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Best of 2017: EE 4G speed beats O2 and Vodafone again

EE has come top of yet another award testing 3G and 4G mobile data speeds for Android phones and tablets in the UK.

It’s at least the fourth accolade in 2017 that EE has picked up for its fast mobile uploads and downloads.

Tutela Technologies published the results of this crowdsourced data covering hundreds of Android handsets including HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony, Motorola, and OnePlus.

The results

From the thousands of data points collected in the survey Tutela found that EE’s combined 3G and 4G reached average download speeds of 14.9Mbps with 6.2Mbps uploads.

Vodafone came second with 10.9Mbps down/5.2Mbps up, O2 took third position with 9.7Mbps down/5.5Mbps up, and Three were relegated to last place with average downloads of 7.6Mbps and uploads of 4.2Mbps.

EE wins fourth Android data speed test

The tests were standardized by the time it took to download a 2MB file while uploading a 1MB file.

Tutela say this simulates normal phone behaviour, for example while downloading a web page.

Best network for 3G

Best of 2017: EE wins Android speed test, again

For 3G on its own, EE again came top with average downloads of 5.6Mbps and uploads of 1.9Mbps.

Vodafone’s upload speed was slightly better over 3G at 2.1Mbps, but couldn’t match EE for downloads at 5.0Mbps. Three was third with 4.9Mbps down/1.7Mbps up and O2 came last with 4.7Mbps up/2.0Mbps down.

In terms of 3G signal and coverage Vodafone was found to be the best choice everywhere in the UK apart from Northern Ireland, where O2 performed best.

Best network for 4G

Best of 2017: EE wins Android speed test, again 1

For 4G, EE won best network in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland while Vodafone took top spot for Wales.

Speed-wise EE took bragging rights with 18.1Mbps downloads/7.5Mbps uploads, beating second-placed Vodafone by a considerable margin.

Vodafone produced average 4G downloads of 13.6Mbps and uploads of 6.5Mbps. O2 came in third with 11.3Mbps down/6.5Mbps up. Three took the bottom spot again with the slowest average 4G speeds at 9.5Mbps down/5.9Mbps up

Phones and tablets covered in the survey

  • HTC: M8, One, 10
  • Huawei: Nexus 6P
  • LG: Nexus 5X, G4, G5
  • OnePlus: 2
  • Motorola: G3, G4, G Play, X Play
  • Samsung: Note 3, Note 4, A3, A5, Galaxy S5, J5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge
  • Sony: Xperia XZ, Xperia X, Xperia Z3, Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Premium

Tutela also reports on more esoteric speed benchmarks including jitter, latency and packet loss.

Each showed Vodafone peforming the best. EE and O2 were not far behind, while Three’s network again suffered the most interference taking last place.

How did EE win so big?

EE has boosted data speeds on its network by switching over old 2G masts to work with 4G and 4G+. It took first place in OpenSignal‘s data speed tests, and has won the same prize from P3 and Rootmetrics, twice.

In June the company – bought out by BT last year for £12.5bn – switched on its 4G+ network and claimed download speeds of 429Mbps in Cardiff and London.

EE is already testing 5G, the next generation of mobile data technology, and claims to have sent and received data at speeds of 2.8Gbps – or 2,800Mbps – between two devices.


Tom is a tech journalist and Editor at SimOnlyDeals.co.uk.
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