The last couple of weeks have seen highs and lows for the UK’s biggest 4G network, EE. Having been named best British mobile operator by RootMetrics, it then suffered a long network outage, leaving their customers angry and frustrated.
According to a RootMetrics six month study into the UK’s mobile networks, the RootMetrics UK Mobile Network Performance Review, EE’s 4G network comes out top in all categories. “With its early rollout of 4G, EE has established itself as the UK’s benchmark. EE swept all of our UK level awards. The other networks simply couldn’t keep up with EE in our look at performance across the UK.”
As part of the study, each mobile network operator was rated out of 100 in a range of categories including overall performance, call performance, text performance, mobile internet, network reliability, and network speed. After conducting over 840,000 checks, RootMetrics stated that EE led the way in every category.
Olaf Swntee, CEO of EE, was clearly delighted with the results of the study and said “Today’s results show that the EE network gives customers everywhere in the UK the best mobile experience. This is down to our ongoing investment in introducing 4G, increasing 3G capacity and upgrading 2G, while also spending hundreds of millions on phone call quality. We encourage the most rigorous independent testing of mobile networks in the UK, and strive to set new standards in performance and reliability.”
Unfortunately these assertions and the results of the study will be of little consolation to the EE customers who were unable to make calls, send text messages, or enjoy 4G for mobile internet during EE’s subsequent outage last week. The network went down at around 19:30 on Wednesday 19th March and many EE customers were unable to reconnect until the network systems were reset at 05:00 the following day.
EE has apologised for the outage and has blamed it on technical issues, or ‘gremlins in the system’ but the problems have led to a tirade of criticism on web forums and social media sites, with calls for EE to provide their customers with some form of compensation. The picture of a gremlin posted on EE’s Twitter account seems to have been an attempt to keep the situation light-hearted, but the EE customers affected didn’t seem to see the funny side.
It is still unclear how extensive the outage was. The downdetector website identified problems in major cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and Glasgow, and from the reaction of EE customers the problem seems to have been nationwide. However EE asserted that only a small number of customers were affected, saying:
“Last night’s technical issue that caused a small proportion of our customers to experience problems with their signal has been resolved and all customers are now receiving a normal service. We apologise for the inconvenience caused to those customers affected.”
Hopefully the cause of the problems has now been identified so that EE customers can continue to enjoy 4G connectivity on what is still seen to be the UK’s leading mobile network.