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.