EE fieldtest: 3G vs 4G on an Apple iPhone 5

We put the high-speed network to the test with some interesting results...

We've compared EE's 3G and 4G networks around London using an iPhone 5 to see the difference in speeds you can expect if you're thinking about signing up to the high-speed network.

How we tested

For the test we used the iPhone 5, switching between 3G and 4G networks. We carried out speed tests at seven locations, aiming for a diverse range of areas.

We started off at the Dennis Offices (Cleveland Street) and went to Canary Wharf (high-rise buildings), Kings Cross (busy station), London Bridge (across the Thames), Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street (busy tourist areas) and Regents Park (wide open space).

To test the download and upload speeds we used the Speedtest.net app. We took three readings at each location and then averaged it out.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

A lack of 4G signal at Piccadilly Circus is embarrassing for EE as the firm has been plastering 'Quickadilly Circus' across billboards.

Results

We found average 3G download speeds ranged between 0.76 - 12.17Mbps and average 4G download speeds were between 0.00 - 50.21Mbps.

We managed to get a spike at London Bridge with an impressive average download speed of 50Mbps.

EE 3G vs 4G Download speeds

4G download speeds were four times faster on average across the board

However, 3G was superior in two locations - Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus the latter location had no 4G signal at all despite walking around trying to find a connection.

EE has already got into trouble for misleading advertisements and the lack of signal in Piccadilly Circus is quite embarrassing as the firm has been plastering the words "Quickadilly Circus" on billboards across London.

Advertisement - Article continues below

In comparison, the 4G upload speeds were not only faster in all locations (with the exception of Piccadilly Circus), but more consistent. Upload speeds on 4G ranged between 0 - 21Mbps, which is considerably faster than 3G which offered a range of 0.66 - 2.34Mbps.

EE 3G vs 4G Upload speeds

4G upload speeds were 11 times faster across the board

Is it worth it?

At present, we'd have to say it's not quite worth upgrading to. Unless you live in an area with a strong 4G signal and need to download multimedia content regularly, it's not worth it at this time.

Another problem with 4G is the pricing. It's not cheap, especially if you want a decent allowance, say 8GB. A device, such as the iPhone 5, will cost 19.99 upfront when you sign up to a 24-month contract which costs 56 per month. Calls and texts are unlimited.

Verdict

Download speeds didn’t blow us away across the board, but to be fair to EE upload speeds are considerably faster and more consistent. We’re still not convinced that 4G is a necessity especially as prices are high. As more users are added to the network, speeds could slow down as well, so we'd recommend waiting until the other networks roll out the services.

Featured Resources

Report: The State of Software Security

This annual report explores important trends in software security

Download now

A fast guide to finding your cloud solution

One size doesn't fit all in the cloud, so how do you find the best option for your business?

Download now

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Small & Medium Business Trends Report

Insights from 2,000+ business owners and leaders worldwide

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/business-strategy/33311/apple-launches-new-tv-gaming-and-finance-services
Business strategy

Apple launches new TV, gaming and finance services

25 Mar 2019
Visit/business-operations/supply-chain-management-scm/354667/apple-closes-wuhan-store-in-anticipation-of
supply chain management (SCM)

Apple closes Wuhan store in anticipation of coronavirus infection

29 Jan 2020
Visit/business/business-strategy/354666/apple-reports-all-time-sales-records
Business strategy

Apple reports all-time sales records

29 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354509/apple-macbook-pro-16in-review-a-little-bigger-a-lot-better
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 16in review: A little bigger, a lot better

10 Jan 2020

Most Popular

Visit/mobile/28299/how-to-use-chromecast-without-wi-fi
Mobile

How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

5 Feb 2020
Visit/security/34616/the-top-ten-password-cracking-techniques-used-by-hackers
Security

The top ten password-cracking techniques used by hackers

10 Feb 2020
Visit/operating-systems/microsoft-windows/354739/windows-7-bug-blocks-users-from-shutting-down-their-pcs
Microsoft Windows

Windows 7 bug blocks users from shutting down their PCs

10 Feb 2020
Visit/hardware/354723/coronavirus-starts-to-take-its-toll-on-the-tech-industry
Hardware

Coronavirus starts to take its toll on the tech industry

6 Feb 2020