EE Is Fastest 4G Operator But O2, Vodafone Closing Gap

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RootMetrics first 4G-only tests show that although EE still benefits from LTE headstart, O2 and Vodafone are catching up in terms of speed

EE offers the fastest speeds of any 4G operator but O2 and Vodafone are catching up, according to RootMetrics’ first ever LTE-only report.

The firm tested all four major networks in the UK’s 16 most populated metropolitan areas, covering half of the country’s population.

The fastest speed was recorded by EE in Belfast at 94.1Mbps, while O2’s quickest result of 64.7Mbps came in London. Vodafone recorded 64.5Mbps in both the Northern Irish and English capitals, while Three’s fastest test of 24.8Mbps came in Sheffield.

4G Speeds

4G (c) De Mango, Shutterstock 2013However, RootMetrics says the average median speed is a more accurate metric of performance. EE scored above 20Mbps in 12 of the 16 markets tested, with O2 and Vodafone not far behind and Three further back still.

O2 scored above 14Mbps in all but one of the 13 markets it covers in LTE, while Vodafone exceeded 14Mbps in 11 of the 13 areas it serves. Three reached double figures in all but two if its 14 cities.

Reliability for all four operators was strong. When a successful connection was made, it was retained on virtually every single occasion.

Three offered the best speed when a 4G connection could not be achieved though, achieving median of 7.3Mbps on 3G in Belfast. EE’s fastest 3G connection was 4.9Mbps while Vodafone exceeded 3Mbps just once and O2 didn’t even manage that.

“2014 was the first year in the UK when all the major networks were providing 4G services, and it appears each has had its success in deploying services across the country,” said RootMetrics CEO and President Bill Moore. “We have seen some startlingly fast speeds in pockets of the UK and overall median speeds are substantially higher than 3G.

“What is even more encouraging is the reliability of services once customers are on 4G. The growing footprint of each network means as more customers are able to access 4G, they will be able to consistently access all the benefits 4G brings.”

Recent Ofcom research found that UK 4G services were “significantly better” than 3G. The regulator carried out 120,000 tests in Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Newcastle and Poole/Bournemouth late last year.

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