3G vs 4G Speed Test On EE

4G and 3G Comparison

3G Compared To 4G

4G promises some major speed improvements over the ageing 3G network. With theoretical speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) we want to know how fast EE's 4G network will actually be.

Tests at the launch event recorded up to 35Mbps on the new range of 4G EE phones showing that even in a room where hundreds of journalists were all testing out the speeds, the network was capable of delivering super fast internet. 

4G vs 3G - Download Speeds

Existing 3G phones are still able to browse the internet fairly quickly but the difference is immediately noticeable. An average of a number of tests in London after the launch event show that you can expect about nine times faster download speeds. That means streaming videos on YouTube in high quality is seamless, iPlayer plays back incredibly smoothly and surfing the web feels as fast as if you were on a home broadband connection. 

By contrast the UK's average 3G download speed is 2Mbps. This isn't fast enough for the next generation of mobile apps and online games so if you're the kind of person who likes to be ready for the future, then a 4G phone from EE is the way forward.

With a theoretical top speed of just 7.2Mbps, 3G is showing its age as a wireless technology. The theoretical download speed of 4G LTE is around 300Mbps. Although you're unlikely to ever achieve such speeds it does show the fundamental speed difference between basic 3G and the futuristic 4G LTE.

4G is definitely the winner here as even relatively large apps and games download in seconds. The new game Bad Piggies is a sizeable 40MB download and it was merely seconds from starting the download to actually being able to play it.

4G vs 3G - Upload Speeds

4G upload speeds were shown off at the launch event hitting over 12Mbps. After the event, tests in London have shown a Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE hitting 16.73Mbps upload speeds. 

What all this means in practice is that when you take high resolution pictures on your smartphone's 8 megapixel camera it won't take anywhere near as long to upload to Facebook or Instagram. The Nokia Lumias come with extra cloud storage that you can set to continually sync with your online store. Rather than clogging up your bandwith for minutes on end while it updates, 4G means that even the most basic and boring tasks are so much faster with 4GEE smartphone. 

3G upload speeds languish between 1-2Mbps. Posting to Facebook, sending emails and uploading any content to the internet will almost always take longer over 3G. Why bother with slow internet when you can get a 4GEE tariff to take you into the future of the internet.

EE iPhone 5 4G Speed

iPhone 5 has been shown running at download speeds of up to 47.44Mbps at the EE iPhone 5 preview event. Already a pretty fast performing phone, the iPhone 5 on EE shows Apple's products at their finest.

Average 4G Speeds

EE has said that customers can expect average download speeds of 8-12Mbps and the peak average will be more like 15-20Mbps. The best thing to note is that it has better coverage per mast than the existing 3G network. This means you don't have to be directly under a mast to get the best speeds as all of that fantastic 4GEE coverage will carry further.

There's obvious variation between handsets and the locations of the tests but all of these phones manage to pack some serious pace under the bonnet. Take your pick of our fantastic 4G phones to take advantage of these high speed handsets.

What about Three Ultrafast?

Three's 3.9G Ultrafast network confuses the picture slightly. It's significantly faster than traditional 3G, with a theoretical maximum speed of 42Mbps. That's no where near the 300Mbps max of EE 4G, but real-life average download speeds are around the 13Mbps mark (on a par with 4GEE). EE are about to double their speeds in a select few cities, so the gap will increase - but that's only where it's available. Ultrafast still covers a much larger area of the UK (around 80% compared to 55%), so Three are likely to remain the best bang-for-buck option for some time yet.

Compare 4G to 3G


Frequently Asked

  • What is EE?
    EE is the UK's first 4G network, offering you a range of top end smartphones and 4G WiFi dongles on the fastest network in the country.

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