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EE still the best mobile network in London - but rivals are catching up

Thursday, May 25th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

EE still has the best-performing mobile network in London – but Vodafone and Three are catching up, according to a new report.

Analysis of the capital’s networks by mobile testing firm RootMetrics saw EE come out on top in three out of six categories.

The operator was ahead of its rivals in terms of overall performance, network speed and data performance.

It also tied with Three and Vodafone for the network reliability award, and with O2 for text performance.

Three and Vodafone tied in the call performance category.

EE has been the best-performing network in London by RootMetrics every six months since 2013.

The most recent round of network testing took place between 19 and 26 April 2017. Testers drove more than 2,000 miles around London and also carried out tests in 84 indoor locations.

Scott Stonham, general manager of Europe at RootMetrics: “The data from our most recent testing shows that a big focus for the major operators is the rollout of 4G across the country, as well as in London.

“In particular, we have seen an increase in London of advanced 4G technologies, such as carrier aggregation, which allows mobile operators to increase user data rates and overall capacity of their networks.

“4G itself is more inherently reliable than previous technologies such as 3G and so should provide a more consistent service for consumers.

'Close attention'

“Mobile performance in London is very important to operators, and we know that they pay close attention to any call failures they record. Many of them investigate each incident in order to identify any issues and ensure consumers receive the best service possible.”

A report by OpenSignal in October found that London has the UK’s best 4G coverage but also its slowest 4G speeds.

The State of Mobile Networks report suggested that high levels of congestion in the capital were responsible for dragging down its average speeds.

According to OpenSignal, which uses crowd-sourced data to measure the performance of mobile networks, its users could get a 4G signal 69.7% of the time in London.

This was compared to 60% in the north east and Yorkshire and the Humber and just 35% in Wales.

But the average speed experienced by OpenSignal app users in London was just 18.8Mbps, while users in Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and all other English regions all measured average speeds above 20Mbps.

O2 recently said it will invest £80m improving mobile coverage in London and will have installed 1,400 transmitters known as ‘small cells’ around the city by the end of the year.

Chief operating officer Derek McManus said customers’ need for mobile data is growing “at a rapid pace”.

“We understand the importance of digital connectivity in terms of driving the economy and ensuring that London can continue to compete on a global scale,” he said.

“This is why we’re investing in a range of innovative measures from small cells to macro masts in order to ensure we continue to give customers what they need; reliability and coverage wherever they go.”

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