Mobile Network Experience Report United Kingdom September 2021

United Kingdom

Mobile Network Experience Report
September 2021

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
Sam Fenwick Senior Analyst

Key findings

EE draws level with Vodafone for Voice App Experience

Our users observed the best experience when using mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger on Vodafone and EE’s networks. This was the first time that Vodafone has not won the Voice App Experience award outright since we added this award to our U.K. mobile network experience reports in October 2019. However, when it comes to the overall experience observed by our 5G users across all generations of mobile technology (Voice App Experience – 5G Users), our O2 and Vodafone 5G users reported the best experience, due to statistically tied scores.

EE users saw the fastest speeds

EE continues to be far ahead of its rivals when it comes to the average download and upload speeds observed by our users. EE clocked up a score of 44 Mbps for Download Speed Experience — 18.8 Mbps (74.5%) faster than second-placed 3’s score of 25.2 Mbps. Similarly, the operator impressed with a score of 9.7 Mbps for Upload Speed Experience, giving it a lead of 2.3 Mbps (31.3%) over second-placed Vodafone. In addition our 5G users saw their fastest overall speeds on EE, with scores of 109.5 Mbps for Download Speed Experience – 5G Users and 12.5 Mbps for Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users.

EE and Vodafone continue to come top for Games Experience

The statistical tie between EE and Vodafone for the Games Experience Award has carried over from our last report. This means that our EE and Vodafone users observed the best overall experience when playing multiplayer mobile games over cellular connections. The last time the Games Experience award was won outright by a U.K. operator was in our October 2020 report, when EE was the victor and Vodafone was in second place.

EE continues to dominate the UK mobile experience

EE has once again scooped the lion’s share of our awards — successfully defending its five outright wins from our previous report — Video Experience, Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience, 4G Availability and 4G Coverage Experience — along with its joint win with Vodafone for Games Experience. In addition, this time around EE statistically ties with the previous sole winner Vodafone on Voice App Experience and so the two operators are joint winners for this award. Vodafone is the only other operator not to come home empty-handed, with two joint wins.

Introduction

In this report we examine the mobile network experience of the four main mobile network operators in the U.K.: 3, EE, O2 and Vodafone, over a period of 90 days starting June 1, 2021 and ending August 29, 2021, to see how they fared. We have used 5G measurements in addition to those from previous generations of mobile network technology when determining the overall scores for each award. Also, we have published a companion report — United Kingdom 5G Experience Report — which analyzes the experience of our 5G users when connected to 5G.

While our awards table is relatively unchanged from our last report, much has happened since then in the U.K. mobile market. Vodafone announced in early September that it has refarmed 10 MHz of its 900 MHz spectrum from 3G to 4G and has deployed this contiguous block across multiple sites in London, with more to follow. Meanwhile, BT, the owner of EE, announced in July that it will phase its customers off 3G by 2023, with 3G use representing less than 2% of the data traffic over EE’s network. In the same year, BT is seeking to launch a new 5G core network control system.

Finally, in early June the merger between between O2 and Virgin Media closed, creating a company that has a substantial presence in both the fixed line and mobile markets. While Virgin Media is an MVNO — in addition to its broadband offering — it currently uses Vodafone’s mobile network and ​​has a deal with the mobile operator until 2026. The combined new company is seeking to compete more strongly with BT/EE, which similarly combined a fixed and mobile offering back in January 2016.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, United Kingdom
September 2021, United Kingdom Report
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
September 2021, United Kingdom
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
September 2021, United Kingdom
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Image

Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
3
66.1
EE
72.0
O2
66.6
Vodafone
66.2
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

National Analysis

Video Experience

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
3
66.1
EE
72.0
O2
66.6
Vodafone
66.2
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Video Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Video Experience – 5G Users
72.8 (± 0.60) 75.6 (± 0.43) 74.5 (± 0.67) 71.2 (± 0.57)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Video Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
73 (± 0.60)
76 (± 0.43)
74 (± 0.67)
71 (± 0.57)
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Games Experience

Games Experience
in 0-100 points
3
55.5
EE
65.7
O2
61.1
Vodafone
64.9
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Games Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Games Experience – 5G Users
65.5 (± 0.93) 68.7 (± 0.83) 70.9 (± 1.04) 72.3 (± 0.85)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Games Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
66 (± 0.93)
69 (± 0.83)
71 (± 1.04)
72 (± 0.85)
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Voice App Experience

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
3
76.7
EE
78.2
O2
77.7
Vodafone
78.4
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Voice App Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Voice App Experience – 5G Users
78.7 (± 0.34) 79.2 (± 0.31) 79.8 (± 0.38) 80.1 (± 0.32)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Voice App Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
79 (± 0.34)
79 (± 0.31)
80 (± 0.38)
80 (± 0.32)
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Download Speed Experience

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
3
25.2
EE
44.0
O2
17.1
Vodafone
21.6
0 11.25 22.5 33.75 45
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Additional Metrics
in Mbps
Download Speed Experience – 5G Users
80.2 (± 1.55) 109.5 (± 1.71) 91.2 (± 2.27) 59.1 (± 1.59)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Download Speed Experience – 5G Users in Mbps
80 (± 1.55)
110 (± 1.71)
91 (± 2.27)
59 (± 1.59)
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Upload Speed Experience

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
3
6.3
EE
9.7
O2
5.4
Vodafone
7.4
0 2.5 5 7.5 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Additional Metrics
in Mbps
Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users
9.8 (± 0.24) 12.5 (± 0.27) 8.4 (± 0.27) 10.8 (± 0.30)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users in Mbps
10 (± 0.24)
12 (± 0.27)
8 (± 0.27)
11 (± 0.30)
Mobile Network Experience Report | September 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

4G Availability

4G Availability
% of time
3
81.2
EE
93.6
O2
83.6
Vodafone
86.4
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

4G Coverage Experience

4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
3
9.1
EE
9.8
O2
9.7
Vodafone
9.4
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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