EE is still the fastest 5G network around

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EE remains the operator to beat when it comes to 5G speeds and availability, according to the latest report from network testers RootMetrics which says all four operators have shown improvements.

RootMetrics conducted 650,000 tests across all four UK nations and in 16 major cities during the second half of 2021 to provide networks and consumers with a snapshot of the current mobile market.

BT-owned EE was the top or joint-best performer across all seven UK-wide categories, including network performance, accessibility, speed, and call performance, while it also posted the fastest median download speeds in each city.

EE’s 60Mbps was faster than Vodafone’s 24.9Mbps, Three’s 21.6Mbps and Virgin Media’s 15.2Mbps.

Uk 5G testing

These categories take into account all network technologies, not just 5G, and provide an idnciation of the level of experience that customers can expect when using their phone. When 5G is taken in isolation, EE was able to offer the best availability and median download speeds of more than 100Mbps in each city.

Vodafone was the closest challenger to EE’s crown. IT shared the national call performance with EE and was the only other operator to offer a median download speed of more than 50Mbps in a UK city. When it comes to 5G, Vodafone was able to deliver 100Mbps in each city too.

Three shared the national text award with EE and Virgin Media O2, while a “dramatically improved” 5G service saw speeds and availability rise. Indeed, Three nearly doubled the number of cities where it was able to offer 100Mbps on a next generation network.

Virgin Media O2 also improved, even if it lags behind its competitors in terms of overall speeds. However it no longer has a median download speed below 10Mbps in any UK city and can now offer a 5G signal in nearly all of the 16 metropolitan locations tested.

“As the UK’s hunger for data continues to increase, fast and reliable mobile connectivity has never been more important,” said Patrick Linder, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Rootmetrics.

“EE remained the operator to beat in our second-half 2021 testing, but competition is increasing, with all major operators showing improvement since the first half of 2021. That’s great news for consumers, as greater competition tends to lead to a cycle of even better performance and further innovation.”

  • If your tests are showing a slow connection you should check out the best 5G phones 

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.