RootMetrics: Three overtakes EE for best UK 5G network 

RootMetrics: Three overtakes EE for best UK 5G network  Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)


RootMetrics has unveiled its latest UK mobile report based on over 600,000 tests conducted in the second half of 2023.

The results cover the entire spectrum of user experiences, spanning the UK, individual nations, and 16 prominent metropolitan markets. Here’s a breakdown of how the key players—EE, Three, Virgin Media O2, and Vodafone—performed during this extensive testing period.

EE maintains overall dominance

For the 21st consecutive time, EE clinched the prestigious UK Overall RootScore Award, securing its position as the best network for over a decade.

EE won every major award in the nationwide and England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales region categories. The operator achieved median download speeds nearly twice as fast as competitors. EE also ranked highest for reliability.

EE also boasted impressive 5G availability and performance, firmly establishing itself as the leader in the UK’s mobile landscape.

Three overtakes EE in 5G

Three showcased significant improvement in its performance, securing the second most Metro Area RootScore Awards. The operator’s prowess in 5G was particularly noteworthy as it edged past EE to win the Best 5G honours in the second half of 2023.

With enhanced 5G availability and top-notch speeds, Three continues to solidify its position as a key player.

Virgin Media O2 shows progress

Virgin Media O2 demonstrated notable advancements in major cities, with faster median download speeds and expanded 5G availability.

The operator’s text performance remained excellent by winning or sharing text awards in 12 out of 16 tested cities. The operator also showcased improvements in 5G metrics—promising a positive trajectory as its network matures further.

Vodafone’s strong performance

Vodafone registered another strong performance, exhibiting improved 5G results and faster speeds. Notably, Vodafone emerged as the only operator to achieve 5G median download speeds above 100 Mbps in all 16 cities tested.

The report positions Vodafone as a robust contender, securing awards and delivering enhanced 5G experiences.

UK-wide performance highlights

The UK-wide testing underscored EE’s unchallenged dominance, securing all seven UK RootScore categories for the fifth consecutive test period. However, 5G availability continues to grow for all operators.

During nationwide tests, EE achieved 52.3 percent 5G availability followed closely by Virgin Media O2 (54.5%) and Three (57.6%). Vodafone trailed rivals with 41.9 percent availability.

EE clocked the fastest median 5G downloads at 174.1Mbps. Three followed at 165.7Mbps, while Vodafone achieved 158.3Mbps. Virgin Media O2 trailed rivals with a 68.7Mbps median speed.

All operators are committed to improving 5G availability nationwide and debuting new mid-band spectrum purchased last year. As a result, RootMetrics anticipates users will see an increasingly consistent and fast experience in more areas.

(Photo by Nicolas Peyrol on Unsplash)

See also: CMA launches Vodafone-Three merger investigation

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