back to article Scre-EE-m if you wanna go faster: BT's mobile network reigns supreme in UK-wide speed and latency tests

EE is the UK's fastest mobile network, according to a new report [PDF] from Tutela Technologies which examines more than 180 million speed and latency tests performed between 1 March and 31 August. Overall, the BT-owned network ranked top in a bevy of categories, including median download speed, upload speed, and overall …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very skewed results

    Whilst you can prove anything with statistics, the metrics employed are not consistent. eg. If they included 5G in the analysis and added to the average, EE wins hands down. But then, how many of the test subjects were using 5G for this? Versus how many of them were using 4G or 3G ? WHat statistics were included for the other operators? Questions, infinitum.

    Whilst I agree EE has the better coverage, it is not a reflections of the very poor UK wide pathetic state of mobile data speeds, overall.

    1. macjules

      Re: Very skewed results

      I was always told that statistics are like watching a beautiful woman on a beach in a swimsuit: while there is plenty on show the bits that you really want to see are still hidden from you.

      1. Snowy Silver badge

        Re: Very skewed results

        It depends on which beach you got to :o

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Very skewed results

      Reminiscent of the bloke in the EE shop recently trying to convert me to their network. He was going on about their great speed, 5G, new handsets, Hollywod actor Kevin Bacon in their adverts etc. He was a bit put out when I asked what I needed this speed for. He said I could stream videos, music, play games with other people all on my commute, lunch break etc. I said that's brilliant does it work on the London Underground whilst underground?

      Er no. So we then moved on to lunchtimes where I explained that my employer has staff WiFi and a big fat internet connection. I use this to download things to watch on my way to and from work. I said my mobile data usage is tiny as a result and I'm actually happy on 3G/4G on 321 PAYG on Three thanks.

      However he wasn't defeated started on price which is a mistake. I had only gone in to get a top up voucher for my niece for her birthday! I gave him my total spend last year in top ups (sub £90) and said match that. He couldn't and I eventually got my voucher.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still very poor

    UK lags far behind many third world countries in 4G speeds, that I have visited and tested. Could get much better 4G (and consistent) speeds in places such as Tunisia, greece & islands, Thailand, Spain, Mexico etc.

    All the hot air about 5G and great speeds is pure willy waving by the networks for brownie points. Ground reality is shameful. Try getting any signals on Oxford street on Three network !

    They need to satisfy their shareholders first, before comitting any further spending on infrastructure improvements.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Still very poor

      So why don't you tell us which third world countries you've been to?

      I have been to Lao PDR and can confirm that their 4g network is superb.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Still very poor

      Depends. I had blistering speed on my Winphone on EE...but it helped I could see the BT exchange and mast from my window.

      Now where I live EE is a joke. I used to get a better reception in the country park down the road than I did on the high st.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still very poor

      There's plenty of Three coverage on Oxford street. Capacity is, however, another matter …..

  3. RSW


    Is this not more down to the backhaul setup rather than the mobile network?

    4G equipment setups must be similar if not the same across all the providers so if you can get a signal then the data rate is down to the link they have to the internet or device contention to a mast

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    Two other metrics ...

    that are important with mobile networks:

    * coverage - how many not-spots ?

    * uptime - how few are the times when the network fails or degrades ?

  5. Roland6 Silver badge

    "EE is the UK's fastest mobile network" with a median download speed of 25.7Mbps...

    Interesting that these figures are well within 3G spec's. and mean there is no real point in replacing my LTE Cat4 USB dongle (150Mbps download/50Mbps upload) anytime soon.

  6. MJI Silver badge

    What about?

    BT Cellnet?


    How are they doing?

    1. Commswonk

      Re: What about?

      I'm far from certain whether or not your question is serious.

      BT Cellnet ceased to exist as a brand in 2002 when it was renamed mmO2, and in 2006 it was acquired by Telefónica (of Spain) with the mm being dropped and the O2 retained.

      Orange merged with T Mobile (owned by Deutsche Telecom) in 2010 to form EE, which in turn was acquired by BT in 2016, retaining the name EE. (Everything Everywhere, or not as the case may be.)

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: What about?

        And BT Mobile (perhaps it was this that was being confused with Cellnet) - seems to still be around - is an MVNO on EE.

        1. davemcwish

          Re: What about?

          I still don’t get why, BT Mobile, the parent offers a different service (supposedly slower) but has the benefit of piggybacking on home users WiFi. I can only assume there’s some competition law keeping the two apart. I (as EE user) wouldn’t mind the occasional use of piggybacking if I’m i b the arse-end of nowhere.

          1. ibmalone

            Re: What about?

            Not that I've ever used it, but EE supposedly have wifi calling too,

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: What about?

              They do, however, you seem to need either a phone purchased directly from EE or a reseller as an EE network locked phone ie. contains EE firmware.

              Aside: Not tried a non-EE phone to test this constraint.

              1. ARGO

                Re: What about?

                Most recent (2019+) Android handsets will configure themselves to the SIM you put in.

                And much as I like to bash Apple, their phones have always done that.

                1. ibmalone

                  Re: What about?

                  Revisiting to say I've tried this on my 2017 android pie phone bought through CPW (UK base version, not EE firmware) and it does seem to work there. Maybe it was the case in the past that it needed the network's version of the phone, but certainly worth trying.

              2. davemcwish

                Re: What about?

                This works on my unlocked iPhone. It also appears to be available on BT.

          2. MJI Silver badge

            Re: What about?

            I know I don't understand, just sticking with what was BT Cellnet (now O2)

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: What about?

        It is.

        I have a work phone, been on the same supplier since year dot*, and I remember it being Cellnet then O2.

        I am also with BT for phone and broadband, not the cheapest but they do not moan about extreme usage.

        They tried to sell me a mobile phone, I said I am already with them with O2, didn't they get confused.

        "It used to say BT Cellnet so I am on BT."

        But I did wonder where Orange went.

        * Masts near our old office only worked properly with Cellnet and co.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What about?

          Orange merged with T-Mobile about 10 years ago under the holding name "Everything, Everywhere".

          Everything Everywhere duly began amalgamating their networks, by first allowing automatic roaming between the two networks for their customers as a quick-and-dirty win, then moving on to more graceful/transparent measures.

          After a few years of background tinkering, Everything Everywhere launched their third brand, EE, which was the only one of the three to offer 4G.

          After the launch of EE, Orange and T-Mobile continued to trade as individual brands, and existing customers were coaxed into "upgrading" to the EE brand. Orange and T-Mobile eventually stopped selling to new customers, and AFAIK, any remaining customers were eventually automatically shipped over to the EE brand.

          For an extra upvote or two... T-Mobile UK was previously One2One from when it launched in 1993 through to the early 00s.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: What about?

            >> T-Mobile

            Hmmm work tried them for about a week as it was cheaper, and guess what no signal in office.

            Again I wondered about them.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about?

        Orange UK and T-Mobile UK to form everything everywhere - Orange brand is still owned by France Telecom.

  7. Quentin North

    Ee is rubbish

    My experience as a commercial user of EE is that coverage is poor and customer service and billing is horrendous. It’s got worse since BT bought it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mixed bag

    I use a dual SIM iPhone. EE and Vodafone, so have played around with the two networks in a real-world scenario.

    Both SIMs are always "active" and show a signal. If someone calls me on either number, the phone rings. When I make an outgoing call, I can toggle which number to call out from.

    Data, however, has to be set to one SIM or the other as the phone can't handle two seperate data connections simultaneously. I've found that EE has a slight advantage over Voda, so usually leave it set to use this.

    However, a neat trick of the phone is that if the EE signal drops altogether, it'll automatically activate the data on the the Voda SIM (if it has signal), and even better, the EE goes into a VoWi-Fi type mode, using Voda's 4G signal to make/receive calls and texts.

    Now I'll get to the point...

    Generally, I concurr that EE have the better performance, but I still regularly find myself in situations, usually indoors, where EE's service drops completely, yet I still get a couple of bars' 4G with Vodafone, which is perfectly usable.

    On balance, if I didn't have the luxury of a dual SIM phone and had to pick one network out of the two, I'd rather sacrifice a wee bit of the top-end speed performance I get with EE, and switch to Vodafone for the better indoor performance.

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