The new report is just a supplementary case study to the comprehensive report that Ofcom published back in March. The study was based on mobile broadband and voice performance for the four major network operators in five major cities including Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Norwich.
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The study included metrics like phone call success rates, video streaming quality as well as download, upload and web-browsing speeds and was conducted between November and December last year. As has been the case with Ofcom reports, EE topped on every parameter, followed closely behind by the other three.
"The main reason for this testing on Cat-4 and Cat-6 handsets was to understand more about the potential performance benefits available to consumers who upgrade to the latest devices and on each network," said Ofcom in the new report. "Newer handsets (Cat-6 and above) are able to make use of one of the key developments in mobile networks recently; the deployment of carrier aggregation (“CA”) technology. CA technology can be utilised to enhance the mobile broadband performance experienced by consumers," the industry watchdog added.
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Based on results of testing in Central London for over five days in March, Ofcom found EE to be the only network which experienced "a significant increase for download tests carried out on their network on Cat-4 compared to Cat-6 handsets." The highest download speeds recorded on EE's network was 31.9 Mbps compared to 19.9 Mbps on Vodafone, 10.2 Mbps on Three and 6.5 Mbps on the O2 network.
Ofcom also found that the average time taken by Cat-6 phones to access the BBC home page, including all the information on the page, was 3.3 seconds on EE, 3.4 seconds on Vodafone, 4.2 seconds on O2 and 4.3 seconds on Three's network. At the same time Cat-4 phones took 5.9, 6.3, 6.3 and 6 seconds to access the BBC home page on EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three networks respectively.
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On Cat-6 devices, the standard web page loading time on EE's network was one second, and 1.3, 1.4 and 1.7 seconds on Vodafone, O2 and Three networks respectively.
In terms of upload speeds, EE recorded a maximum of 24.2 Mbps followed by Vodafone at 15.2 Mbps, Three at 11.6 Mbps and O2 at 8.4 Mbps on Cat-6 devices. The average time taken for a YouTube video to show up on EE's network was just 2.1 seconds, followed by 2.3 seconds on Vodafone, 2.3 seconds on Three and 2.9 seconds on the O2 network.
Elated by Ofcom's findings, EE said that it offers the best mobile network performance to UK consumers and will continue to invest heavily on increasing its capacity across the country.
“The great speeds that our customers are getting is down to the investment that we’ve made in adding more capacity to our network. These Cat 6 devices, which include big-selling smartphones like the iPhone 6s and the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7, on the EE network are giving customers an amazing internet experience – fast data, great response times, and incredible reliability. And we’ll keep investing in more capacity across the UK to make sure customers on the EE network are always getting the fastest mobile speeds,” said an EE spokesperson.
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Back in May, RootMetrics awarded the Overall RootScore Award to EE based on a number of parameters including network reliability, speed, data performance and performance on calls and texts in London in the first half of 2016. EE bagged the top honours in all parameters and shared the award with Three on text performance in London.
Overall, the operator scored an impressive 96.5 even though other operators like O2, Vodafone and Three didn't fare too badly with scores of 91.6, 91.3 and 90.9 respectively. While Three shared the award for offering the best call performance in London with EE and O2 in the second half of 2015, EE has grabbed it back to sweep the overall contest.