mobile-networksRootMetrics, the mobile phone network tester revealed a report today detailing the performance of the four main mobile phone networks in the UK – EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three with surprising results.

The tests were conducted over a wide range of different criteria with a robust methodology which included testing over the counter mobile phones in randomly selected locations throughout countryside and metro areas in the UK, as well as indoors and outdoors performance and tests completed during different times of the day.

Detailed Methodology

The types of tests are broadly split into three major areas; call testing, texts testing and mobile data testing.

Call tests – This test is used to check the reliability of both connecting to another phone and also maintaining the call connection for the duration of the test. Failures which include dropped calls and blocked calls all contribute to a lesser score for that network operator.

Text tests – These tests detail how fast a text message is received and notes the number of failed sent messages. Tests are conducted with messages sent to mobile phones from the same network as well as phones on alternative networks.

Mobile data tests – Rootmetrics tests the speed a mobile network uploads and downloads data, mimics the opening of webpages by opening HTTP connections and measuring the connection speeds and also tests the speed and reliability of downloading email by connecting to an IMAP server and downloading 10 emails.

The Results

Perhaps given the focus on data speed and reliability it is no surprise that the network that received the highest scores overall was EE. The EE network currently has the largest and fasted 4G network in the UK and encompasses both the Orange and T-Mobile networks so speed and coverage are covered well.

What is more surprising is that overall Vodafone were listed as quite a distant last place in the network scores.

The full overall scores were –

  • 84.6 – EE
  • 73.5 – Three
  • 66.5 – O2
  • 52.4 – Vodafone

Interestingly in the three main network test areas, texts, calls and mobile data, the EE network was placed in first place in each of the three tests whilst Vodafone was last in each three tests. In fact the only test in which Vodafone did not finish in last place was the speed test in which they finished second from last.


These tests are very useful when it comes to the technical capabilities of the respective networks because the tests show no bias towards one network or the other so a representative data set should be received.

Clearly the big winner is EE which is demonstrated by their first place finishes in each of the performance tests.

O2 and Three were generally interchangeable between second and third place in the tests as can be proved by their close overall scores of 73.5 for Three and 66.5 for O2.

Vodafone were in a distance last place in all the performance tests. They will be hoping that their upcoming planned network overall will help them to better their performance in subsequent tests. We will let you know.

One thing to note, is that these tests were solely technical network performance tests. Almost as important is the support aspect when deailing with mobile phone networks which was not recorded in these tests.

We would be interested to hear your views on how good or bad these mobile networks’ support departments perform. Please note your opinions in the comments section.