Published today, the new annual P3 Mobile Benchmark UK shows a clear ranking of the country’s operators: EE is the winner taking the “best in test” seal, thanks to the best national data performance and a good voice service. Three ranked second overall with the best voice performance in the test, while O2 and Vodafone followed almost head-to-head, with a slightly better score for O2. The benchmark revealed some very well performing services and some very well served areas of all operators - reflecting their network strategies and investments. But it also shows plenty of potential for improvement in all four UK networks. This year’s P3 Mobile Benchmark UK concludes a series of similar tests across several countries and is the first in a regular annual series of such reports.
Launched today by the international consulting, engineering and testing services company P3 communications, the benchmark is unprecedented in its scope and level of detail. The benchmark results were based on several weeks of intensive testing. Two specially equipped measurement cars took tens of thousands of test samples while travelling up and down the country, covering major metropolitan areas, smaller cities and connecting routes to provide the most representative data possible. The selected areas for the tests accounted for roughly 13 million people or 20 per cent of the UK population.
The P3 Mobile Benchmark used high-tech measurement equipment to test all four UK mobile networks. The test cases were specifically designed to push the limits of the most advanced mobile network technology currently in service, and were all based on proven P3 measurement methodologies. Test metrics include voice call quality, success rates, file upload and download speeds, website access, SD and HD mobile video performance and more.
As the results show, the UK networks provide much better services in larger metropolitan areas than in smaller cities and on connecting routes. Compared with other leading operators in Europe and worldwide, all UK networks have significant potential to further improve their service quality and performance.
Peter Seidenberg, Managing Director of P3 communications, says: “Comparing the UK results with other P3 mobile benchmarks in Europe and Australia makes it clear that much better performances are achievable. But the good news for all UK mobile customers is that the newest technology potentially provides for much more capability than is currently implemented. We expect to see significant improvements by the time the next testing cycle begins.”
The mobile industry in the UK moves very quickly and is at the forefront of trialling and deploying some of the newest LTE technologies, such as VoLTE and LTE-Advanced. Right now, each of the operators has a number of major cutting-edge initiatives under development to boost their networks in different ways. The newest mobile network technology has just begun to show what customers can expect in the future.
EE achieved the “best in test” seal thanks to a dominant data performance combined with a reliable and well-managed voice network. But there is potential for improvement in web browsing and data performance outside urban areas. For EE to defend its number 1 position, some extra attention to voice services could give it a valuable score boost for next year.
Three finished in second place, with the best voice performance in the test. Had it not trailed the field in data, though, it could have put a lot more pressure on EE. Once its data challenges are solved, we can expect much more from Three.
O2 delivered well in data with the second best result, but has a lot of ground to cover for voice. It was not far behind EE on data, however, and with some improvements to success rates and throughput, the data story next year could be different. Higher voice success rates and better speech quality could further strengthen O2’s position.
Vodafone ended up in third place for both voice and data. But O2 only pulled ahead in the total scoring via a slight advantage in data performance; it is a small gap to close for Vodafone to draw level with O2, and a little more ground to cover to threaten Three. With good data results and an increased stability in voice, Vodafone is expected to catch up in next year’s P3 Mobile Benchmark UK.
P3 has been running similar annual public benchmarks in Germany since 2002 and in Austria and Switzerland since 2009. This year, it also launched an Australian benchmark and next year additional countries in Europe and the Americas are scheduled. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the benchmark is today widely accepted as the industry standard, being an objective and thorough test of network performance, drawing on hundreds of thousands of voice and data measurements. It has become a way both to improve market transparency and for the mobile operators themselves to measure and compare network quality. Today, the P3 benchmark provides an important incentive for the operators to continue investing in improving their infrastructure, services and performance. It also gives them a perfect platform to show how revenue from customers is used to deliver and improve service and quality.
P3 communications has close to two decades of experience in network testing of this type. In 2013 alone, P3 compiled about 40,000 measurement hours in 42 countries across five continents, with our test vehicles covering more than 500,000 miles. P3 works with clients around the world including network operators, device manufacturers and regulatory authorities.
About P3 communications
P3 communications is a leading international consulting, engineering and testing services company. P3 communications is part of the P3 Group, which has over 2,500 employees worldwide and posted a turnover of more than €270 million in 2013. The company provides a broad portfolio of independent technical and management consulting services including network planning, engineering, end-to-end optimisation, security, QoS and QoE testing, international benchmarking, device testing and acceptance services. P3 communications’ clients include network operators, equipment vendors, device manufacturers, public safety organisations and regulatory authorities around the world; the company’s own experts combine strong technical know-how with many years of management experience.