RootMetrics: EE and Vodafone pull further ahead of the pack
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:
Credit: Dean Moriarty/Pixabay

Rootmetric by IHS Markit has in its Review of the Mobile Landscape 1H 2019 reported that EE has the UK’s best performing mobile network, with Vodafone in second place, Three in third place and O2 bringing up the rear.

This pattern held true across UK-wide RootScores for overall performance, reliability, speed, data and calls, but in the case of text, EE and Vodafone were tied for first place and O2 beat Three for third place.

EE’s aggregate median download speed of 37.6 Mbps across the entirety of the UK was the fastest among all operators (Vodafone: 21.7 Mbps, Three: 13.6 Mbps, O2: 11.1 Mbps). EE delivered median download speeds of at least 30 Mbps in 15 metro areas compared to the 11 seen in the previous round of testing (2H 2018). It also recorded speeds faster than 40 Mbps in four of those 15 markets.

However, EE was beaten by Vodafone in terms of the fastest download speed observed, hitting a fastest median download speed of 45.7 Mbps in Birmingham, compared to the 51.7 Mbps seen with Vodafone in Liverpool.

One key factor that was responsible for several of the report’s observations is improved performance from EE and Vodafone, which made O2 and Three rank lower in some areas than before, despite no decrease in their networks’ performance. For example, in the second half of 2018, EE and Three shared the UK Call RootScore Award, but this time EE won it outright.

Looking at performance across the countries that make up the United Kingdom, EE owned or shared the top spot in every test category in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland and delivered the fastest aggregate median download speeds across the entire UK and within each of the four nations. Vodafone solidified its position as a strong second place in home nation testing, having made considerable improvements at this level, with fast speeds and improved performance in Wales.

O2 performed strongly in Northern Ireland, where it ranked first for text performance and third in all other categories. The report also states that “O2’s RootScores in Northern Ireland remained generally high and relatively close to those of the leaders.”

Three tied for first place in network reliability and call performance in Wales and RootMetrics reports that its performance across the UK remains steady despite it falling in the rankings.

Turning to performance in metropolitan areas, the most significant change was that Vodafone’s tally of won and shared awards leaped from 42 to 50, while EE’s was unchanged at 90 – prompting O2’s and Three’s tallies to drop from 25 to 13 and from 20 to six, respectively (when compared with the results from the second half of 2018).

To produce these results, RootMetrics performed 582,598 tests, drove 19,238 miles, tested 648 indoor locations along with 16 metro areas and visted more than 750 locations.

Kevin Hasley, head of product at RootMetrics by IHS Markit said: “EE’s continued dominance of our testing backed by Vodafone’s improvements means there is healthy competition in the UK mobile operator market. Three and O2 have also performed well in specific categories, leaving a very competitive market.”

“5G is still in its infancy and the vast majority of the customer experience will remain on 4G networks for the foreseeable future. Operators have to balance the early stages of 5G deployments while continuing to improve 4G LTE performance. It will be interesting to see how operators differ in their approach to managing network changes.”

“We’ve already seen an indication of the future from our recent South Korea 5G tests and there is a real opportunity for operators to make a move in ensuring this technology can provide the capacity, low latency and fast speeds required to enable the Internet of Things and connect our world like never before.”

The full report can be viewed here and may be of use to businesses when choosing which mobile network operator(s) they will use for their PTT over Cellular devices or to satisfy their mobile working connectivity requirements.


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