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Ofcom smartphone cities study: which network came out on top?

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Report lays bare the carriers that can. And those that can't.
Man using smartphone

According to Ofcom statistics, 70% of adults in the UK now own a smartphone. And that’s why the regulator is starting to show a keen interest in how networks are performing when it comes to mobile data.

In this week's report, Ofcom assessed how carriers’ measured up in five cities - London, Norwich, Liverpool, Cardiff and Edinburgh - over November and December 2015.

So who came out on top? And which networks need to do better? Read on and we’ll reveal all.

1. EE

Network - EE

When it comes to data, EE came out well on top in Ofcom’s study.

Over 4G, the network offered a hugely impressive 20Mbps average download speed across all five cities.

With the UK's most extensive 4G coverage and the advantage of launching 4G in the UK before anyone else, this is not a huge surprise.

It also topped call connection charts, with a 99% success rate.

Throw in video streaming succes (the James Bond movie Spectre loaded on 97% of occasions) and it’s clear which network the others need to beat.

2. Three

Network - Three

With a 15Mbps average speed, Three came in second to EE.

However, it’s worth remembering that Three’s deals all include 4G as standard and generally at a lower cost than its rivals.

Call connections came in at 98% and video loading reached 87%. Not quite up to EE’s standards, but impressive nonetheless.

However, Three users in Norwich can boast that they have the fastest network in town, the only place where EE was toppled from the number-one spot.

3. Vodafone

Network - Vodafone logo

Vodafone’s struggles in the face of Three’s merger with O2 and EE’s deal with BT have been well documented.

And Ofcom’s study doesn’t make for happy reading either.

Its average download speed of 12Mbps isn’t awful, but it’s not up scratch when the competition is clearly stronger and Vodafone’s tariffs are perhaps less competitive than some of the competition.

The network did, however, enjoy a 98% call success rate, with videos loading in 86% of cases.

4. O2

Network - o2

Poor old O2. With a tie-up with Three still being debated by regulatory authorities, its network seems to be struggling in our major towns and cities.

It managed just 10Mbps average download speed and although it scored 98% call success and 85% video loading, its woes don’t end there.

When Ofcom tested for consistency of speed, it found that O2 managed 2Mbps on just 59% of occasions.

That compares with 92% for EE.

Whether this will be fixed once Three and O2 finally tie the knot remains to be seen, but clearly its customers in cities are getting a raw deal at the moment.

Category: Features

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