OpenSignal survey reveals EE remains top, but the others are catching up

EE is still riding high in the coverage and performance stakes, as revealed in the latest Open Signal State of Mobile Networks report released today.

However, it’s not all plain sailing for the network as Vodafone and Three continue to bite at its heels, with a few joint firsts once you break things down into categories (e.g. 4G speed, latency and availability) and area.

For example, when it came to latency, Vodafone and EE tied in London, and won entirely in the North West, South West and Wales. Meanwhile in the North East, Three and EE tied when it came to 4G download speeds.

For phone owners in Wales, fast 4G speeds were available from Vodafone, Three and EE. However, for overall 4G availability it was a joint-first from O2 and EE, meaning EE would be the best choice for the best combination of speed and coverage.

4G availability has now topped 80% on two networks, EE and O2, with Vodafone very nearly there with 79.5%. Three still has a way to go, however, with just over 66%.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 09.11.06

The survey doesn’t initially make for good reading for O2 users, with O2 failing to win an award anywhere in the country for 3G or 4G speed (coming last everywhere, with London being particularly bad).

This is perhaps to be expected given the limited spectrum, although Three’s lack of spectrum didn’t stop it performing well when it came to speed in many areas.

Yet when it came to 4G availability (even with a lower speed than a rival network), O2 did manage a number of ties around the UK with EE, including the North East, North West, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Yorkshire and Humber. Neither Vodafone or Three did well here.

It was also noted by looking at the trends from previous surveys, that O2 is challenging the others. Its ability to offer good 4G availability in many parts of the UK shows promise.

With further network upgrades, including refarming 3G spectrum to 4G, O2 could provide the necessary uplift in speed that could propel the network up the table in future tests and see it win some awards of its own.

Key Figures

Average Data Speeds (4G)

  • EE: 29Mbps
  • Three: 22.6Mbps
  • Vodafone: 20.1Mbps
  • O2: 15.2Mbps

Average Data Speeds (3G)

  • EE: 7.8Mbps
  • Three: 7Mbps
  • Vodafone: 5.2Mbps
  • O2: 4.8Mbps

Average Data Speeds (4G and 3G combined)

  • EE: 25.6Mbps
  • Three & Vodafone: 16.7Mbps
  • O2: 13.2Mbps

4G Latency

  • EE & Vodafone (Draw): 40.3ms & 40.6ms
  • O2: 42.8ms
  • Three: 47.2ms

3G Latency

  • EE & Vodafone (Draw): 65.8ms & 66.8ms
  • Three: 71.9ms
  • O2: 80.6ms

4G Availability

  • EE: 86.6%
  • O2: 83.7%
  • Vodafone: 79.5%
  • Three: 66.6%

Regional Performance


Regional Performance Metrics Open Signal

Play a part in the next survey

All of the results are based on data collected by Open Signal’s own app, which is free to download on Android and iOS. It will then take real measurements that are fed back anonymously to contribute to future reports.

Using the app means any area can be tested, rather than merely conducting tests on a defined route.

Of course, there are pros and cons for either method of testing, but this survey is purposely designed to give a real-world representation of network performance, precisely because the locations are far more varied.

For this survey, 61,121 users contributed to this survey result with 890,213,316 data points collected. Test results were from December 1st 2017 to February 28th 2018.

More information, including trends discovered over multiple surveys can be downloaded from the OpenSignal site.


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