And 2018’s best UK mobile network is…

Cast your mind back to April 2017. Theresa May was prime minister sitting on a small, but workable majority and EE was the mobile network to beat, mopping up all of OpenSignal’s network provider awards.

And 2018’s best UK mobile network is…

Fast forward a year, and one of those things remains true. OpenSignal’s 2018 State of Mobile Networks report has been published, and once again EE is the top dog – albeit one that has to share a pair of its bones with two lesser canines.

From 890,213,316 data points from the OpenSignal app (that’s up 66.2% from last time), the verdict was pretty clear. EE had the fastest download speeds over 4G and 3G, as well as having the best UK coverage. In terms of 3G and 4G latency, it was joint best with Vodafone. O2 and Three were left empty-handed.opensignal_uk_4g_performance

There were regional differences, however. Although EE performed best around the country, Three made a strong 4G speed showing in the North East, Northern Ireland and Wales, while O2 challenged EE for availability in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, along with pockets of England. Curiously London recorded both the fastest and slowest 4G speeds, reaching 27.4Mbps on EE, but dropping as low as 8.9Mbps on O2. As someone who has just taken out an O2 contract and lives in London, this is not brilliant news.

Generally, however, all of the networks have taken steps forward in the last 12 months, particularly in availability, with two networks now having crossed the 80% mark. EE and O2 both rose 14% to reach 86.6% and 83.4% coverage respectively, while Vodafone was just a little behind on 79.5%. Three is some way adrift on 66.6%, but given the network was on just 49.86% a year ago, that still shows a marked improvement.

Worldwide, though, the UK’s mobile network performance still sits firmly in mid-table with an average speed of 23.1Mbps, putting Britain below the likes of Amenia and Mexico. Average availability of 77.3% puts us higher in that league table, but still falling well short of South Korea, Japan and the USA.

You can read the full report here.

In an entirely separate report, Which? asked 3,600 consumers about their opinions of their network operator and the majority did not fare well. 

The survey found that Vodafone is the worst mobile phone provider for the seventh year in a row. EE, O2 and Three also scored badly, with service judged “average” and “disappointing”.

In response, Vodafone said it was working hard to improve services for customers and address these concerns but added the findings “don’t match up with what our customers are telling us, with our own, independently verified customer satisfaction scores jumping 13 points from last year to their best ever level.”

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