Network benchmarking firm Global Wireless Solutions has today revealed which UK firm takes the crown as most reliable data provider in the UK – and there's a clear winner.
After an extensive national study into UK mobile network performance, GWS came to the conclusion that O2 retains the top spot as the UK’s most reliable network, with the company followed by EE, Vodafone and Three.
The detailed assessment involved GWS’ engineers collecting close to one million data and voice task tests on iOS and Android devices, alongside nationwide focus groups conducted in partnership with another firm called Jigsaw Research.
This data was then paired with consumer research polling over 2,000 smartphone users through YouGov, which helped cement a broader opinion of mobile data services in the UK.
The assessment is the only study of its kind to combine controlled scientific network testing with a deep analysis of consumer behaviour and expectations of performance.
According to the research, O2 wins the UK’s Most Reliable Network for the second year running.
The results show that the operator ranks top in 18 out of 36 locations tested in the UK, with the second most reliable network being EE (which scored most reliable in 14 locations making it the most improved operator for network reliability).
Vodafone ranked top in just four locations, but did record more second place finishes than any other operator.
Three, meanwhile did not rank as being the most reliable network in any of the cities and towns tested.
Interestingly enough, when looking at the regional rankings (combining the results from all operators), Liverpool and Cardiff are ranked the most reliable cities for mobile network connectivity, whereas Leeds, Edinburgh, Sunderland and London scored the worst.
Regarding coverage, it seems that's what most UK mobile users care about the most when it comes to their service provider. Though we see a lot of adverts about increased speed, it seems better (and more consistent) coverage is what consumers are really after.
When asked to select one area for improvement by network operators, over a quarter (28%) of respondents to the GWS survey reported the desire for increased network coverage, as opposed to just 8% who wanted to see faster data speeds than they currently experience.
In addition, when selecting a new plan, over half (54%) of people said that network coverage would be an important factor in their decision – more than double the amount of people who would consider network speed (26%).
Once again, voice calling appears to be a key reason behind consumers’ desire for increased coverage – more people (31%) said that a lack of mobile network signal was most frustrating when they needed to make a phone call than in any other situation
Just 1% of respondents say that speed is more important to them than reliability in the nationwide study, suggesting that mobile networks may want to examine their priorities for 2020 as more users get ready to renew or change their contracts.