EE named best network in independent benchmark

27 January 2023 16:39   By Lyndsey Burton

Rootmetrics H2 2022 report ranks EE best network overall, as well as across seven UK-wide categories, including reliability and speed.

Independent mobile analytics firm, Rootmetrics, have released their second half 2022 benchmarking report for mobile network operators in the UK.

The report saw EE awarded first place for all major categories across the UK, nations, and in metro city areas, covering reliability, accessibility, speed, data, call and text.

The report looked at the performance of EE, Three, Virgin Media O2, and Vodafone, and was based on 635,207 tests across the UK and in 799 indoor locations.

ee mobile store front
Credit: Electric Egg/

EE fastest network

Rootmetrics reported a median UK-wide download speed of 58.5Mb for EE across both 4G and 5G connections, putting them way ahead of competitors Three with 28Mb, and Vodafone with 23.7Mb.

Virgin Media O2 was found to be the slowest network overall with medium download speeds of just 14.1Mb.

UK median download speed H2 2022
EE 58.5Mb
Three 28Mb
Vodafone 23.7Mb
Virgin Media O2 14.1Mb

In each of the nations, EE was also found to be the fastest network, reporting 51.5Mb in Wales, 55.5Mb in Scotland, 52.5Mb in Northern Ireland, and 59.3Mb in England.

England Northern Ireland Scotland Wales
EE 59.3Mb 52.5Mb 55.5Mb 51.5Mb
Three 28.7Mb 19.6Mb 25.6Mb 23.8Mb
Vodafone 24.1Mb 24.3Mb 21.2Mb 20.2Mb
Virgin Media O2 14.8Mb 14Mb 9.9Mb 8.4Mb

EE beat Three, Vodafone and Virgin Media O2 by some margin, with Three achieving second fastest provider in England with 28.7Mb median download speeds.

Again however, Virgin Media O2 was slowest, reaching just 9.9Mb in Scotland and 8.4Mb in Wales.

EE has been awarded first place by Rootmetrics testing for several years now, including in 2021 when the provider was chosen as the best network for 5G, despite being in contrast to parent company Ookla's Speedtest results which favoured Three.

Three for 5G

The latest research from Rootmetrics places Three slightly ahead of EE for 5G download speeds, with Three reporting 202.8Mb median 5G download speeds, compared to 141.6Mb by EE.

While Three had the fastest overall experience, with their 95th percentile results reaching 739.4Mb, way ahead of all other networks, they didn't perform as well at the slower end of the scale with their 5th percentile results slowing to 11.8Mb compared to EE's 20.1Mb.

5th Percentile Median 95th Percentile
EE 20.1Mb 141.6Mb 380Mb
Three 11.8Mb 202.8Mb 739.4Mb
Vodafone 8.1Mb 107.4Mb 322Mb
Virgin Media O2 5.4Mb 71Mb 258.2Mb

In terms of availability, Rootmetrics highlighted EE as having shown the most improvement of coverage in a particular city with their availability in Cardiff increasing by 20.8% from 37.3% to 58.1%.

Virgin Media O2 also performed well in terms of coverage improvement, expanding their availability in Leicester by 19.6% from 39.6% to 59.3% between the first and second halves of 2022.

Read more on the best network for 5G in this guide.

EE names 19 new 5G locations

To celebrate their 19th first place Rootmetrics ranking in a row, EE announced a further 19 locations where they've recently rolled out 5G.

EE now offer 5G in:

  • Abergavenny / Y Fenni
  • Banbury
  • Basildon
  • Beverley
  • Chepstow / Cas-Gwent
  • Coatbridge
  • Corby
  • Cwmbran
  • Immingham
  • Llanelli
  • Margate
  • Preston
  • Reading
  • Shrewsbury
  • Slough
  • Tewkesbury
  • Warrington
  • Windsor
  • Wishaw

EE were also keen to point out they're the only network who has so far announced plans to make 5G available everywhere in the UK by 2028.

While 5G still has some way to go providers are rapidly expanding, with EE's 5G network so far reaching 60% of the UK, compared to 87% covered by EE 4G.


Find the best deal on a new handset

independent comparison

We are independent of all of the products and services we compare.

fair comparison

We order our comparison tables by price or feature and never by referral revenue.

charity donations and climate positive

We donate at least 5% of our profits to charity, and we have a climate positive workforce.

Get insider tips and the latest offers in our newsletter