Coventry named best UK city for overall mobile network performance - RootMetrics report

The latest scientific study from RootMetrics by IHS Markit ranks Coventry as the top-performing UK city for overall mobile performance in the second half of 2018. 

With one of the smallest populations out of the 16 cities tested, Coventry recorded outstanding results in the categories of overall performance, network reliability, network speed, data performance and call performance. All four operators tested (EE, O2, Three, Vodafone) delivered excellent results in the city. 

Who trails Coventry? Leicester and Leeds on the podium 

Leicester logged impressive scores in testing, securing its position as the second-best city for overall performance, while also earning distinction as the only operator to finish among the top three in all six performance categories. All four mobile operators delivered improved speeds and excellent call and data reliability in Leicester. 

The combined metropolitan areas of Leeds and Bradford stepped up in the latest round of testing, ranking 5th for overall performance, up from 10th in the last test period. All four operators delivered faster median download speeds and most networks improved or maintained solid call reliability in the Yorkshire cities. 

Mixed results for the UK’s largest cities

London remains among the UK’s worst cities for mobile network performance, ranking 15th out of the 16 cities tested in the overall performance category. Although EE’s performance in the capital was strong, the city’s ranking was impacted by comparatively low speeds and high blocked call rates from other carriers.

Birmingham replaced London at the bottom of the RootMetrics rankings with relatively low speeds from two of the four major carriers as well as high dropped call rates contributing to the low ranking. Big cities such as London and Birmingham struggled as it is generally harder to implement infrastructure in built-up areas and tall buildings can often interfere with signals. Dense populations and increasing consumer demand for data can also impact mobile network performance in big cities.

Kevin Hasley, head of product at RootMetrics and executive director of performance benchmarking at IHS Markit, said: “In an ever-growing connected world, the demand for fast and reliable mobile experiences is both business critical and vital for consumers. What our latest set of data reveals is that in some of the largest cities in the UK, network operators have to work harder than ever to meet the increasing demands of consumers.”

Hasley added, “The introduction of 5G technology will offer opportunities for the UK’s major cities to liberate themselves from underachieving network performance. Highly populated cities will be the first to deploy the small cell infrastructure required to deliver 5G coverage. As a result, the operators should be able to deliver the strong performance that users expect in major economic areas.”

“Reliability is important for consumer satisfaction. Coventry, Manchester and Leicester all performed well and consumers and businesses should reap the benefits in those cities,” continued Hasley. 

In better news for the largest cities, Manchester scored strong in four of the six categories tested. 

Operator performance was generally good, with carriers delivering fast speeds, good call performance and strong data reliability. 

How is mobile performance tested?

RootMetrics carried out its testing using Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9 smartphones purchased from operator stores. Tests were conducted during the day and night while testers walked and drove around the UK’s cities. 

The testing and methodology mimic how consumers use their mobile phones. The six test categories are: overall performance, network reliability, network speed, data performance, call performance and text performance.

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