Michelle Donegan is a tech writer who has covered the communications industry for more than 25 years on both sides of the pond. Having worked for various industry titles, including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and Light Reading, she specializes in mobile network technology trends.
Following its recent 5G speed tests in Birmingham, RootMetrics has put 5G to the test in Cardiff and revealed how EE and Vodafone perform. The results showed that EE has faster 5G download speeds and higher network availability than its rival Vodafone.
In Cardiff, 5G is currently only available on EE or Vodafone. Both O2 and Three have announced plans to launch the new services by the end of this year. So it’s still very early days for UK 5G rollouts, but RootMetrics’ tests indicate what consumers can expect from mobile networks in future.
RootMetrics clocked EE’s 5G median download speed at 163.1 Mbps, which was almost three times faster than the operator’s non-5G median speed of 58.8 Mbps. The maximum speed achieved on EE was 339.4 Mbps.
Vodafone’s 5G median download speed was 113.6 Mbps, which was more than three times faster than its non-5G median speed of 37.1 Mbps. Vodafone’s highest 5G speed was 345.9 Mbps.
To provide some real-world context, RootMetrics calculated how long it would take users to download a 600MB video at the 5G median download speeds on both networks. On Vodafone’s 5G network, it would take 43 seconds to download the video, while on EE it would take just 30.2 seconds.
In terms of network availability, EE also had better results than Vodafone. Although, to be fair, EE’s 5G footprint is bigger than Vodafone’s in the city, so it would be expected that users could connect to the service more often. EE’s 5G availability rate in Cardiff was 43.7%, while Vodafone’s was 14%.
RootMetrics’ test in Cardiff ran from late September to early October this year. The test team drove 134 miles, tested 23 indoor locations, and conducted a total of 10,070 tests in the city. The phones used were the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G for EE and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G for Vodafone.
Birmingham 5G versus Cardiff 5G
So, if you’re among the first consumers to have access to 5G, where will you get a better experience – Birmingham or Cardiff? That depends on which network you’re using. If you’re looking for consistently higher speed, EE delivered the fastest 5G median download speeds in both cities, according to RootMetrics’ tests.
In terms of peak speeds, EE had the highest maximum speed in Birmingham, but Vodafone’s maximum speed was slightly higher than EE’s in Cardiff.
When it comes to getting a 5G signal in Birmingham and Cardiff, EE has the better availability rates in both cities compared to Vodafone.
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