Mobile operator EE has come out top in terms of overall performance in the latest report from RootMetrics by IHS Markit.
Its latest UK State of the Mobile Union report, which covers the second half of 2020, also notes that UK mobile consumers in possession of a 5G-enabled smartphone can enjoy game-changing speeds. The report, which analyses 4G performance alongside 5G, ranks EE as the leading operator. This follows RootMetrics by IHS Markit's previous survey, which ranked EE as the leading UK operator for overall network performance in the first half of 2020.
EE maintained its lead over competitors in all categories bar accessibility, where Vodafone’s improvements led to a tie. EE also recorded the fastest aggregate median download speed across the entirety of the UK at 43.0Mbps, more than twice as fast as its nearest competitor. EE’s fastest 5G median download speed was 143.6 Mbps, recorded in Hull.
Vodafone retained its second place overall, tying with EE for accessibility and delivering second place finishes in every other category tested. Vodafone also achieved the second-fastest aggregate median download speed of all operators at 21.1 Mbps. However, Vodafone recorded impressive download speeds on 5G, particularly in London, with its 5G median download speed of 216.6Mbps more than 11 times faster than its speed on 4G LTE, and its 5G maximum download speed of 545.6Mbps the best in London.
Although Three UK came third in most categories in 2H 2020, the operator improved its ranking in the text category from third in the first half of 2020 to a three-way tie for second in 2H 2020. Three continued to deliver median download speeds of 10-20Mbps in the majority of cities tested.
O2’s median download speed results in 2H 2020 were broadly consistent with those in the first half of the year, with the majority of its speeds remaining in the 10-20Mbps and 20-30 Mbps ranges. While O2’s call reliability results fell short of those from EE and Vodafone, and were relatively similar to those of Three, the operator achieved near-perfect data reliability results in nearly every city in which it was tested.
RootMetrics by IHS Markit notes that consumers considering an upgrade to a 5G handset will be excited by the speeds but will need to weigh up the current availability of 5G networks and compare it to the 4G LTE performance of operators.
With 5G rollouts primarily concentrated in urban areas to date, EE boasts the broadest 5G accessibility in 15 out of 16 of the major city areas tested. Its highest level of availability was 57% in Nottingham, compared with Vodafone’s 44% in Liverpool and Three’s highest of 29.6% in Hull. For perspective, EE’s lowest 5G availability of 19.6% (Edinburgh) was higher than O2’s highest availability of 17.1% (Hull).
Kevin Hasley, CEO at RootMetrics by IHS Markit, commented: “In the last six months we have witnessed some Herculean efforts from mobile operators to improve their 5G network speeds and availability, while also providing strong performances on 4G LTE, and all while rolling from one lockdown to the next. The progress we’ve seen can only be good news for British consumers who will see improvement across the board with 5G but have the unenviable task of deciding when the right time is to invest in a 5G handset.
“The best advice is look at the data: locally and nationally, on both 5G and 4G LTE, and across the gamut of performance, from speed to reliability to call performance and more. Users are becoming both more demanding and savvier, and we consider it vital that they’re equipped with the most up-to-date and accurate information to allow them to make informed purchasing decisions.”
The full 2H 2020 UK State of the Mobile Union report can be found here.