EE v Vodafone v Three v O2: Greatest and worst networks revealed – will you win or lose?

The results are in and there is a clear winner when it comes to using your smartphone. All of the big four networks including EE, Vodafone, Virgin Media O2 and Three have been put through their paces in the latest tests by the RootMetrics team, and if you want the fastest downloads, EE has the edge.

The network achieved an average UK speed of 58.8 Mbps, which is more than twice as fast as all of its competitors. Vodafone took second place in the speed league with average downloads of 25.2 Mbit / s, followed by Three (19.1 Mbit / s) and the newly founded Virgin Media O2 (15.6 Mbit / s).

And it’s not just speed that EE does well at. The operator also won in terms of reliability, data, calls and texts. “EE remained the operator to beat in our UK tests, winning or sharing six out of seven UK RootScore Awards,” RootMetrics confirmed in its report.

Before you get too disappointed if you’re not using EE, there was some good news for the other UK providers as well. Vodafone has had another excellent year, with the company taking second place in key areas such as reliability, calls and SMS.

In fact, Vodafone showed a remarkable improvement in the first half of 2021, winning three UK RootScore Awards, a significant increase over the previous year.

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There was also good news for Virgin Media O2 as the company received its very first RootScore Award with huge improvements in accessibility.

The operator also improved its ranking from fourth in 2020 to third in 2021 for overall performance, network reliability and call performance.

Unfortunately for Three users the news is not that good as the company is not improving from last year. RootMetrics says Three’s rankings will remain nearly the same as 2020, with text performance actually declining since last year.

Here are the overall performance ratings from RootMetrics.

EE • 95.2



THREE • 87.5

Good news for all consumers is that the UK’s 5G upgrade is improving and all networks are helping to make this happen. RootMetrics says speed and availability have improved across the UK, with all of the big four showing impressive growth.

5G is able to offer much faster downloads and allow more people to connect at the same time, which makes it much more reliable.

Commenting on the results, Patrick Linder, Chief Marketing Officer at RootMetrics by IHS Markit, said, “End users will be delighted that all four major operators are improving their performance, especially when it comes to 5G availability and speed. With the availability of 5G continuing to grow and all four major operators offering users in almost every city we tested average 5G download speeds of over 100 Mbit / s in everyday life, the providers are clearly making good progress in providing the key combination Area-wide availability and fast speeds.

“While EE was clearly outstanding in the first half of the year, the improvements we’ve seen from the other operators shouldn’t be overlooked. As the competitive landscape becomes more intense and more even over time, end users should continue to benefit from better cellular performance. “

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