not even DSS signals where being detected, and all the while the various testing and diagnostic apps just kept reporting 4G/4G+/LTE-A....

When I did go to 5G enabled masts all worked as was supposed too and identified correctly, however once again you leave that mast and you don't lose 5G you just don't connect (basically)

I obviously compared this to the other networks and in all tests 5G symbols only came on screen when the service was in range and usable.... in a few cases the signal from the 5G cell would become to weak to use and the non-solid 5G logo would remain on screen but only for a few seconds before retrying the connection or dropping back to 4G.

So I draw a pretty solid conclusion that EE's network is "mistakenly" leading its customers to see 5G reception, where non exists.

I also want to draw attention to the 50% figure they 'claim' to have covered "more than"......

Even if that's population/users based, they would have had to enable 5G cells in densely populated and urban areas however they seemed to have missed out a lot of urban city of Birmingham, worse still they even missed over-populated areas such as Selly Oak high street right in the heart of University Of Birmingham area, they've also missed other high streets and education areas along with train stations and a-roads.

I would like to know how EE became the first network to come to this conclusion when they have less availability than all the other operators in the UK's 3rd largest city, my only conclusion to that is that they must have upgrade nearly every mast in the whole of the London area.

To put it this way, I would say Three have gone beast mode with their 5G rollout in Birmingham, and most other major areas of the UK too, off the top of my head I can count 31+ Three masts with 5G kit operating on (a lot of them new masts), I can count 14+ O2 masts with active 5G cells, 10+ Vodafone masts with active 5G cells (including DSS)....

But EE.... 8 masts only. and they are not in close proximity.

Now I'm not personally too worried about needing 5G on EE, there network operates very well, even an old 2x2 streetpole integrated into a lamppost gave me well over 100mbps the other day on test but I think this statement by EE is absolute bulls..... and from the writing on the article I think the author does too.

I'll be keeping the EE sim as I actually need it for work but I think its about time networks and media getting there s.... together and stop misleading people.

I'm hoping to hear some of your own experiences and also would like to know what iPhone users see on their devices and maybe London does have a flawless blanket of coverage??

Thanks for reading :)
 

GazzaSat

Casual Member
Interesting m8. I am on Three currently but might get hold of a 1p Mobile sim for some more testing.

What I have noticed round here (Newcastle) recently is that seemingly pretty much all the 4G EE masts have now started pushing out the ENDC signal which act as the directors for few actual 5G bearer masts that are around. Remember UK uses non-stand alone (NSA) 5G which means you need to connect to a 4G mast to get the 5G.

Just because the mast gives you an ENDC it does not mean you can actually receive the 5G bearer mast it tells you about. I am guessing here that your non-solid 5G is the presence of the ENDC information.

Most other providers (VF an Three where i am) are not pushing out ENDC from every mast, only the ones that actually have been upgraded.

Maybe this is an EE marketing cheat, maybe it is a way to scale their infrastructure and add 5G masts then simply re-routing the ENDC mapping as they go.... we'll see.
 

Meatball

ULTIMATE Member
EE coverage maps in my view (with testing in Crawley and else where) are clearly far too optimistic. I don't know whether there is specified signal level that should be provided but my experience is that unless you are near a mast 5G is not available outdoors (or indoor close to). Only the central masts in town have NR and local masts around Crawley remain 4G.

Things may change as 700 is introduced and more masts are enabled but for EE to claim 50% coverage has to be premature if my experience is to go by.
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
Remember UK uses non-stand alone (NSA) 5G which means you need to connect to a 4G mast to get the 5G.
Correct and I am aware.

Just because the mast gives you an ENDC it does not mean you can actually receive the 5G bearer mast it tells you about. I am guessing here that your non-solid 5G is the presence of the ENDC information.
Also correct and I am aware.

Most other providers (VF an Three where i am) are not pushing out ENDC from every mast, only the ones that actually have been upgraded.
I can confirm that I've also looked into this, actually over a year ago....and the situation is that while the statement is somewhat correct, most providers now have ENDC enabled on masts even out of NR coverage.

I also mentioned above that masts with ENDC signals coming off them are not leading to the device advertising 5G availability.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
I've never been able to connect to 5G from EE. It just simply doesn't exist in Bradford. The only network with a true 5G presence is Three. Vodafone and O2 have limited coverage in towns (bingley, keighely and the likes), but Three is overall 5G king where I am. I have my EE sim in my S20+ and as JP said, I see the 5G icon but it never actually connects and sits at the NR Disconnected screen in settings.
 

Badkilleh

Member
Your analysis is comparable to my personal experience too, if you look at EEs 5G coverage map, the “indoor” coverage pockets typically show you the locations of the 5G masts. In Blackpool as an example, EE has just two masts broadcasting 5G, whereas Three has far more. Seemingly the issue for Three is the inability to anchor 5G from their older Samsung based sites.
 

Flagrag

Regular Member
This news story is like a recent one from Cyprus, The state owned supplier Cyta Mobile claimed to be offering 99% Island wide 5G which is a European first.

Now don’t get me wrong they do have an impressive amount of 5G coverage but there is still a few areas where it does not work .

Another strange thing is with all this 5G coverage that they do not allow any roaming on this network especially for Vodafone Customers as the mobile network is a joint venture
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
Another gripe I've got with EE's 5G rollout is the use of passive antennas in 4x4 only config.... so significant benefits are lost from using active radios with 34x32/64x64 MaMIMO
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
Which benefits?

Beam-forming won't be as good, but that's probably acceptable for the lower frequencies - higher frequencies (n78) benefit more as then they're able to travel/target further
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
EE have the site density to not need AAUs as much, both in terms of coverage and capacity (devices connected per antenna), at least when the rollout is up to a certain level. It's not like their current 4G with 2x2/4x4 is often underperforming Vs the competition
 
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