Best UK mobile network: EE is the fastest mobile operator but Three is the most reliable as rivals Vodafone and O2 lag behind in new study

Clara Guibourg
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EE has retained its crown as the UK's best mobile operator, but Three has beaten it when it comes to reliability, a fresh ranking reveals.

When EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone were put to the test in a nationwide assessment of the operators’ speed, reliability, calls, internet, text and overall performance, EE shone brightest in five of the six categories.

The operator, which comes fresh from a merger with BT, has repeatedly taken home the prize in mobile analytics firm Rootmetrics bi-annual stress tests.

But EE’s rivals are catching up. Yes - the good news, no matter what operator you have, is that everyone’s performance is improving.

Three pulled ahead to have the best reliability, and its call and text performance has improved enough to make it runner-up overall, despite having slow network speeds.

O2 also improved its performance for calls, text and speed, but not enough to lift the operator from a last place.

“We’re seeing some of the other operators making good improvements across all the different ways we use our mobile phones,” said Scott Stonham, Rootmetrics’ general manager in Europe.

Choosing the mobile operator that’s right for you is not one-size-fits-all. While some people care most about fast mobile internet so they can watch videos or download music without delay, others just want to know that they can reliably make a call or send a text.

RootMetrics’ study involved driving nearly 24,000 miles across the UK, collecting 1.1m test samples across the country.

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