EE is ranked the number one overall mobile phone network in Manchester and the surrounding areas – according to independent, on-the-ground tests carried out by RootMetrics (www.rootmetrics.co.uk). Meanwhile Vodafone has fallen from joint first to last place in the league of mobile phone networks despite doubling its mobile internet speeds since last December.
EE’s mobile internet download speeds were an extremely quick 15.2 Mbps on average thanks to its super-fast 4G service launched last autumn. This means it would take less than a second to buffer and then listen to music online. This is faster than the average fixed-line broadband, which Ofcom says is 12 Mbps.
In tests it took just 3.3 seconds to download 10 emails and only 0.7 seconds to load a typical web page. Locals could therefore use an EE contract to do everything they do via their home broadband, but faster and with the added bonus of taking that connectivity everywhere in the city where’s its available.
EE’s average download speed in Manchester city centre was found to be 17.9 Mbps and the new 4G network was accessible in 75.1 per cent of tests within the city – up from 40.2 per cent last November.
Vodafone recorded an average download speed of 5.1 Mbps – twice the speeds reported just five months ago. 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 15 seconds given the average Vodafone upload speed is 2.0 Mbps. And while It must be noted that O2 actually offers slower average download speeds than Vodafone at just 3.7 Mbps, 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 91.4 (out of 100) compared to 98.3 for Three, 97.7 for EE, and 97.2 for O2. Taking this into account, Vodafone comes bottom of the league.
Three’s mobile internet speed has tripled since results of testing were last released. The network offers customers 6.3 Mbps average download speeds, presumably on account of its launch of its Ultrafast service. O2 also provides faster average download and upload speeds than it previously did. However, neither can keep pace with EE’s 4G service.
When it comes to making calls, O2 and Three had the strongest results, taking joint first place. Both had very low call failure rates: O2, 1.2 per cent and Three, 1.7 per cent. That means just 17 in every 1,000 calls from mobiles on Three, for example, would not go through. Although Vodafone performed worse with 3.2 per cent of calls failing to connect, this call failure rate is on a par or better than many other parts of the UK. EE had a call failure rate of 2.1 per cent. In terms of text message delivery, all operators did well – each delivering more than 92 per cent of texts within 10 seconds.
There remains a marked difference between the mobile internet speeds in the centre of Manchester and its outlying areas across all networks. For example, while EE offers average download speeds of 17.9 Mbps in Manchester itself, this drops to 12.3 Mbps in places like Wigan, Rochdale and Bolton due to the smaller footprint of 4G, which was found in 54.5 per cent of tests. Three’s average download speed drops from 6.9 Mbps to 5.6 Mbps, Vodafone drops from 5.7 Mbps to 4.7 Mbps and O2 from 4.2 Mbps to 3.1 Mbps. While these speeds are much faster than in the suburban areas near other cities in the UK, this city/town split remains a serious issue – putting consumers and businesses outside the city centre at a major communications disadvantage.
“Our testers conducted more than 31,220 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 there remains a clear split between the operators in Manchester and the 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 five months, some have achieved less than others, leading to a major reordering of the rankings. Manchunians 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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