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Scottish Cities Ranked Best For Mobile Coverage

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Rootmetrics data finds Scottish cities have some of the best mobile coverage in the UK

Rootmetrics’ bi-annual report in the UK has revealed that two Scottish cities offer some of the best mobile performance in the UK.

For the first half of 2017, the testing firm found Glasgow had jumped 11 places over the last six months to claim the title of best overall city, whilst also finishing top for call performance.

Edinburgh meanwhile finished top in the Rootmetrics rankings for the speed and data awards.

Data Centre

City Rankings

Roometrics says that it ranks cities across the UK on a number of mobile performance indicators. Its categories are apparently “designed to emulate how consumers user their phones on a daily basis”.

Its categories are Overall Performance; Network Reliability; Network Speed; Data Performance; Call Performance; and Text Performance.

The data showed that outside the strong performance from Glasgow and Edinburgh, Coventry was ranked as the most reliable city in the country. Liverpool’s sole title came in the text category.

It is important to note here that assumption that the largest cities in the UK feature better mobile performance than that found in smaller metropolitan areas, is rarely true.

Indeed big cities, because of their large populations, as well as tourists and commuters, and architectural challenges (which limits tower placements) are often well down these performance rankings.

Despite that however, Rootmetric found that London (with just under 12 million people) has improved in the first half of 2017, as its ranking jumped from number 13 up to number 9 in the overall performance category.

What mobile network are you using?

  • Three (30%)
  • EE (25%)
  • Vodafone (19%)
  • O2 (16%)
  • Other (11%)

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And in London, there were good signs from all operators across multiple performance categories.

The Rootmetrics data for example found that all operators delivered relatively strong data speeds and call performance was generally strong. EE delivered an improved download speed from 30.5 Mbps up to 36.5 Mbps, while O2’s median upload speed increased from 6.5 Mbps to 7.4 Mbps.

Rootmetrics also saw improvement in O2’s dropped call rate. Three’s median upload speed increased from 5.0 Mbps to 6.6 Mbps. Likewise, Vodafone’s upload speed increased from 7.1 Mbps to 8.8 Mbps, and its dropped call rate remained very good at 0.9%.

“It’s all change in the latest round of results for the metro areas, showing that like the UK’s sporting leagues, mobile performance is just as hotly contested.” said Scott Stonham, General Manager of Europe at RootMetrics.

“What’s clear is that, while there have been some strong performers – particularly in Scotland where Glasgow and Edinburgh are amongst the leaders – there is not a huge discrepancy across the country.

“It’s encouraging because it shows that while performance continues to improve there are no specific areas being left behind – although naturally some cities perform better than others.”

Must Do Better

Other rankings saw Manchester in overall fifth place, Birmingham in tenth, and Leeds and Bradford in thirteenth.

In the “must do better” category, the bottom three metro areas by performance are Bristol (ninth for population size but 14th in rankings); Hull (16th population size but 15th in ranking); and Cardiff (10th in population ranking and 16th in ranking).

Seattle-based RootMetrics has been carrying out network tests in the US since 2008, and moved to the UK in the last few years.

Some mobile operators (mostly the ones that don’t do too well) have disputed the firm’s findings and methods. Indeed, the colourful CEO John Legere of T-Mobile in the US reportedly called RootMetrics’ rankings “bullshit”.

But RootMetrics has defended its approach and has previously told Silicon UK that its scientific approach gives the best indication of how well a network will perform, giving consumers the chance to make an informed decision and networks the opportunity to improve their service.

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