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The UK’s best and worst mobile network providers, according to Ofcom!

uk mobile signal

Find out which providers score best for signal and worst for customer service

The results are in and Rootmetrics and Ofcom have named the UK’s most and least loved mobile network providers, according to the latest figures.
In this article, we’ll run you through who came out on top, who’s at the bottom of the barrel and what you should do before making a quick switch.

Which are the best networks for signal and speed?

Twice a year, network insights company Rootmetrics measures the performance of the four biggest UK networks, focusing on reliability, speed, data, calling and text messaging. And for the last three years, one network provider has come out on top in every category.
EE wins first place every time, scoring an overall 95.2 out of 100 in the latest set of data, though it did share the top spot in the specific text messaging category with Vodafone.
Vodafone came second overall, with an impressive 90 out of 100, and finished in second place in each of the other specified categories.
True to its name, Three came third overall, having won third place in every category apart from accessibility, where it was ranked worst. And this time the wooden spoon went to O2, which came joint third with Three on texts, but performed worst in all the other categories.
EE boasted the most impressive numbers for speed, with an aggregate median download speed of 42.6mbps. Vodafone came second with an aggregate median download speed of 19mbps, while Three and O2 did 14.1mbps and 13.3mbps respectively.
When it comes to 5G, Vodafone demonstrated consistently high speeds over 112mbps in nine of the ten markets where it had 5G.

Which mobile networks performed worst last year?

In less positive news, Ofcom have recently published complaints data revealing which are the UK’s worst mobile network providers.
Among pay-monthly customers in Quarter 3 2020, Sky and Tesco Mobile received the fewest official complaints. And at the other end of the scale? There’s a new wooden spoon winner, with Virgin taking over Three’s record for the highest number of complaints.
Apparently the most common bugbears among Virgin customers included complaints related to changing provider (32%), handling of complaints (31% – pretty ironic that!), and issues over billing, pricing and charges (15%).
But here’s how the rest of the big mobile providers fared.
Per 100,000 customers, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile generated only 1 complaint (but remember these are Ofcom complaints, not quibbles made directly to the providers themselves!).
EE and O2 received 2 Ofcom complaints per 100,000 customers, Vodafone got 5, Three caused 7 and Virgin generated 9. Virgin’s official complaints tally jumped by some 4 points on the previous quarter, meaning it was Ofcom’s most recent “worst performer”.

How can you avoid ever needing to make a complaint?

Nobody really likes complaining so rather than setting yourself up for a fall, it’s always best to do your research properly before choosing your network provider for your next mobile contract.
Coverage is the most important thing to consider and, thankfully, these days you can make sure you don’t live in any network’s blackspots.
Each provider has its own coverage checker which you can use to find out what sort of signal you’d get at home before committing to a contract. You can find them here:

What can you do if you’re stuck without signal?

When mobile connection’s giving you grief, there are several things you can try before resorting to changing networks altogether. Click here to check out our handy tips that’ll help you increase your phone signal in a jiffy.
But if the problem’s at your carrier’s end and you’re stuck in contract or not in a position to change networks for any other reason, we offer a fantastic, cost effective solution that sorts out your mobile signal issues for good.
We use Nextivity Cel-Fi technology to boost your mobile signal legally and safely so you never get stuck without a bar again.
Our Cel-Fi products boost signals by as much as 1000 times, but only over limited distances to avoid you ever experiencing any interference. They qualify each channel individually too, so that results are focused, and the infrastructure behind the products is all network safe. And, of course, they’re totally compliant with Ofcom licensing laws.
So if you need better mobile signal at home or in an office building, and you want to sort the problem, give us a call on 020 3823 7365.
Picture of John Baker
John Baker
John is a key part of the Signal Solutions Senior Team, having co-founded the company in 2020. With over 20 years spent working in telecoms, John brings a wealth of experience to the team.