Ofcom’s research revealed that EE not only rules in terms of 4G mobile coverage but also offers the fastest speeds in the country.
Ofcom regularly conducts speed tests to see what the quality of service that operators offer is. This month the watchdog published a research into 4G and 3G performance that checked the quality of mobile coverage of four main mobile operators, i.e. EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. The test was done in five major British cities and included over 200,000 smartphone tests, both indoors and outdoors.
Ofcom checked both download and upload speeds, as well as web browsing speed and latency. All of these factors are important when using mobile Internet, as they ensure the quality of the experience. In terms of download speeds, the average result was just above 15 Mbit/s on 4G which was more than twice as much as on 3G (6.1 Mbit/s). It turned out that O2 and EE offered the best performance, as their average was 15.6 Mbit/s and 18.4 Mbit/s respectively. The result was followed by Vodafone which was just 1Mbit/s below the average and 3G UK was discovered to be the worst performing one with the speeds of roughly 11 Mbit/s. In terms of 3G speeds, again EE opened the list, followed by Vodafone that had just slightly worse result. The last two places were taken by 3G and O2. The results were almost the same in terms of upload speeds. However, the analysis of web-browsing experience showed that Three UK’s network ensures the fastest website loading time.
Ofcom also looked into mobile coverage of these operators. All of the operators showed that their 3G mobile coverage is above 90%, which complies with their terms of licence. In terms of 4G mobile coverage, Ofcom analysed the period between June 2014 and October 2014. The study was based on data provided by operators which was then crosschecked with Ofcom’s own field measurements. The top scorer in this category was again EE. It can boast having 70% of indoor mobile coverage in studied cities, followed by 51% of O2 and Vodafone. Although EE is the best, the biggest improvement was seen in Vodafone’s mobile coverage as it jumped from 37% in June to 51% in October. Due to some technical problems they couldn’t measure Three UK’s 4G mobile coverage but looking at other research one can see that they have the lowest 4G coverage in the UK.
Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, commented on the research by saying: “Having fast, reliable broadband on the move is vital for many consumers and businesses across the UK. Today’s research shows 4G is providing a significantly enhanced mobile broadband experience to customers, which we expect to be available to 98% of the UK population by 2017 at the latest.”
“Improving mobile quality of service is an important area of Ofcom’s work. Our research both incentivises mobile providers to offer a higher quality of service, while helping consumers choose a mobile package that best suits their needs.”