Most pay monthly phone contracts have a minimum contract term of 24-months… with some as long as 36 months before you can switch to another operator. That means you’ll want to be sure you’re with the right mobile network. Thankfully, new research published by Opensignal has made it much, much easier to work out which carrier is the best choice for you.
The latest report published by Opensignal is based on data gathered from hundreds of thousands of smartphones between June 1 and August 29, 2021. The results were then analysed to rank the biggest UK carriers across a number of categories.
Most of these categories combine performance from 4G and 5G networks, however, one of the Opensignal categories specifically singles out the 5G performance of each network. 5G networks are designed to provide faster speeds and greater bandwidth, so that people in packed stadiums and busy train terminals won’t see their signal and download speeds plummet – as they do on 4G, for example.
Overall, EE was crowned as the best network. The BT-owned mobile service secured the top spot in five out of seven of the top categories.
When it comes to download experience across both 4G and 5G networks, the thousands of users who submitted data for the Opensignal report recorded an average speed of 39Mbps. For comparison, the average speed of fixed-line broadband nationwide is 70Mbps. Three secured the silver medal in this category, but only managed around half of the average download speeds – topping out at 19.3Mbps.
EE also secured a win in the Download Speed (5G), Upload Speed (4G + 5G), Upload Speed (5G), and 4G UK Availability categories.
In the latter, the company managed an impressive 93.6 percent coverage across the United Kingdom. The silver medal in that category fell to Vodafone, which boasted 86.4 percent, while O2 followed in third with 83.6 percent coverage – or around 10 percent less 4G availability across the country than EE.
Three was the winner when it came to the availability of 5G nationwide, managing to beam its super-fast mobile signal to 7.4 percent of the country. In contrast, EE only managed to reach 5.5 percent. In second place was Vodafone, with 6.4 percent.
It’s worth noting that – as with all comparisons and studies – there are limitations with the Opensignal report. Studies that rely on app-based crowd-sourced data can be restricted by limitations of users’ smartphones, including slower or ageing hardware. The location at the same the data was gathered could also impact metrics such as download speeds.