With the introduction of its 4G service and integration of the Orange and T-Mobile networks, EE is now ranked top in London for overall mobile performance. The network replaces Three for best service in the capital according to independent, on-the-ground tests carried out by RootMetrics. Vodafone, which previously shared the number 2 ranking, has fallen to last place in the latest testing of mobile consumer experience.
In a boost for Londoners, EE now offers mobile internet speeds that top those of the fastest available in New York. As recently as October, the Big Apple clocked in four times faster than London’s average download speeds (across all networks) of just 2.3 Mbps. Now EE 4G offers average download speeds of 13.6 Mbps and upload speeds of 8.4 Mbps, just pushing past the speeds of the top operator across the pond, which offers average download speeds of 13.1 Mbps and average upload speeds of 7.3 Mbps. The difference makes the rapid evolution to mobile video and streaming possible for Londoners who previously would have had to suffer through painfully slow buffering periods.
Additionally, the speeds seen are faster than the average fixed-line broadband, which Ofcom says is 12 Mbps[i]. In tests it took EE just 3.8 seconds to download 10 emails and under a second to load a typical web page.
Throughout London and its commuter belt, Vodafone recorded an average download speed of 4.8 Mbps – more than twice the speeds recorded in October 2012. That means it would usually take around 5 seconds to buffer online music and it could be frustrating to watch HD video due to buffering. Uploading an image to Facebook, for instance, could take as long as 45 seconds given the average Vodafone upload speed is 1.4 Mbps. And while it must be noted that O2 actually offers slower speeds, Vodafone’s network reliability (how often users can connect and then consistently use the network) is lower than its competitors. On this front, Vodafone scored 92.3 (out of 100) compared to 97.8 for Three, 97.2 for EE, and 94.6 for O2. Taking this into account, Vodafone comes bottom of the league.
The overall ranking for the major mobile network providers in London’s LUZ was:
Rank Operator Score
1 EE 92
2 Three 83
3 O2 81
4 Vodafone 72
There remains a marked difference between the mobile internet speeds in the centre of London and the outlying towns across all networks. For example, while EE offers average download speeds of 17.2 Mbps in London itself, this drops to 11.9 Mbps in towns in the commuter belt. O2 in comparison had speeds of 3.9 Mbps and 2.9 Mbps respectively. Anything below 3 Mbps might feel slow to today’s connected consumers, although these speeds are better than the very slow connections seen in some rural areas. Vodafone, for example, offers a download speed of just 0.6 Mbps in the vicinity of Hull.
“Our testers conducted more than 83,211 tests to deliver a highly accurate picture of mobile network performance in the area,” explains RootMetrics CEO and President Bill Moore. “Using our data, we’ve seen that London now has faster 4G available than New York, but that there remains a clear split between the operators in the capital and its surrounding areas. EE is ahead of its competitors thanks to the introduction of its 4G service, which offers mobile internet that is more than twice as fast as the newest 3G technologies offered by other networks. This is going to become more important for people as they increasingly use their mobiles to search the internet, listen to music or watch videos.
“While all operators have broadly upped their game in the last eight months, some have achieved less than others, leading to a major reordering of the rankings. Londoners may not think that the service provided by a mobile network can shift so dramatically so quickly. Our tests and online reports allow people to see just how fast things can change and then decide which operator is best for them, where they live.”
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