EE leads in 5G deployment, claims Root Metrics


RootMetrics has released its first full UK report into 5G network performance, showing EE leading the 5G deployment race, but with notable wins for Three and Vodafone.

While the pandemic and lockdown have knocked the telecoms industry sideways, operators have not let up in progressing 5G rollouts. Based on the scientific testing, EE has built on its 4G LTE dominance and remains the operator to dethrone, after posting consistently fast speeds and the highest 5G availability, claims RootMetrics.

EE has cemented its position as the frontrunner in 5G, registering fast speeds in all 16 major UK cities, alongside registering the best 5G availability in testing. In spite of London being the focal point for many operators 5G expansion efforts, EE’s fastest 5G median download speed of 145.9 Mbps was found in Newcastle. The operators’ slowest 5G median download speed of 103.9 Mbps was recorded in Nottingham. 

EE was the only operator that registered median download speeds above 30Mbps in all 16 markets, and EE clocked speeds above 50 Mbps in half of those cities. In short, even if users can’t consistently access 5G in each location, their speeds should still be fast thanks to the strength of the existing 4G LTE network.

However, Three earned the distinction for clocking the single fastest 5G median download speeds at 193.7 Mbps in Liverpool and the fastest recorded download speed of 478.1 Mbps.  

Nevertheless, 5G availability is still very low. For example, RootMetrics’ testing in Birmingham, established only 15.4% of 5G connection for Three customers although its latency metrics were strong, with generally low latency on both 5G and 4G LTE. Three’s lowest median 5G latency was 23.0ms in London and its highest 5G latency was 79.8ms in Edinburgh.  

While Vodafone offers excellent and consistent 5G speeds in most markets (median download speeds of 153.4 Mbps in Manchester and 134.9 Mbps in Glasgow), the operator’s 5G availability has room to improve across the 10 cities in which it registered a 5G presence. 5G availability is also low on Three (below 7% in 10 cities) and O2 which only registered a median download speed in one city (Belfast, at 121.3 Mbps).

All eyes on the capital

The report also looked in greater detail at London’s Central Activities Zone (CAZ) which covers one of the world’s most attractive and competitive business centres. For example, EE registered an impressive 77.5% of 5G availability in central London while Three clocked the fastest 5G maximum download speed among all operators in London at a whopping 463.0 Mbps.

Vodafone’s 5G median download speed of 178.9 Mbps was the winner in central London beating EE’s 5G median speed which stood at 135.2 Mbps while the next nearest competitor, Three, stood at 79.1 Mbps. O2 did not register any 5G results in RootMetrics’ testing in central London.

For details on the RootMetrics by IHS Markit testing methodology visit:



Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to