Three UK wins Speedtest award for fastest 5G network

13 July 2023 16:17   By Lyndsey Burton

Ookla's Speedtest award has been granted to Three UK for the fastest 5G speeds during the Q1 - Q2 2023 period.

Ookla compared over 1 million user-initiated speed tests on their site across the United Kingdom to find the fastest mobile services.

Three UK won first place for 5G speeds with a median download speed of 265.75Mb per second, over 100Mb faster than the next fastest provider, Vodafone.

While EE was ranked third, O2 was the slowest out of the four mobile networks with a median download speed of 70.88Mb per second.

three mobile

Fastest for 5G

1,001,734 speed tests were compiled by Ookla, carried out specifically by 5G mobile users in the United Kingdom on either iOS or Android mobile Speedtest apps, during the Q1 - Q2 2023 period.

While the average median download speed from all networks was 115.29Mb per second, Three UK had the fastest 5G download speed at 265.75Mbps.

The second fastest mobile network for 5G was Vodafone, with a median download speed of 140.27Mbps, while EE came third with 99.06Mbps, and O2 was slowest with 70.88Mbps.

For uploads, Three UK also performed well, while Vodafone had the fastest median upload speed at 13.72Mbps, overall Three UK had the fastest upload trimean at 16.52Mbps, compared to 15.66Mbps for Vodafone.

EE also came third for uploads with a median speed of 12.88Mbps, and O2 was also slowest with a median upload speed of 8.98Mbps.

While tests came from all over the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland and Scotland, the bulk of the results were focused in central and south England, with only London, Birmingham, and Manchester spotlighted in the report.

For these cities however, Three UK was also fastest by a margin of around 100Mbps, with Vodafone coming second, EE third and O2 last, except in Manchester where O2 placed third with a download speed of 104.25Mbps, slightly faster than EE's 103.16Mbps.

Speed Score

The Ookla report uses a Speed Score to rank providers and determine which mobile network is fastest for 5G.

The Speed Score looks at both download and upload speeds, with an 80/20 split, as well as considering speed results across the 10th, 50th, and 90th pencentile.

The download and median speeds are given greatest weighting as they're most likely to represent a customer's experience on a day-to-day basis.

The latest result looks at tests undertaken during January 2023 to end of June 2023 (Q1 and Q2), and ranks Three UK first with a Speed Score of 232.32.

The full results are:

Speed Score Median Download Mbps
Three UK 232.32 265.75
Vodafone 120.08 140.27
EE 90.04 99.06
O2 65.13 70.88

Three and Vodafone

It's interesting to see Three UK and Vodafone performing strongest for 5G speeds, when the network's proposed merger comes after Ofcom described the networks as "sub-scale" operators lacking the viability to succeed in the rollout of 5G.

Three and Vodafone say the merger will see them invest £11 billion in upgrading the UK's mobile infrastructure to 5G. An investment the Government will no doubt want to ensure gigabit connectivity reaches the whole of the UK.

Yet, there are also concerns being raised over the merger by Unite, with issues including conflict of interest, national security and reduced market competition.


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