Home5G & BeyondThree UK: the fastest download in 5G

    Three UK: the fastest download in 5G


    Vodafone uploads but Three is clear consumer champ

    The results of the latest Speedtests run by Ookla are up on the scoreboard and the winner depends on whether you are a talker or a listener. Britain’s social media video makers, voyeurs and live footage streamers will be interested to know that Vodafone delivers the fastest upload speeds. More importantly, video consumers will be impressed that Three UK delivered the fastest download speeds in tests conducted for the Q1-Q2 2022 (H1) study of 5G based mobile broadband performance. There was little difference on latencies. 

    Network building

    The bottom line is that Three UK has been found by independent tests to offer the fastest average (median) download speed for 5G. The Hutchison 3G Enterprises owned UK subsidiary’s performance is a product of its canny choice of spectrum holdings, achievements in boosting network coverage and recent capacity upgrades. Three has spent over £2 billion on network upgrades which, it said, brought 5G to 56% of the population via 3,200 sites in 400 locations.

    Wise spectrum choice

    Three UK is the only operator to be named the UK’s fastest 5G network through testing done with real consumers, said David Hennessy, CTO of Three UK and ROI: “We are delivering on our promise of providing better connectivity, every day, for every customer.” The engineers of ISPReview said it’s vital to put these figures into context. Mobile data performance is hard to make snap judgements on because users are, by nature, a moveable feast. There is endless variation of environments, like being indoors, outdoors or on the Jubilee Line, and devices and conditions, such as moist air on a deserted Wimbledon Common one day or dry air on a baking hot day outside a packed tennis club the next.  


    All affect service, as does the backhaul capacity from each different cell sites and the broadcasting spectrum available to each site and its suitability to an urban or rural area. “In the era of 4G we tended to see EE dominate most of the performance studies, while for 5G that same pendulum has been gradually shifting toward Three UK,” said ISP Review. The latest study from Ookla compared 954,763 user-initiated 5G tests, taken on the Speedtest iOS and Android mobile apps via 261,134 unique devices. Smartphones like the iPhone 13 and 12 Pro Max were the most popular.

    Vodafone top uploader

    However, it’s clear that in the Median Download Speed category, Three UK, with its score of 292.57 Mbps was twice as good as the second placed Vodafone, with 157.55Mbps. Whereas in the Median Upload Speed race, there was very little between VodafoneEEThree UK and O2. “It is clear that Three’s network is critical to the UK infrastructure,” said Three UK and ROI’s CTO Hennessy. However ISP Review argued that uploads and latency times are little better than those of existing 4G services is because most of today’s 5G has to use 4G connectivity and spectrum, which won’t change until Standalone (SA) 5G becomes common. But to be fair, Three UK’s good downstream performance does reflect well on its strong spectrum options, network building advances and recent capacity upgrades.