Rivals Close 4G Gap On EE As Operators Make Gains In Nations

EE still tops Rootmetrics’ rankings but the best network might depend on whether you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

EE continues to have the best mobile network in the UK, but its dominance is being eroded by its competitors’ investments in infrastructure, and regional differences.

RootMetrics has consistently ranked EE as number one ever since the research firm started testing the UK market, but noticed a “dramatic change” over the past six months.

EE scored 91.3 out of 100, but Three was close behind on 90.8, as was Vodafone with 90.2 and O2 bringing up the rear with 87.3.



The BT-owned operator won the network speed and data performance categories, but Vodafone tied with Three for calls and EE for texts. These are the first category victories ever recorded by Vodafone. Three was deemed most reliable of all four operators.

In terms of availability, EE was able to provide a 4G signal 90 percent of the time, ahead of Vodafone on 82 percent, O2 on 81 percent and Three on 67 percent.

All six categories were applied to the UK’s 16 biggest cities, and again, EE’s lead decreased. It won 74 categories, down from 94, while Three increased its share to 39 from 20, Vodafone to 38 from 33 and O2 to 38 from 28. RootMetrics said this can be attributed to call performance as EE shifts to new technologies.

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But perhaps most intriguingly is how each network performs at a nation level. EE is the best network in England, Vodafone is best and most reliable in Northern Ireland, where O2 also performs well, while Three is the best and most reliable in Scotland and Wales.

“These latest results have really shaken things up and show the increasing competitiveness in the UK, particularly over the last six months,” said Scott Stonham, general manager of Europe for RootMetrics.

“EE continues to lead the way, but Three and Vodafone are close behind. What is clear is that each operator showed strong performance in at least one particular country, while nobody was able to sweep the board at the four-nations level. UK consumers have strong mobile options depending on how and where they use their devices most.”

“To succeed, mobile operators must secure sufficient radio spectrum and invest in the necessary equipment, sites and operational teams to ensure consumers enjoy fast reliable mobile broadband,” added Ian Fogg, an analyst with IHS.

“With new UK spectrum allocations soon to be auctioned in the run up to 5G, these performance results provide a snapshot on the competitive balance between the UK mobile operators now, and highlight which operators most need to acquire new spectrum capacity if they are to be a future mobile performance winner.”

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