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EE tops hotly contested mobile speed charts

Barry Collins
10 Feb 2015
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RootMetrics report claims EE remains the UK's best mobile network

EE has once again been lauded as the UK's best performing mobile network in a hotly disputed ranking compiled by RootMetrics. EE was the victor in all six of the categories measured by RootMetrics, including mobile internet, call and text performance. 

Vodafone - which once again fares poorly in the RootMetrics rankings - has questioned RootMetrics' methodology in the past. RootMetrics tests the networks using unnamed "off-the-shelf" smartphones, raising doubts over the consistency of test equipment. It also makes no distinction between 3G and 4G performance, giving EE something of an advantage in the rankings, as it was allowed to start building its 4G network a year ahead of all of its rivals. 

Quibbles over the methodology aside, RootMetrics reports that the mobile networks are getting faster across the board - contradicting reports late last year that the performance of 4G networks was rapidly deteriorating. "Contrary to what you might have heard or read elsewhere, speeds aren’t slipping," RootMetrics' report insists. "And network upgrades at the metro level could soon expand and be primed to have a greater impact on nation and UK performance."

No doubt due to the maturity of its 4G network, "EE easily outpaced the other networks in our speed index tally," according to RootMetrics. The firm recorded some impressive speed jumps on EE since it last tested six months ago: median download speeds in Coventry rose from 8.6Mbits/sec to 14.8Mbits/sec; Nottingham hopped from 16.7Mbits/sec to 22.8Mbits/sec, whilst Belfast has the highest median mobile download speed at 30Mbits/sec. 

It wasn't all gravy for EE customers. Performance in Hull is described as "much lower" than in other metros, while EE's speed in Newcastle had dropped by more than half from 21Mbits/sec to 10Mbits/sec. 

Three was the next best performer in RootMetrics' tests. It was the only network to share an overall category win with EE, tying with its rival when it came to network reliability. Three's relatively small 4G footprint means it suffers on speed, however. "Three was the only network to never record 10Mbits/sec or greater in our median download speed results for the 16 metros," according to RootMetrics. 

O2 - which is soon to merge with Three - showed the most improvement of any of the networks. Reliability of the network was variable, however. "O2 was especially strong in reliability in Manchester and Coventry, but Hull and Cardiff stood out as metros with room for improvement," said RootMetrics, delivering more bad news to the residents of Humberside. 

Vodafone was bottom of the pile overall, although RootMetrics did throw some crumbs of comfort to its chief critic. "Vodafone has been aggressively upgrading its 4G footprint, and the speeds we saw in the second half are encouraging and could be a sign of things to come in 2015," RootMetrics reported. 

The full RootMetrics report can be found here.

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