Mobile Networks Update: UK (September 2017)

When we last reported on the U.K. six months ago, we documented a mobile industry making big strides in LTE reach, and we're pleased to report that trend continues. In our Mobile Network Update: U.K., we tracked the changes we've seen over the last six months in our 3G and 4G tests results for the four nationwide operators in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • In our last report, only one mobile operator, EE, had crossed the 70% availability threshold for LTE. Now three of the big 4 UK operators were able to deliver an LTE connection to consumers in more than 7 out of every 10 tests. EE is still the leader in our 4G availability category, but O2 and Vodafone are really closing the gap. In a larger context, the U.K. still doesn't have the 4G ubiquity of a South Korea or a Netherlands, but it's certainly far easier to find an LTE signal in the U.K. today than it was a year ago.
  • OpenSignal's results show EE still reigns supreme in LTE speed. We measured average 4G download speed on EE at 29 Mbps, more than 6 Mbps faster than its nearest rival 3. But EE's test speeds have slowed slightly since our last report, falling from 31.8 Mbps.
  • 3 has long lived up to its name, providing the fastest 3G download speeds in our tests, but in the summer test period, it lost sole claim to that title. EE and 3 were statistically tied in 3G speed, each averaging downloads just over 6 Mbps. EE is becoming less reliant on 3G as its 4G availability continues to grow, but, as we found only 57% of 3's mobile data connections were on an LTE network, 3G remains a significant part of 3's service.

Report Facts

829,136,423
Measurements
51,944
Test Devices
2017-06-01 - 2017-08-31
Sample Period
United Kingdom
Report Location

Awards Table

Download Speed: 4G Download Speed: 3G Download Speed: Overall Latency: 4G Latency: 3G Availability: 4G

3

medal

EE

medal medal medal medal medal medal

O2

Vodafone

medal medal

Test your network and contribute to our reports

Enjoyed our report? All our analysis is based on real measurements collected by millions of mobile network users. No simulations, no approximations: just real-world experience.

Performance by Metric

Download Speed: 4G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users.

Download Speed: 3G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users.

Download Speed: Overall

This metric shows the average download speed experienced by OpenSignal users across all of an operator's 3G and 4G networks. Overall speed doesn't just factor in 3G and LTE speeds, but also the availability of each network technology. Operators with lower LTE availability tend to have lower overall speeds because their customers spend more time connected to slower 3G networks.

Latency: 4G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Latency: 3G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Availability: 4G

This metric shows the proportion of time OpenSignal users have an LTE connection available to them on each operator’s network. It's a measure of how often users can access a 4G network rather than a measure of geographic or population coverage.

Our Methodology

OpenSignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks as they go about their daily lives. We collect 3 billion individual measurements every day from tens of millions of smartphones worldwide.

Our measurements are collected at all hours of the day, every day of the year, under conditions of normal usage, including inside buildings and outdoors, in cities and the countryside, and everywhere in between. By analyzing on-device measurements recorded in the places where subscribers actually live, work and travel, we report on mobile network service the way users truly experience it.

For this particular report, 829,136,423 datapoints were collected from 51,944 users during the period: 2017-06-01 - 2017-08-31.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the changing experience of consumers on mobile networks and, therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only. For more information on how we collect and analyze our data, see our methodology page.

For every metric we've calculated statistical confidence intervals and plotted them on all of the graphs. When confidence intervals overlap for a certain metric, our measured results are too close to declare a winner in a particular category. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

©2017 OpenSignal, Inc. All rights reserved.

OpenSignal, Inc retains ownership of this report including all intellectual property rights, data, content, graphs & analysis. Reports produced by OpenSignal, Inc may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, published for any commercial purpose (including use in advertisements or other promotional content) without prior written consent.

Recent United Kingdom Reports

The trusted global standard for mobile experience.

Providing real-world, competitive insights from over 20 million users of the OpenSignal app.

Contact Sales

Are you having trouble with the OpenSignal Apps and need some help?

Are you a mobile operator, regulator, or analyst and want to contact a sales expert?

Share Graph