Consultancy company umlaut (formerly P3) and connect, the international telecommunication test magazine for consumers, have named EE as the ‘Best In Test’ operator in the UK. EE is the overall winner in the umlaut connect Mobile Benchmark in the UK for 2019. Vodafone ranks second with the most improved score since the 2018 benchmark, O2 takes third place from Three this year. The benchmark includes additional analysis for nine large cities across the United Kingdom and London.
EE performed best overall taking the lead in all three categories, an overall grade of very good and a score of 876 out of 1,000 points. Vodafone remains second ranked with an overall grade of good and a score of 839 points. In comparison to last year’s results, Vodafone manages to improve considerably in all categories. The second largest operator, O2, ranks third with an overall grade of satisfactory and a score of 697. O2 ranks third in the data and voice categories and second in the crowd category. The fourth place is held by Three, who achieves a score of 621 and an overall grade of sufficient.
“Congratulations to EE for being the winner of this year’s benchmark,” remarked Hakan Ekmen, CEO of umlaut Telecommunication. “Vodafone follows with the most improved score, while O2 also deserves acknowledgment for a clear score improvement, compared to our previous benchmark, and advancing to third place. Finally, Three provides good voice services, particularly in towns and on roads. With all UK operators starting to deploy 5G, we are looking forward to evaluating their 5G performance next year.”
Greater London is by far the most densely populated area in the UK and a vibrant capital. This also makes the nation’s capital an especially demanding terrain for deploying and maintaining a mobile network. For this reason, Umlaut’s benchmark takes a closer look to see how the capital’s performance compares to the rest of the United Kingdom. The results show that EE leads in London and Vodafone ranks second and performs slightly better in the capital compared to nationwide. O2 comes in third place and achieves the same performance in the capital as they did nationwide. Three is in fourth position in London.
For residents of large cities in the UK, it is interesting to see operator performance in their areas. Therefore, the benchmark includes additional analysis for nine large cities across the United Kingdom: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. The overall nationwide winner EE, achieves first place in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Sheffield. Vodafone achieves first place in Bristol, Liverpool and Manchester and is on par with EE in Birmingham.
For the second time in the UK, the benchmark evaluated network performance on UK’s railways. The quality of voice calls on trains showed slight improvements from the previous year but voice performance is still below that seen across the UK. Additionally, the performance level and reliability of data connections on UK railways requires improvement.
The 2019 umlaut connect Mobile Benchmark in the UK consists of drive tests and walk tests conducted in November 2019. Four drive test vehicles covered a total of 10,700 kilometres, visiting 21 cities and 29 towns. Additionally, two walk test teams visited ten cities and travelled on trains between them. The test area accounts for 17 million people or approximately 27 per cent of the total population of the UK. In addition, the results of extensive analysis of umlaut’s crowdsourced data collected over 24 weeks from early June to mid-November 2019 are included in the score. The methodology was carefully designed to evaluate and objectively compare the performance and service quality of mobile networks from the users’ perspective.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, said: “Keeping our customers connected to the things that matter most is our top priority. Nationwide, independent and scientific network testing shows our continued investment in delivering the best and most reliable mobile experience. Our engineers are continuing to build and upgrade new sites every day as part of our journey to roll out 4G to even more places, and bring 5G to the busiest places in the UK.”