Three 5G network test on launch day: How does it compare with EE?

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So today is when Three finally switched on its 5G network for handset users.

Three’s 5G coverage is still very sparse, but that will obviously improve over time.

What I wanted to do was see how fast the service is, given Three’s entire marketing campaign is based around superfast data speeds and ‘Real 5G’, a reference to having 100+ MHz of spectrum (it has 140MHz in fact) compared to its rivals with well under half of that spectrum on 5G, but a lot more for 4G.

Armed with a OnePlus 7 Pro 5G and a Xiaomi Mi MIX 5G, plus my Huawei P30 Pro (to do the filming), I jumped in the car to the nearest 5G site – a site near Brookmans Park railway station, which at 2pm was totally empty.

Well, okay, one person alighted a train during the time I was there, but suffice to say, just about everyone living there was probably at work or school.

All of the speed tests and results can be seen in the video below. For the first test, I also did a test with my P30 Pro to see how 4G competed with 5G.

If you can’t be bothered to watch it (please do, and maybe subscribe while you’re at it as I hope to have more network testing videos in the near future) then you can see the results at the bottom of this page.


Video


Results

Brookmans Park Railway Car Park

EE 5GThree 5GEE 4G
TestDownloadUploadPing (ms)DownloadUploadPing (ms)DownloadUploadPing (ms)
1495.9536.4528148.1631.5825138.8943.4419
2396.4341.8829150.6827.0924133.2946.2720

Brookmans Park Railway Bridge

EE 5GThree 5G
TestDownloadUploadPing (ms)DownloadUploadPing (ms)
1307.8239.2227136.6925.2630
2375.7746.1328121.1427.4736

Hatfield (4G only test)

EE 4GThree 4G
TestDownloadUploadPing (ms)DownloadUploadPing (ms)
1199.8536.822938.917.2432
2225.7346.062739.5526.0442

As you can see, Three didn’t exactly set the world on fire. For such a quiet, rural location I was rather surprised to get speeds that were little better than 4G, and later on I decided to do a quick test near home – where EE’s 4G service outperformed what I’d just seen on Three’s 5G site!

Of course, all the speeds are still very good. Even 40Mbps speeds on 4G in Hatfield is perfectly adequate for almost every conceivable need.

But I really did expect some huge numbers, which simply didn’t happen.


Your experiences?

Have you tried out Three’s 5G service yet? What results have you been getting?

Please post your experiences below and over time I will be doing further tests (and of course in more than one location!) so we can see if and when Three lives up to its promises.

  • The network testing was conducted using NPerf.

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