Latest mobile speed analysis shows EE still in lead

20 March 2019   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

EE leading pack with 24Mbps average speeds for combined 4G and 3G speed tests, while also leading for upload speed on 4G.

While EE were top in speed tests for England and Scotland, Vodafone's average download speeds were better in Wales.

Three Mobile lead for 3G only downloads across all three nations and they also have the lowest average latency for 3G.

According to the data from Tutela, the download and upload speeds remain consistent with previous crowdsourced results published in January.

ee tablet in city
© EE

EE best for 4G

EE continue to outstrip their rivals with consistently fast 4G download and upload speeds, with a 4.9Mbps lead on their closest competitor Vodafone.

There's more than 10Mbps difference between EE and O2's 4G speeds, while Three languishes in fourth place for 4G downloads.

Read our full review of EE's mobile network here.

tutela mobile download speed

Tutela: UK Market Snapshot - March 2019

This trend continues when we look at 4G uploads. Although Three edge above O2 in this analysis, there's still a 4.1Mbps gap between EE at the top of the table and O2 at the bottom.

Looking around the UK, it's in Wales where there are significant variations on the national 4G picture, with Vodafone ahead of EE by 0.5Mbps.

Read our full guide on mobile coverage in South Wales here.

EE are also the best performing network when it comes to 4G latency. While the differences between the networks are comparatively small on this measure, O2 have leapfrogged Vodafone to edge into second place.

Three still ahead on 3G

Three Mobile are 3G specialists, and this continues to show in their 3G speed results as they lead nationally and across the three nations.

Even so, latency remains a big issue on all 3G networks, and while Three are the best performer, their 45.9ms is still huge compared to the lowest 4G latency at 16.1ms.

tutela mobile latency

Tutela: UK Market Snapshot - March 2019

It's worth noting that the number of speed tests undertaken on 3G networks to produce this data is markedly lower than the number of 4G tests.

This signifies the relative popularity of 4G, but also highlights how far behind Three are on this service compared to the likes of EE and Vodafone.

Three have recently launched a new mobile broadband router called HomeFi which is designed to bring Mi-Fi to the whole household.

Overall mobile network picture

This latest data release from Tutela comes against a backdrop of change as the mobile industry prepares for 5G.

While EE have pledged to bring the first 5G smartphone to market, Vodafone are improving their underground coverage in anticipation of future upgrades.

It's also worth remembering that, while cities and towns gear up for 5G through various installations, large swathes of the country are still struggling to receive any effective mobile signal.

In September, Ofcom revealed their technical advice to the Government which detailed how mobile coverage across the UK could be improved.

The options included UK roaming, but BT have vetoed that idea this week by highlighting that the burden would fall disproportionately on their EE networks and disincentivise investment from other mobile providers.

Tutela's regular crowdsourced speed results provide a valuable snapshot of the UK mobile network and provide customers with tangible information about how their networks are performing in comparison to the others.

However, network coverage also plays a part in how effective mobile networks are, and this can depend greatly on where you are in the country. See our regional breakdown for mobile coverage here.

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