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Study: Virgin Media O2 provides best connectivity

June 8, 2023

Mobile network benchmarking specialist GWS has revealed that Virgin Media O2 has the UK’S Best Combined Connectivity Experience, in a performance measure combining results from across both mobile operator and ISP partners in one score.

The result follows six months of extensive data collection from GWS, where the company analysed over 143,000 speed and reliability tests from across the UK’s major mobile operators and their associated ISP partners with bundled partnerships in place. The tests, which were run at random times, seven days a week, measured reliability and performance across uploads, downloads, and video streaming on both the mobile network and WiFi. The tests were conducted on the devices of real-life users from GWS’ proprietary opt-in consumer panel of 5,200 participants (18+). In addition to network performance data, GWS also collected insights into app usage and other mobile trends.

UK’s Best Combined Connectivity Experience

Dr Paul Carter, CEO, GWS, commented: “In today’s world, we want a reliable and fast mobile internet connection at all times. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, you just need your data connection to work. Consumers want the full package – more people are taking out bundled services for mobile and broadband, and data usage is up. But despite big market consolidation, it’s hard to know which is the best overall provider if you’re using both ISP and mobile operator services. That’s why we decided to shed the light on real-life performance of mobile and WiFi bundle offerings, giving the most informed view of the connectivity experience people are getting on their phones, wherever they are.”

Network Performance Results

UK’s Best Combined Connectivity Experience – Test Score Breakdown

Over the six months tested, the fastest download speeds by a combined provider were seen by Virgin Media O2 at a 138Mbps average, followed by BT/EE at 64Mbps. With average download speeds across all major combined providers currently sitting at 82Mbps, Virgin Media O2 was the only provider to offer above average speeds.

When looking at uploads, Virgin Media O2 offered impressive performance again, leading the way at 26 Mbps. BT/EE was just behind at 21Mbps, with Sky/Sky Mobile (17Mbps), Vodafone (16Mbps), and Three (15 Mbps) trailing much further behind.

GWS’ testing also looked into the consumer impact of these results, testing one of the most internet reliant consumer activities – video. Virgin Media O2 not only had the fastest download speeds, but when watching videos the provider also tied with Sky/Sky Mobile for the highest combined resolution and lowest buffering times.

When looking at reliability, GWS measured whether or not simulated tasks were completed or not, and found over 96 per cent success rate across all providers (operator and ISP) tested.

Connectivity is Key

As mobile services continue to grow in popularity, GWS found that the average consumer now spends over a quarter (27 per cent) of their waking day on their phones, with productivity and social media apps leading the way. UK consumer use of video-led apps, such as Netflix, YouTube, and TikTok, was also consistent at all times of the day, regardless of whether a person was connected to WiFi or using mobile data.

Carter concluded: “Consumers are facing a cost-of-living crisis, but mobile usage is thriving. Even in a post covid world, we’re seeing record breaking stats on mobile as people spend more time working, socialising, and managing their lives from their devices. When we poll mobile users through our panel, we see clear trends around how stressed they get when they don’t have a reliable internet connection. Having a good connectivity experience is so important in today’s world where we just need our phones to work well, whether we’re on 4G, 5G, or WiFi. In a society that is increasingly wireless, mobile operators and ISPs need to make sure they are providing the best networks for their customers, and brands need to understand how people are using their phones – or risk getting left behind.”

Categories: Articles, Broadband, ISP, MNO, Mobile, Research

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