By Jonathan Davies
EE has topped a list of performance tests on the big four mobile phone networks, with Vodafone coming last.
Research company RootMetrics tested EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone's speed and reliability of voice, data and text services.
EE was placed top of the list, with Three coming second, 02 in third and Vodafone, which finished bottom of the pile.
Despite the placements, RootMetrics research found improvement from all networks compared with last year's results. It rated each factor out of 100 for each network. Overall performance, call performance, mobile internet, text, network reliability and network speed were measured in 920,000 tests over the first six months of the year.
Mobile internet performance is a "two-horse race" between EE and Three, which scored 85.5 and 82.7, respectively. O2 and Vodafone lagged way behind with 68.1 and 67.0.
EE topped the results for calls, texts and network speeds. But RootMetrics said its reliability was matched by Three. All four networks showed strength in results for calls and texts, but the other three struggled to keep up with EE in terms of network speed.
Olaf Swantee, EE's chief executive, said: "Today's results, along with last week's report from Ofcom, show that EE is providing the best mobile experience to businesses and consumers across the UK.
"We continue to invest in getting even better, and setting new standards for performance and reliability."
A Vodafone spokesperson said the company was investing £1 billion in improving its network coverage and quality alone.
In a statement, Vodafone said: "Regular independent testing of our network shows that our customers are experiencing a significantly improving network every day due to our massive ongoing investment."
An O2 spokesperson said: "This report represents just one of the many testing houses operating in the marketplace. Our own extensive independent network tests, carried out by Spirent Communications between May and July this year, show O2 as number one in 17 out of the 20 key cities tested for voice-call performance and top in 12 out of 20 for data performance.
"As we continue to roll out our 4G service an modernise our 2G and 3G networks at the same time, the results from the Spirent survey demonstrate that our investment of £3bn over the next three years will help us to deliver faster speeds and greater coverage across the UK, ensuring our customers continue to have a great network experience."
Bryn Jones, Three's chief technology officer, said: "A reliable network is an essential part of delivering an enjoyable experience for our customers.
"We've invested heavily to ensure our customers can rely on a consistent service and as our 4G rollout progresses, we will continue to focus on delivering the best mobile experience possible."
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