A new survey by mobile analytics firm RootMetrics has described mobile internet performance in the UK as “a two-horse race,” with EE and 3 enjoying a clear lead over rivals O2 and Vodafone.

The firm gave EE a so-called Rootscore of 85.5 ahead of 3 (82.7), O2 (68.1) and Vodafone (67.0).

EE also headed the overall category with a Rootscore of 88.1 followed by 3 again (84.3). However, the gap to O2 (78.6) and Vodafone (77.8) was less pronounced. The same running order persisted in the call and text categories too.

The Rootscore is the firm’s own methodology, which it describes as being guided by two principles: Testing mobile network performance from a consumer’s point of view, and providing “objective, accurate, and unbiased assessments of performance in helpful and easy-to-understand terms”.

The same firm also supplied the numbers behind last week’s Ofcom survey which cast a favourable light on EE’s network performance, although it used standard measures such as call completion.

“Today’s results, along with last week’s report from Ofcom, show that EE is providing the best mobile experience to businesses and consumers across the UK,” said EE CEO Olaf Swantee.

He added that EE had reduced its dropped call rate to less than 0.5 per cent and is rolling out LTE-Advanced technology, to further improve its call and data experience.

Mobile World Live contacted Vodafone for its thoughts on the data. Earlier this year the operator slammed RootMetrics’ previous report (released in March 2014), stating it could not “take the results of this report seriously and neither should our customers”.

This time its response was focused more on the merits of its network rather than any perceived shortcomings of RootMetrics’ research.

“Regular independent testing of our network shows that our customers are experiencing a significantly improving network every day due to our massive ongoing investment,” it said.

RootMetrics said its tests involved driving “more than 25,000 miles”, as well as tests at more than 1,200 indoor locations. The latter figure was a 20 per cent increase over the previous study conducted in the second half of 2013, it said.