OpenSignal and UK consumer group Which? revealed that EE established a clear lead over its UK rivals in terms of the data rates offered by its LTE network.
In the latest in a series of regular reports on UK mobile coverage and network performance, OpenSignal said that EE achieved average 4G download speeds of 27.98 Mbps compared to the 24.46 Mbps achieved by second-placed Three UK. Vodafone UK ranked in third place with an average speed of 17.97 Mbps, and O2 UK placed fourth on 16.19 Mbps.
OpenSignal and Which? explained that in their previous review of network performance, which was published in April, EE and Three UK were tied in terms of average LTE data rates.
While EE won the LTE data rate bragging rights, Three UK came top when measuring LTE network latency with a rate of 48.32 milliseconds (ms). O2 took second place on 45.76 ms, with Vodafone third (43.48 ms) and EE fourth (41.09 ms).
Three UK also led the pack in terms of average 3G download speeds with 6.1 Mbps, ahead of EE with 5.5 Mbps, Vodafone (4.81 Mbps), and O2 (4.11 Mbps). In terms of 3G latency, O2 ranked first with a rate of 91.08 ms, followed by Three UK (85.71 ms), EE (85.03 ms), and Vodafone (82.55 ms).
The report draws on data gathered from 500 million tests of the performance of 3G and 4G conducted by 28,000 UK mobile users via an OpenSignal smartphone app.
EE again headed the list in terms of combined average data rates for both technologies with typical rates of 18.63 Mbps. Three UK followed on 12.86 Mbps, with Vodafone third (12.31 Mbps), and O2 fourth (11.05 Mbps).
OpenSignal noted in its report that the combined data figures are representative of the overall coverage offered by each company. “Operators with lower LTE coverage tend to have lower overall speeds because their customers spend much more time connected to slower 3G networks.”
The study also revealed that operators’ heavy investment in LTE networks in London is not paying off in terms of the data rates experienced by consumers in the capital. While OpenSignal said London enjoys the best coverage of any part of the UK, typical data rates of 18.8 Mbps were lower than the rest of the UK, where rates were at least 20 Mbps. Northern Ireland registered the highest average 4G data rates of 23.3 Mbps.
OpenSignal explained in a blog that London’s networks are a victim of the large number of mobile users in the city. “What we’re most likely seeing in London are networks experiencing higher levels of congestion, which in turn drags down average speeds,” the company stated.
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