“The RootMetrics research is one of the first attempts in the UK to explore the performance of mobile broadband networks. Clearly EE scores very well and this reflects both their strategy for wanting to continue to be one-step-ahead with their network and the money they have put behind it. While Vodafone doesn’t score so well in comparison, they shouldn’t be written off. They too have ambitious plans for network upgrades which are being delivered through ‘Project Spring’. Some of the early results of this are probably not being captured in this first ranking from RootMetrics. What’s clear from this snapshot is that for the rest of the industry to close the gap on EE in terms of network speeds and availability it’s not going to come without a struggle.
“As well as the RootMetrics research, Ofcom is currently in the process of replicating for mobile what it already monitors for fixed broadband. They will soon be publishing quality of service information to help consumers compare the performance of mobile networks and to incentivise providers to improve as we move towards the 98% UK population coverage obligation in 2017. In particular they will be looking at the quality of mobile reception and coverage for both 3G and 4G networks. This is important for consumers making the decision of whether or not to opt for a 4G handset and tariff.
“In several countries around the world, national regulatory authorities have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, broadband performance monitoring schemes. Ovum’s own research shows that such schemes have usually been driven by the regulator’s wish to determine the overall consumer experience in relation to broadband services, as consumers often do not receive the connection speeds that they pay for. The schemes have also formed part of work on net neutrality and to see what services may be being throttled or blocked. Our research shows that broadband speeds in those countries where a monitoring scheme has been in place for a number of years has tended to increase significantly.”
By Matthew Howett, Telecoms Regulation Analyst at Ovum.