EE claims network experience leadership among UK mobile operators

The competitive health of the UK’s 5G mobile telecommunications sector has been shown clearly in the latest report from mobile network analyst Opensignal, which shows not one operator was named the “best” overall, even though EE continued to win the largest share of awards.

In terms of methodology used in the Mobile network experience report, Opensignal collected billions of individual measurements daily from over 100 million devices globally, independently analysing mobile user experience on every major network operator.

For the latest survey, Opensignal employed new live video experience metrics use tests that specifically measured the aspects of mobile network performance that it regarded as critical to real-time video, such as live playback offset, picture quality, video loading time and stall rate. It noted that live events are significantly more challenging for streaming companies than on-demand video because of the need for the considerable back-end infrastructure that ensures reliable and high-quality distribution in real-time.

Overall, EE reaped the largest number of awards from the survey winning seven awards outright and three jointly – slightly down from the last report when it won eight outright but shared first place across five categories.

EE users experienced the fastest average overall speeds and the best experience when playing multiplayer mobile games, both overall and on 5G. The BT-owned operator was also the first UK operator to win the live video experience award and claims the consistent quality award, which replaced the previous excellent consistent quality and core consistent quality awards.

EE was the first UK operator to win the new live video experience award, doing so with a score of 58.9 points on a 100-point scale, while Vodafone followed in second place with 57.7 points. Opensignal noted that the live video experience category quantified the quality of real-time video streamed to mobile devices by measuring video streams over an operator’s network.

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Three UK scooped the next largest number of awards with wins concentrated in 5G experience categories. It won three awards outright: both 5G speed awards (5G download speed and 5G upload speed) and availability, and is a joint winner for 5G video experience, 5G live video experience and 5G availability.

For its users, Three UK recorded 5G download speeds of 205.5Mbps – making it the only UK operator to exceed 200Mbps – representing a lead of 91.1Mbps over second-placed Vodafone. In addition, Three UK was also the new outright winner of the 5G upload speed award, winning with a score of 17.5Mbps, giving it a lead of 1.6Mbps over former joint winner EE.

Both Three UK’s and EE’s scores were down from the last report, with Opernsignal users observing declines of 32.2Mbps (13.6%) and 22.8Mbps (18.7%), respectively. By contrast, Vodafone’s and O2’s 5G download speed scores rose by 13.8Mbps (13.7%) and 1.9Mbps (2.6%).

Vodafone was sole winner of the voice app experience award and collected joint wins across four categories, including sharing both video experience awards. O2 gained just one shared victory as part of a four-way tie for 5G availability.

The live video experience category quantified the quality of real-time video streamed to mobile devices by measuring video streams over an operator’s network, in contrast to video experience which focused on on-demand video streaming. Vodafone and EE share the video experience award with statistically tied scores of 62.8-63.5 points, a change from the last report when EE won the award outright.

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