• Coinciding with more people work from home over the coming months, Global Wireless Solutions reveals best performing cities for mobile business usage
  • Northern Powerhouse Liverpool tops the list for mobile businesses connectivity with Dumfries, Leeds and Durham at the bottom
  • Research and testing of British mobile networks reveals that operators are meeting customer expectations on mobile network speed over 96% of the time, yet, on the downside, not having great coverage is impacting business productivity

 London, 3 April 2020: Leading mobile network benchmarking firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) has today released the results of its latest major study into real-life business experiences of mobile network performance. The study involved GWS engineers collecting close to one million data and voice task tests on iOS and Android devices in Q4 2019, alongside nationwide business research polling in early 2020 of over 200 businesses ranging from 100 employees to over 5,000 through Vanson Bourne.

The findings shed light on some of the country’s best cities for mobile business usage, with Liverpool scoring top, and Cardiff and Bristol also among those performing well within the top 10, according to GWS’ Business OneScore (see fig 1.). The GWS Business OneScore evaluation process measures overall network performance taking into consideration voice, data, video, coverage, and reliability metrics based on what’s important to businesses.

Operators hitting the sweet spot for business network speeds

GWS research shows that businesses around the country are in the ‘sweet spot’ for speed 96% of the time as mobile networks are enabling consumers to complete various online activities between 4 and 6 seconds. According to the research, 75% of businesses agreed that this was an acceptable length of time to wait to complete activities such as loading news and other websites. In addition, when asked about regular complaints about mobile network performance, only 18% of businesses cited speed as a common complaint.

Improving reliability critical for better remote working options

However, whilst the test has revealed good news for businesses in some towns and cities, as well as good news for speeds around the country, businesses in other major metropolitan areas such as London, Newcastle, Reading and Leeds are being let down. Despite being home to over a third of businesses in the country, 1 London is among the worst performing cities for mobile business connectivity, scoring 25th which is not good news for those working remotely in and around the capital.

According to the research, over 1 in 2 (52%) businesses cited the need for more reliable connectivity to enable more employees to work from home. In some cases, this sub-par coverage is said to negatively impact the output of employees, with three quarters (75%) of businesses claiming that as a result of their organisation not receiving excellent mobile coverage, employee productivity suffers.

With remote working heavily reliant on mobile communication, it’s no surprise that 45% of businesses consider having reliable and adequate connectivity to enable more employees to work from home, as a priority for mobile telecoms over the next 12 months. Even before the recent surge in demand on networks brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, improving coverage and reliability has been the top area for UK operators to work on according to businesses, as 39% of the businesses surveyed said their employees have complained about mobile network coverage, closely followed by dropped calls (28%). In addition, 53% of businesses said they would like to see more consistent voice call accessibility and quality from their operator.

Despite the popularity of emailing, calling remains one of the most important mobile phone functions in a business capacity, with 77% of businesses making and receiving traditional phone calls daily. In fact, phone calls are more commonly used in business for every-day communications with clients and customers than any other method including emailing, texting and even-face-to-face. The importance of voice was further highlighted as voice quality, calls connecting, and network coverage reflect the top three most important network performance considerations to businesses.

Dr. Paul Carter, CEO of GWS commented: “Networks play a critical role in enabling businesses to function both inside and outside of the office, and over the last few weeks it’s clear that operators are really helping to keep the country going. Whilst it’s encouraging to see many cities across the country performing well when we tested before the current crisis, in today’s current economic climate, the ability for businesses everywhere to function effectively remotely is more important than ever before. The business world we know has changed dramatically over the last few weeks, and those businesses who were not already offering remote working options have been forced to do so. It’s therefore crucial that operators understand how businesses are using – and want to use – their network so they can provide services that meet their needs. Operators must focus on not only on ensuring their network speeds remain adequate but also on ensuring consistent reliability across the country. That way, businesses will be able to continue to offer remote seamless working solutions without compromising on productivity.”


Figure 1. GWS Business OneScore Rankings


MarketBusiness OneScore™ Rank


Methodology and notes to editors

GWS conducted this series of tests to evaluate mobile network performance across Britain. A total of 936,249 data and voice task tests were conducted from October through December 2019 to evaluate the network performance of EE, O2, Three and Vodafone in 33 major cities and towns. The tests were conducted using the GWS OneMeasure App running on iPhone devices, Rohde & Schwarz’s Freerider SW using Samsung Galaxy devices, and the GWS Mobistat data evaluation and reporting platform.

GWS conducted its broader quantitative business survey with Vanson Bourne. Total sample size was 200 businesses. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th January and the 11th February 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK businesses.

  1. BEIS, Business Population Estimates, 2019


About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.

Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. defines the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers standardised, high-quality network data and engineering analysis through a suite of benchmarking products, services, and OneMeasure diagnostic apps that includes drive, venue, and in-building testing. Founded in 1996, GWS is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. At last count, GWS has driven over 13 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit www.gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.

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