Mobile Network Experience Report United Kingdom April 2019

United Kingdom

Mobile Network Experience Report
April 2019

Opensignal Active Userbase in United Kingdom
Total Devices
260,231
Total Measurements
1,403,138,272
Data Collection Period
Dec 01 Feb 28, 2019

Opensignal is the independent global standard for analyzing consumer mobile experience. Our industry reports are the definitive guide to understanding the true experience consumers receive on wireless networks.

Author
Peter Boyland Senior Analyst

Key findings

EE dominates Opensignal's awards

EE swept the board in our analysis, winning all five national award categories. The operator also dominated our regional analysis, coming top in two-thirds of our regional awards and scoring a draw in almost all the others.

A close-run race in Video Experience

EE scraped a win over Vodafone in our Video Experience category, with both operators scoring a Very Good rating with scores above 65. The two had almost identical scores in our 4G Video Experience measurements, while Vodafone was slightly ahead in 3G Video Experience. But EE's superior 4G Availability allowed it to grab our overall Video Experience award.

EE closing in on Download Speed and 4G Availability milestones

EE topped both our Download Speed Experience and 4G Availability categories. It fell just short of the 30 Mbps mark in the first category, and its 4G Availability score nearly reached 90%. In a quarter of the U.K.'s regions, EE has already passed each of these milestones, and we expect the operator to achieve them on a national level in our next report.

EE growing its lead in the speed metrics

EE's award-winning Download and Upload Speed Experience scores were over 20% faster than its closest rival's. And the operator is pulling ahead of the pack. It grew its Download Speed Experience score by over 3 Mbps, while its 4G Upload Speed grew by more than 10% — the greatest growth in these categories among the U.K.'s operators.

Introduction

In our latest look at the U.K. mobile market, it's getting pretty hard to see beyond the dominance of a single operator. EE has ruled the awards tables in our last few reports on the U.K. market, but this time the operator has scored a clean sweep. EE won all five of our national awards, while it scooped two-thirds of our regional medals and tied for the win in most of the others. And our measurements show the operator is pulling further ahead of the pack in several key areas, including Download Speed Experience and 4G Availability.

In this report, we've analyzed the mobile network experience of the four main operators in the U.K., 3, EE, O2, and Vodafone in the 90 days from December 1, 2018. We've looked at how the operators stack up both at the national level and across 12 regions including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. While EE dominated our awards, we've seen encouraging signs of improvement across the board from the other operators.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, United Kingdom
April 2019, United Kingdom Report
4G Availability
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
April 2019, United Kingdom
4G Availability
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Download Image

Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
4G Availability
% of time
O2
84.0
Vodafone
83.4
3
76.0
EE
89.0
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

National Analysis

4G Availability

EE has grown its lead in our 4G Availability metric, and the operator is now a clear 5 percentage points ahead of its rivals. EE's score is now approaching the 90% mark — indeed, the operator has passed this landmark in some of the U.K.'s regions (see Regional Analysis, below).

4G Availability
% of time
O2
84.0
Vodafone
83.4
3
76.0
EE
89.0
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

While EE's 4G Availability score showed the largest increase in our measurements, two of the U.K.'s other operators, 3 and Vodafone, have seen their scores rise by over 2 percentage points since our last report, while O2's score stayed virtually static.

Video Experience

EE won our Video Experience award by a nose, with a score of 68.5 (out-of-100) — narrowly beating Vodafone's 67.2. The other two operators, 3 and O2, were both within 5 points of Vodafone with Video Experience scores in the low 60s.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
O2
63.8
Vodafone
67.2
3
62.3
EE
68.5
Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Video Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Video Experience
67.2 (± 0.53) 71.0 (± 0.42) 66.8 (± 0.47) 71.3 (± 0.30)
3G Video Experience
45.8 (± 1.84) 48.7 (± 1.53) 49.9 (± 1.04) 45.3 (± 1.62)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
67 (± 0.53)
71 (± 0.42)
67 (± 0.47)
71 (± 0.30)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
46 (± 1.84)
49 (± 1.53)
50 (± 1.04)
45 (± 1.62)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Interestingly, EE and Vodafone had almost identical scores in our 4G Video Experience measurements, while Vodafone was slightly ahead in 3G Video Experience. But EE's superior 4G Availability meant more of our users on its network were able to watch video over 4G more of the time rather than on 3G, allowing the operator to grab our overall Video Experience award.

Our top two operators EE and Vodafone both scored in the Very Good category in our Video Experience rankings, which generally means that video streamed to mobile devices from the internet exhibits fast loading times and only occasional stalling. But 3 and O2's scores dropped the operators into our Good category, meaning that users are likely seeing longer load times before playback begins and more stalling, especially at higher resolutions.

Nonetheless, to have all four operators score over 60 in our Video Experience measurements — and two operators in the Very Good category — is no mean feat. It shows that our users on the U.K.'s mobile networks are enjoying a pretty decent mobile Video Experience.

Download Speed Experience

EE's Download Speed Experience award-winning score was nearly 41% faster than its closest rival. And the operator is pulling further ahead of its closest competitors, as its score grew by over 3 Mbps since our last report. Vodafone put in a sprint of just under 3 Mbps, but the gap between the runner-up and the leader has still widened. It was 3, though, who saw the greatest growth in Download Speed Experience, increasing its score by over 15% in the past six months.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
O2
14.1
Vodafone
21.0
3
18.0
EE
29.6
0 7.5 15 22.5 30
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
15.8 (± 0.23) 24.3 (± 0.35) 21.6 (± 0.25) 32.5 (± 0.32)
3G Download Speed
4.9 (± 0.17) 4.9 (± 0.13) 8.0 (± 0.14) 5.8 (± 0.17)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Download Speed in Mbps
16 (± 0.23)
24 (± 0.35)
22 (± 0.25)
33 (± 0.32)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
5 (± 0.17)
5 (± 0.13)
8 (± 0.14)
6 (± 0.17)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

EE's 4G Download Speed score was also over a third faster than its nearest rival, and also grew by more than 3 Mbps in the past six months. EE is now nearly 9 Mbps clear of its closest rival, having become the first U.K. operator to pass the 30 Mbps mark at a national level in our 4G Download Speed measurements.

Notably EE's 3G Download Speed has dropped significantly since our last report, while its rivals' scores have all stayed pretty much the same in our measurements. As EE approaches 90% 4G Availability, the operator may be reallocating 3G network resources to its LTE users.

Upload Speed Experience

EE was head and shoulders above the competition in Upload Speed Experience, winning our award with a score over 2 Mbps faster than any of its rivals. EE won with a score of 9.4 Mbps, beating Vodafone's 7.3 Mbps, while 3 and O2 brought up the rear with scores of 6.5 Mbps and 6.3 Mbps respectively.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
O2
6.3
Vodafone
7.3
3
6.5
EE
9.4
0 2.5 5 7.5 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
7.2 (± 0.11) 8.5 (± 0.12) 8.3 (± 0.11) 10.4 (± 0.13)
3G Upload Speed
1.4 (± 0.08) 1.3 (± 0.06) 1.6 (± 0.03) 1.5 (± 0.08)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
7 (± 0.11)
9 (± 0.12)
8 (± 0.11)
10 (± 0.13)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
1 (± 0.08)
1 (± 0.06)
2 (± 0.03)
1 (± 0.08)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

EE was also dominant in 4G Upload Speed, seeing the greatest growth among the U.K.'s operators. EE's score grew by over 1 Mbps to 10.4 Mbps, putting it nearly 2 Mbps clear of the pack — and making it the first U.K. operator to pass the 10 Mbps mark. All of the U.K.'s operators saw a little growth in our 4G Upload Speed measurements, but once again EE is pulling further ahead of the pack.

Looking at 3G Upload Speed scores, there wasn't much in it, with all four operators coming within 0.3 Mbps of each other, and all four scoring under 2 Mbps. Again this seems to suggest that they may be reallocating network resources to faster 4G networks as 3G becomes increasingly obsolete.

Latency Experience

EE won our Latency Experience award, but with a slightly less comfortable lead than in our speed metrics. Nevertheless, its winning score of 40.7 milliseconds was a clear 4ms better than its closest rival. O2 and Vodafone were neck-and-neck with scores close to 45ms, while 3 was some way behind with a latency score of 52.4 ms.

Latency Experience
in ms The lower the figure the better the latency
O2
45.6
Vodafone
44.9
3
52.4
EE
40.7
0 13.75 27.5 41.25 55
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Latency Experience
Supporting Metrics
in ms
4G Latency
39.2 (± 0.21) 41.2 (± 0.19) 48.7 (± 0.17) 37.9 (± 0.19)
3G Latency
79.8 (± 1.39) 62.9 (± 1.09) 62.5 (± 0.61) 63.1 (± 1.21)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Latency in ms
39 (± 0.21)
41 (± 0.19)
49 (± 0.17)
38 (± 0.19)
3G Latency in ms
80 (± 1.39)
63 (± 1.09)
63 (± 0.61)
63 (± 1.21)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

In 4G Latency, O2's score was much closer to EE's than in our overall Latency Experience measurements. But O2's 3G Latency score was way behind its rivals, and this combined with a weaker 4G Availability score meant EE was able to secure our overall Latency Experience crown.

Regional Analysis

EE's dominance of our awards continued in our analysis of the U.K.'s 12 regions. The operator won 40 out of our 60 regional awards outright, and tied in a further 17. EE scored a clean sweep of our awards in the Eastern, East Midlands and South East regions, and was only denied a clean sweep in London by a draw with Vodafone in Video Experience.

EE passed the 30 Mbps Download Speed Experience milestone in four regions including London, with a highly impressive score of 34.9 Mbps in the capital — the highest we have ever measured in the U.K. EE also broke the 90% 4G Availability milestone in London and three other regions.

Despite the high scores in London, there was little evidence of the so-called North/South divide in our mobile network measurements, with some of our top scores appearing in the North East, North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber regions. Indeed, our recent analysis of 4G speeds in the U.K.'s largest cities found Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham topped the table, with London distinctly mid-table.

Select any region below to display individual breakdown

East Midlands

4G Availability
in East Midlands
in %
O2
82.9
Vodafone
78.7
3
72.6
EE
89.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in East Midlands
in 0-100 points
O2
65.0
Vodafone
63.5
3
64.2
EE
68.5
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in East Midlands
in Mbps
O2
15.6
Vodafone
16.3
3
18.5
EE
28.2
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in East Midlands
in Mbps
O2
6.4
Vodafone
6.6
3
6.5
EE
9.1
Download Image
Latency Experience
in East Midlands
in ms
O2
47.3
Vodafone
47.8
3
51.1
EE
41.7
Download Image

Eastern

4G Availability
in Eastern
in %
O2
82.0
Vodafone
76.9
3
73.0
EE
89.2
Download Image
Video Experience
in Eastern
in 0-100 points
O2
61.2
Vodafone
61.2
3
62.9
EE
69.4
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Eastern
in Mbps
O2
15.7
Vodafone
12.9
3
19.2
EE
30.4
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Eastern
in Mbps
O2
5.6
Vodafone
5.9
3
6.8
EE
9.5
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Eastern
in ms
O2
48.4
Vodafone
52.6
3
51.7
EE
41.5
Download Image

London

4G Availability
in London
in %
O2
84.8
Vodafone
87.5
3
83.6
EE
91.0
Download Image
Video Experience
in London
in 0-100 points
O2
61.0
Vodafone
68.1
3
58.7
EE
68.3
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in London
in Mbps
O2
14.2
Vodafone
27.9
3
15.3
EE
34.9
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in London
in Mbps
O2
5.8
Vodafone
9.0
3
6.6
EE
11.4
Download Image
Latency Experience
in London
in ms
O2
43.1
Vodafone
38.2
3
51.2
EE
35.0
Download Image

North East

4G Availability
in North East
in %
O2
89.2
Vodafone
86.1
3
77.8
EE
91.9
Download Image
Video Experience
in North East
in 0-100 points
O2
68.5
Vodafone
71.9
3
65.6
EE
67.9
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in North East
in Mbps
O2
14.6
Vodafone
14.7
3
21.8
EE
29.0
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in North East
in Mbps
O2
7.0
Vodafone
7.6
3
7.2
EE
8.8
Download Image
Latency Experience
in North East
in ms
O2
39.1
Vodafone
46.3
3
52.1
EE
39.8
Download Image

North West

4G Availability
in North West
in %
O2
86.0
Vodafone
87.6
3
76.1
EE
89.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in North West
in 0-100 points
O2
64.6
Vodafone
72.2
3
62.2
EE
70.1
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in North West
in Mbps
O2
12.5
Vodafone
29.3
3
18.9
EE
30.1
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in North West
in Mbps
O2
6.3
Vodafone
8.8
3
7.0
EE
9.9
Download Image
Latency Experience
in North West
in ms
O2
44.1
Vodafone
41.9
3
50.4
EE
40.0
Download Image

Northern Ireland

4G Availability
in Northern Ireland
in %
O2
83.3
Vodafone
85.4
3
74.6
EE
86.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in Northern Ireland
in 0-100 points
O2
65.1
Vodafone
73.4
3
64.7
EE
71.0
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Northern Ireland
in Mbps
O2
13.6
Vodafone
17.9
3
20.6
EE
28.9
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Northern Ireland
in Mbps
O2
6.8
Vodafone
8.2
3
7.5
EE
8.4
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Northern Ireland
in ms
O2
51.6
Vodafone
51.0
3
57.2
EE
51.4
Download Image

Scotland

4G Availability
in Scotland
in %
O2
84.2
Vodafone
82.1
3
70.4
EE
88.4
Download Image
Video Experience
in Scotland
in 0-100 points
O2
66.7
Vodafone
69.5
3
63.9
EE
70.9
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Scotland
in Mbps
O2
14.9
Vodafone
21.1
3
18.4
EE
28.9
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Scotland
in Mbps
O2
7.3
Vodafone
7.6
3
6.5
EE
8.9
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Scotland
in ms
O2
47.1
Vodafone
50.5
3
57.2
EE
43.5
Download Image

South East

4G Availability
in South East
in %
O2
81.2
Vodafone
80.4
3
70.9
EE
89.4
Download Image
Video Experience
in South East
in 0-100 points
O2
62.8
Vodafone
64.3
3
62.6
EE
69.6
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in South East
in Mbps
O2
14.2
Vodafone
16.5
3
18.7
EE
30.0
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in South East
in Mbps
O2
6.3
Vodafone
6.1
3
6.4
EE
9.7
Download Image
Latency Experience
in South East
in ms
O2
46.1
Vodafone
44.4
3
53.3
EE
38.6
Download Image

South West

4G Availability
in South West
in %
O2
80.0
Vodafone
79.6
3
66.5
EE
85.7
Download Image
Video Experience
in South West
in 0-100 points
O2
63.6
Vodafone
66.7
3
62.4
EE
66.5
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in South West
in Mbps
O2
12.5
Vodafone
24.3
3
17.4
EE
26.0
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in South West
in Mbps
O2
6.1
Vodafone
6.9
3
5.4
EE
7.8
Download Image
Latency Experience
in South West
in ms
O2
44.9
Vodafone
44.8
3
56.1
EE
44.1
Download Image

Wales

4G Availability
in Wales
in %
O2
82.8
Vodafone
80.5
3
67.3
EE
86.1
Download Image
Video Experience
in Wales
in 0-100 points
O2
62.6
Vodafone
67.1
3
63.8
EE
67.1
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Wales
in Mbps
O2
13.7
Vodafone
24.0
3
17.4
EE
26.8
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Wales
in Mbps
O2
6.5
Vodafone
7.2
3
5.4
EE
8.0
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Wales
in ms
O2
44.2
Vodafone
42.7
3
53.2
EE
45.7
Download Image

West Midlands

4G Availability
in West Midlands
in %
O2
84.8
Vodafone
83.2
3
76.8
EE
90.0
Download Image
Video Experience
in West Midlands
in 0-100 points
O2
63.3
Vodafone
67.3
3
61.8
EE
67.1
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in West Midlands
in Mbps
O2
13.4
Vodafone
24.2
3
17.8
EE
28.5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in West Midlands
in Mbps
O2
6.3
Vodafone
7.4
3
6.7
EE
9.2
Download Image
Latency Experience
in West Midlands
in ms
O2
45.6
Vodafone
42.4
3
48.8
EE
38.8
Download Image

Yorkshire and Humber

4G Availability
in Yorkshire and Humber
in %
O2
88.7
Vodafone
86.4
3
77.0
EE
90.9
Download Image
Video Experience
in Yorkshire and Humber
in 0-100 points
O2
66.2
Vodafone
67.9
3
63.5
EE
69.1
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Yorkshire and Humber
in Mbps
O2
14.9
Vodafone
15.5
3
17.6
EE
29.0
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Yorkshire and Humber
in Mbps
O2
6.6
Vodafone
7.5
3
6.8
EE
9.7
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Yorkshire and Humber
in ms
O2
41.5
Vodafone
44.5
3
50.9
EE
39.9
Download Image
Learn more

Opensignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks in the places they live, work and travel.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the true experience of smartphone users. Therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only.

For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars. In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

More about Methodology

Subscribe to our newsletter and get our latest reports and analyses delivered right to your inbox every 2 weeks. We will not share your email address with third parties.

Journalists, please retain the Opensignal logo and copyright
(© Opensignal Limited) information when using this image.

This image may not be used for any commercial purpose, including use in advertisements or other promotional content, without prior written consent.

For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars.

In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

Why confidence intervals are vital in analyzing mobile network experience

Subscribe to our Newsletter

and receive Opensignal reports in your email

About our Newsletter