EE And Vodafone Are ‘Joint-Best’ UK 4G Networks

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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New tests by P3 aim to give operators a ‘real life’ insight into how their networks are doing as O2 finishes last in another benchmark

EE and Vodafone have been named the joint-best mobile operators in the UK following independent tests by P3 Communications.

The two companies scored 803 out of a possible 1,000 points – a figure based on tests for voice and data use in 13 major cities, a number of smaller towns and 2,000 miles of road. Tests were either conducted on foot, both indoors and outdoors, and in cars.

The idea, P3 says, is to give the operators an idea of how their networks perform in ‘real life’ scenarios.

Network tests

UKVodafone was the most improved operator of all and had the best voice service. EE, which has the fastest network and the widest 4G coverage, was strongest in web browsing, file transfer and high-definition video streaming on YouTube.

Three came third with a score of 778 but testers praised its strong performance on roads and in smaller towns. O2 came last, although it was the second most improved with a score of 747, and was noted for its voice service.

P3 also provided a snapshot of how all four companies are doing in London, which still benefits from better service than the rest of the UK. Here, Vodafone won with a score of 548/675 although O2 had the best voice and EE the best data.

“Our tests are good news for the UK’s mobile customers, because for the first time three networks are in our ‘good’ category, even though this year’s tests were the toughest yet,” said Hakan Ekmen, CEO of P3.

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Pressure to improve

“It is gratifying that over the three years we have been testing we can see substantial improvements in the overall quality of service, which is a clear indication of how our benchmarks are helping to drive improvements in the networks.”

“High-quality connectivity is going to be essential to the UK’s future quality of life and competitiveness and our tests mark the country’s progress towards embracing the many opportunities that will unfold.”

In separate tests by RootMetrics, EE was named best in all categories ahead of Three. Vodafone was third and O2 finished last.

O2 has been critical of RootMetrics methods, while Three prefers to emphasise other metrics which take into account things like customer service. However Stonham told TechWeekEurope in an interview earlier last year that the operators could not discredit it’s “scientific” network tests.

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