Research reveals mobile network performance ‘sweet spot’
Written by: Charlotte Hathway | Published:

Global Wireless Solutions has completed a nationwide assessment to understand the UK customer experience of mobile network performance.

GWS combined controlled scientific network testing with a deep analysis of consumer behaviour and expectations of performance. Its engineers collected data and voice task tests on iOS and Android devices, Jigsaw Research conducted nationwide focus groups, and it polled over 2,000 smartphone users through YouGov.

The report identified that the ‘sweet spot’ of network speed is between 4-6 seconds as nearly 8 out of 10 deem this to be an acceptable time to wait to complete mobile based activities such as loading news and other websites. Using this metric as a benchmark, GWS then tested data across the UK and found that operators are reaching this speed 96% of the time.

Despite this, online consumer polling from YouGov found that 56% of consumers reported ‘usually’ encountering problems with their mobile network. The issues people regularly encounter with their network included: websites and apps failing to load (30%), poor voice quality (21%), calls not connecting (19%) and calls dropping mid-call (19%).


GWS focused its OneScore rankings on network reliability and found O2 to be the UK’s most reliable network, with the operator ranking top in 18 out of 36 locations tested in the UK. The second most reliable network is EE which scored most reliable in 14 locations making it the most improved operator for network reliability.

Vodafone is ranked top in four locations, but did record more second place finishes than any other operator. Three did not rank as being the most reliable network in any of the cities and towns tested.

The study also found that voice calling is the important phone function for 44% of respondents, compared to data upload speeds (15%) and data download speeds (24%).

Dr Paul Carter, CEO, GWS, said, “We have purposely let the British public direct us as to which aspects of mobile network performance are the most important in their daily lives. There is too much focus on ranking operators by data speed versus other key network performance aspects such as reliability and customer satisfaction."

Carter added, "The real issue is which network will let you call, text and browse the internet most reliably."


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