EE and Vodafone clash over RootMetrics network test

EE and Vodafone clash over RootMetrics network test

EE is defending RootMetrics after Vodafone questioned the impartiality of its latest mobile performance study.

The UK-wide test was carried out by the mobile analytics firm over the six-month period covering H2 2013, using over 840,000 test samples. EE topped the poll by some margin, with Vodafone coming last in almost every category that included call, mobile internet, text and reliability performance.

The study was subject to scathing criticism by Vodafone, but EE came out in defence of RootMetrics. An EE spokesperson said: ‘Independent tests are, by their very nature, independent. This means that no operator knows where tests are being carried out or when, or influences methodology or results. All operators can purchase the test results – though some choose not to.’

EE did confirm that it does have a commercial relationship with RootMetrics, a status not shared by operator rivals O2, Vodafone and Three. However, Mobile understands the basis of the relationship is an ad claims model, which allows EE to use results from RootMetrics tests as substantiation for advertising.

The UK’s largest operator also purchases underlying data from RootMetrics reports to ‘identify areas to improve network experience’, although the relationship is not exclusive and can be had by other network operators.

When the data was released last week, a Vodafone spokesperson said: ‘We’d love to give a fully detailed response [to the report], but believe the way RootMetrics carried out its testing does not appear to follow industry standard practices or is fully impartial, while it also incorporates data some of which may be well over six months old. The evidence we have seen of how RootMetrics conducted some of its tests leads us to believe that they were being carried out in an inconsistent manner.

‘We cannot take this report seriously and neither should our customers.’

RootMetrics countered that its testing was ‘completely independent’ and that ‘all major mobile operators have the option to purchase data’.

O2 and Three also highlighted that the study took place during the infancy of their 4G rollouts. Another bone of contention was the handsets used to test the networks. Mobile understands that the Three, Vodafone and EE networks were monitored using a Samsung Galaxy S4, while O2’s network was tested using a Sony Xperia Z1.

Ofcom will be undertaking a similar study during 2014, and the watchdog said it was ‘currently reviewing the findings’ from the RootMetrics report. A spokesperson said: ‘We are working with mobile

operators to improve the information we make available to consumers on coverage levels, network performance and quality of service.’

A RootMetrics spokesperson added: ‘Our goal is to improve the quality of the consumer’s mobile experience. We make our information available to the public and the industry, including public bodies and regulators, such as Ofcom. We have always done so and believe in a high degree of transparency across everything we do.’

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