Mobile testing firm RootMetrics (Ookla) has today published their latest biannual H2 2022 study of mobile network (4G and 5G) and broadband performance across the United Kingdom, which once again sees EE (BT) come top of every single ranking category. But Three UK is still delivering the goods in terms of 5G speed.
As usual, the study used the “latest” 5G-enabled Samsung smartphones – purchased off the shelf from operator stores – to test both 4G and 5G performance across all four primary operators. All of this stretched across 16 of the UK’s biggest metro cities. The team then conducted a total of 635,207 tests, including at hundreds of different locations (799 of which were indoor) and while driving a total of 23,384 miles during the day and night.
As usual, the results from this have then been split into several categories (network reliability, speed, data, call and text quality etc.) and each is assigned a score out of 100 (higher numbers = better). In terms of the UK-wide results, EE came top in every single category, which is largely due to the strength of their existing 4G network.
In terms of the average (median) UK download speeds on both 4G and 5G networks combined – EE delivered the strongest data speeds of 58.5Mbps, but this was down from 66.2Mbps in H1 2022. By comparison, Three UK also saw a slide in performance to 28Mbps (down from 29.9Mbps), while Vodafone was largely unchanged on 23.7Mbps (down from 23.8Mbps) and O2 [VMO2] slid to 14.1Mbps (down from 16.4Mbps).
However, it’s worth noting that EE also delivered the fastest overall mobile broadband speeds across each nation, including in England, Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland.
On the other hand, this picture starts to change a bit when we look specifically at 5G networks, where Three UK delivered the fastest median download speed of 202.8Mbps, which is well above second place EE on 141.6Mbps. Sadly the worst performer was, once again, O2 (VMO2) on a speed of just 71Mbps. But sadly, we get no results for upload speeds and latency in this report.
Meanwhile, major mobile operators in the UK have continued to improve 5G availability since the first deployments in 2019, and those improvements have been especially helpful for users of Three UK, EE, and O2, with all three operators consistently averaging 5G availability above 40% in many of the country’s largest metropolitan markets in 2H 2022.
For example, the most improved city for availability of 5G under EE in H2 2022 was Cardiff in Wales, which saw the operator improve its availability from 37.3% to 58.1% over the past 6 months.
Overall, it’s a good day for EE, but if the study introduced some awards for 5G specific categories, then the picture might be a bit different, at least for now.