EE calls out the other UK MNOs over 5G claims

BT’s consumer head Marc Allera reckons his rivals are stretching the truth with their 5G claims.

Allera made his allegations in a blog post timed to coincide with the announcement that EE has switched on 5G in a few more towns. If his strategy was to improve the press coverage of an otherwise boring announcement then he has succeeded. Happy though we are for the residents of Leamington Spa and Halifax that they can now access EE 5G, that alone would not normally be considered sufficiently newsworthy to trouble our discerning audience with.

But now it’s personal. While he didn’t name them, Allera criticised some of the 5G claims of three different UK rivals, which must mean Vodafone, O2 and Three. “For example, test results suggest that one rival’s network, which currently purports to have the highest number of 5G locations in the UK, actually has coverage levels lower than EE’s in many of those,” blogged Allera.

“Another rival, which recently claimed the best 5G in London, was quoting the results of a report that tested mainly only where they had strong signal, rather than capturing the wider area,” he continued. Or take a third rival, that claims to be the ‘best network’ before telling you, in the small print, it’s actually an award for customer service.”

Like the marketing veteran he is, Allera embellished this fighting talk with cherry-picked factoids that paint EE in the best possible light. If they chose to, one or all of EE’s rivals could presumably play the same game and pick holes in Allera’s claims. After all, it’s not like he’s entirely innocent of 5G hyperbole himself.

Still, at least EE’s coverage checker supports the latest claims. The same can’t be said of O2, which also issued a new 5G location press release today. “New locations include Bournemouth, Cheltenham, Doncaster and Southampton,” declared the release, but O2’s own coverage checker doesn’t seem to have got the memo. Here are some screenshots.

They’ll presumably get around to updating it soon, but that’s still a bit of a schoolboy error. While it’s always fun when corporations pick fights with each other, this sort of thing does also serve a less trivial purpose. The whole point of competition is that it makes everyone raise their game and maybe UK MNOs will be a bit more careful with their marketing claims from now on.

It hopefully goes without saying that if any telcos ever feel inclined to publicly call out their competitors for any reason, would be delighted to get involved.

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  1. Avatar John Smith 14/01/2021 @ 3:17 pm

    Just the usual BT hypocrisy…. who was that company that perpetually called its VDSL (over Copper) services “Fibre Broadband”?

    • Avatar Ian 16/01/2021 @ 12:21 pm

      Technically correct. Fibre/Broadband. Fibre to the cab, broadband last mile. True fibre (ONT in home) is actually single-band (160nm wavelengths), so the pitch sale of fibre broadband is a gimmick, unless vDSL is last mile (or DOCSIS). 3G>5G is also broadband.

  2. Avatar Michael V 14/01/2021 @ 7:30 pm

    EE feeling threatened ‘cos Three’s 5G Network is faster than theirs. Report by!

    Three has more 5G coverage than their map shows.
    I’m seeing it around Cardiff.

    Vodafone claimed coverage that isn’t far off EE’s either.

    He’s picking at silly things.
    Over all, all four MNOs have done well with speeds & coverage

  3. Avatar Chris 15/01/2021 @ 1:54 pm

    I’ve got 5g coverage with three where the maps show I shouldn’t. Go figure ee !

  4. Avatar Keith 15/01/2021 @ 2:19 pm

    Older observers will have seen these claims and trends before from BT; moving in on the a market, hiking prices, under investing, under delivering, selling up and moving on.

  5. Avatar mark lawrence 15/01/2021 @ 10:44 pm

    Still waiting for 5G in Margate Kent ct9 been told be another 2 years because of the Huawei problem due to the UK government involved not to use there 5g equipment.

  6. Avatar Zak Moore 15/01/2021 @ 11:14 pm

    Just saying , im with EE and there 5g is slower than 4g almost not usable, nearly dial up speed eg. Shit

  7. Avatar how hi ho 16/01/2021 @ 1:24 am

    Storm in a tea cup. Third rate 5G for all uk

  8. Avatar Ashley Scott 17/01/2021 @ 1:15 pm

    I have 5G on O2 where either shows I shouldn’t ( after switching my second sim only from EE ) and also on Vodafone ( through O2 ) in Hull, where coincidentally, I left EE because of their outlandish claims of excellent service in areas where it often dropped to H+/3G as well as completely rude customer service ? I have also tested Three several times, it is isn’t persistent in it’s speeds but Three is the Network on which i have achieved the fastest speeds, 706mbps DL 102mbps UL ( Ookla Speedtest ) although it’s 4G is terribly slow. Vodafone is fastest 4G with 248mbps DL 71mbps UL. This is in Hull and are all uploaded to YouTube under title basic 5G or 4G speed test along with individual Network name.

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