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O2 EU Roaming versus, Vodafone, Three, Asda, BT and Tesco. Dublin 13th July 2017

Level 28: Ingenious
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As you know one of my bug bearers with O2 is currently there Roaming in the EU which we all know that they throttle.

On the 15th June 2017, EU made changes that all the EU networks had to offer cross roaming free of charge, so you can use your own allowance in one of the Roaming EU countries.


Now I wanted to give it a Month to settle in before I did any testing to ensure that every network was complaint and that all the issues were sorted out.


So, on the 13th July, I went on a day visit to Dublin with 2 of my friends and a few Devices / Sim cards from different UK networks to do some testing and obviously a bit of eating and drinking too.


Now the test was not totally about speed, but about what was on offer from each network and how they all compared.


I took the following with me

O2 Contract                        iPhone 7+ Cat 9 Device Capable of 450Mbps DL

O2 PAYG                            iPhone 6+ Cat 6 Device Capable of 300Mbps DL

Three Contract                    iPhone 6 Cat 4 Device Capable of 150Mbps DL

Vodafone Contract             WileyFox Swift 2 Cat 4 Capable of 150Mpbs DL (Dual Sim Phone)

Tesco PAYG                      Wileyfox Swift 2 Cat 4 Capable of 150Mbps DL (Dual Sim Phone)

BT Mobile Contract            Wileyfox Swift 1 Cat 4 Capable of 150Mbps DL (Dual Sim Phone)

Asda PAYG                       Wileyfox Swift 1 Cat 4 Capable of 150Mbps DL (Dual Sim Phone)



1st Test Manchester Airport Terminal 3 (7AM) (Main networks only tested)

O2 Contract        4G Signal              8.52Mbps Down, 7.19Mbps Up

Three Contact     3G Signal              Data did not work for 2 Hours being in airport

Vodafone            4G Signal              15.96Mbps Down, 10.44Mbps up

BT Mobile           4G Signal              4.81Mbps Down, 8.54Mbps up

Winner at Airport:                           Vodafone,           2nd O2 Contract



2nd Test Dublin Airport Terminal 1 (9AM) (Only had time to run Main Network Tests)

O2 Contract        3G Only                0.25Mbps Down, 0.30Mbps Up

Three                  3G Only                7.46Mbps Down, 1.07Mbps Up

Vodafone            3G                        6.07Mbps Down, 3.93Mbps Up

BT Mobile           3G                        3.16Mbps Down, 1.64 Up

Winner at Dublin Airport:                Three,                   2nd Vodafone



3rd Test Centre of Dublin O’Connell Street (10.30AM)

O2 Contract        3G Only                 0.49Mbps Down, 0.58Mbps Up

O2 PAYG            3G Only                1.84Mbps Down, 0.44Mbps Up

Three                  3G Only                7.46Mbps Down, 1.07Mbps Up

Vodafone            4G                        26.30Mbps Down, 11.01Mbps Up

Tesco PAYG      3G Only                 2.09Mbps Down, 1.12Mbps Up

BT Mobile           3G                         4.59Mbps Down, 1.21Mbps Up

Asda Mobile       3G                         3.89Mbps Down, 0.46Mbps Up

Winner on O’Connell Street:           Vodafone,          2nd Three



4Th Test was done in the ILAC Shopping Centre in Dublin Centre (12 Noon)

O2 Contract        3G Only                0.50Mbps Down, 0.49Mbps Up

O2 PAYG            3G Only                4.44Mbps Down, 1.43Mbps Up

Three                  3G Only                0.86Mbps Down, 0.41Mbps Up

Vodafone            4G                         43.73Mbps Down, 26.74Mbps Up

Tesco PAYG       3G Only                2.25Mbps Down, 0.83Mbps Up

BT Mobile           4G                         13.56Mbps Down, 23.91Mbps Up

Asda Mobile       4G                          26.68Mbps Down, 21.70Mbps Up

Winner in ILAN Centre:                   Vodafone,          2nd Place Asda



5th Test was done in Burger King Centre of Dublin (2.40PM)

O2 Contract        3G Only                0.51Mbps Down, 1.04Mbps Up

O2 PAYG            3G Only                0.91Mbps Down, 0.18Mbps Up

Three                  3G Only                7.41Mbps Down, 0.35Mbps Up

Vodafone            4G                        16.66Mbps Down, 14.45Mbps Up

Tesco PAYG      3G Only                5.65Mbps Down, 0.64Mbps Up

BT Mobile           3G                        19.05Mbps Down, 3.53Mbps Up

Asda Mobile       3G                         9.16Mbps Down, 0.27Mbps Up

Winner in ILAN Centre:                  BT Mobile (3G), 2nd Place Vodafone (4G)



6th Test was done on the River Bank in Dublin Centre. Only 3 Tests ran (4.20PM)

O2 Contract        3G Only                0.57Mbps Down, 0.42Mbps Up

Three                  3G Only                0.52Mbps Down, 0.29Mbps Up

Vodafone            4G                        121.07 Down, 26.95 Up

Winner:                Vodafone, I’m not even awarding a 2nd Place as no network deserved it.



7th Place Was done at International Banking Centre Dublin (5.40PM)

O2 Contract          3G Only                 0.58Mbps Down, 1.01Mbps Up

O2 PAYG              3G Only                6.76Mbps Down, 1.10Mbps Up

Three                    3G Only                0.30Mbps Down, 0.35Mbps Up

Vodafone              3G                         2.70Mbps Down, 3.03Mbps Up

Tesco PAYG        3G Only                 1.46Mbps Down, 0.96Mbps Up

BT Mobile             4G                         1.16Mbps Down, 10.40Mbps Up

Asda Mobile         3G                         1.82Mbps Down, 0.23Mbps Up

Winner Int Bank Centre:                      O2 PAYG,            2nd Place Vodafone



8th and Final Test Dublin Airport at Gate waiting to Board Aircraft (8PM)

O2 Contract         3G Only                0.57Mbps Down, 0.56Mbps Up

O2 PAYG             3G Only                3.90Mbps Down, 1.12Mbps Up

Three                    3G Only                0.42Mbps Down, 0.35Mbps Up

Vodafone              4G                         26.22Mbps Down, 2.95Mbps Up

Tesco PAYG        3G Only                 0.08Mbps Down, 0.54Mbps Up

BT Mobile             3G                         1.72Mbps Down, 0.34Mbps Up

Asda Mobile         3G                          0.23Mbps Down, 00.07Mbps Up

Winner in ILAN Centre:                      Vodafone,          2nd Place O2 PAYG Just





O2 Contract is throttled beyond believe. You could see the phone trying its hardest and on many occasions starting the speed test I was getting 10+ Mbps, however throttling kicked in and it went straight to 0.50 mostly. I’m appalled that it’s still throttled badly and its shocking that 4G is still not available. What I can tell you though is that 4G is trying to Activate on O2, but it forces your phone back to 3G. before it would say Network Failure, now it says Network Registered, but would revert to 3G. so O2 need to just put a tick in a box, unlock 4G please and also remove the blasting throttling that your killing us with. Also, O2 Contract is throttled, but not PAYG, what is wrong with O2.


O2 PAYG was not throttled as I could see and speeds varied over Dublin. The main problem is that it would not clamp onto 4G no matter how hard I tried, I was able to connect to Metor and Three, however there wasn’t much difference in them both, the phone would always revert back to Three as its preferred network.


Three Contract, Wow this was all over the place, no data in Manchester and although it didn’t look throttled in Dublin itself, speeds were very hit and miss. The main problem is that Three latches onto its home Three IE network and just doesn’t really let go, Three IE seems somewhat hit and miss and I think that most of the masts are just congested.


BT Mobile, put in a good performance but couldn’t clamp onto 4G much, which was the same as Asda Mobile. The main reason is there network of choice which again is Three IE. Data rates were all over the place. Lots of places were just congested, but no data restrictions were in place for what I could see


Asda Mobile were the same as BT Mobile. No restrictions but struggled on the preferred network which again was Three IE. Shame really as was impressed that a Supermarket PAYG got 4G overseas.


Tesco’s was just hampered with the lack of no 4G. It was never no clear winner, but there wasn’t a restriction in place which is good for a Supermarket Network.


Clear Winner has to be Vodafone. No matter how you look at it, it just won from the word go. It was pretty solid all over on 4G, just reverted to 3G in shops etc, but the 121Mbps download on 4G just shows that they have truly meant what they said and no restrictions at all. The choice of network was Vodafone IE which clearly showed that they have spent money in the network in the city and I’ve no doubt that If the sim card was in my iPhone 7+, the data would have been much higher


Position                UK Network           3G/4G in EU        EU Network used 

1st Place               Vodafone          (4G and 3G)     (Vodafone IE)

2nd Place              BT Mobile           (4G and 3G)      (Three IE and Metor)

3rd Place               Asda                   (4G and 3G)      (Three IE and Metor)

4th Place               O2 PAYG            (3G Only)          (Three IE and Metor)

5th Place               Three                  (3G Only)           (Three IE) (No Data in MCR Airport Data all over place)

6th Place               O2 Contract        (3G Only)           (Three IE and Metor) (Throttled)


I really do hope you enjoyed reading this. O2 Please please please, enable 4G roaming and stop Throttling, its making you look like cheap skates and bad as a network for over seas.

And what are you throttling only O2 Contract customers?

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Message 1 of 843
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Level 28: Ingenious
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Hi @madasaf1sh. Not a problem and totally understand.


i can also tell you that yep you are very correct in how Ireland work


so in Ireland o2-i.e. Became just 3

three in Ireland is known as 3-ie

metor is still known as metor

and Vodafone is Vodafone ie


if you search on your iphone you will see 






on android you get a little more like

3 2G and 3 3G

3-ie 2G 3G 4G

and same for metor and vodafone


vodafone will hand onto Vodafone i.e. With out issues


both BT mobile and Asda Mobile would initial attach to 3 before moving to 3-ie 4G or 3G. But on many occasion would go back to 3


o2 will not move of 3 which is the old o2 network as this is what is provisioned on the SIM card.


however I could find and connect to alternate networks just to try


so I was able to connect manual to Metor 3G, it would say Registered on 4G but would not connect and go back to Metor 3G


on 3-ie it would again stay on 3G and if you try 4G it would say register but stay on 4G


even though the sim says Registered in 4G, and stays on 3G mean the account doesn't have 4G provisioning but o2 has 4G in place just not granted on my account.


last year it would say failed Registration which means that 4G is not allowed at all.


the speeds are all the same however on Metor, 3-Ie and 3 (o2-ie)


also in center of Dublin on some street o2 contact and PAYG reverted back to three 2G or was known as O2 ie 2G.


my ow handset would not however stay on Vodafone, it just move back to 3 in Ireland.


hope the above helps.


i can tell though unless three decommission the old o2 sites there, the phone always attaches to the old o2 Irish network.


i went to Dublin early this year in Feb and both my iPhone and android still showed o2 Ireland as the network on display,  they have only just been updated when I went this time and now show 3 but not 3ie.


i go to Europe 4-5 times a year with Ireland 2-3 times as I love Dublin and always feel very welcome.  So for me it's a great tester of how things work on the networks etc.


i never ask for much,  just to be honest with us re speeds, if they say it's capped at 0.50Mbps then fine. At least we know. Then it's our choice to take it or leave it.  But my contract the new one is recently signed up for says I have 30Gb of data that I can use in Eu like I can at Home, same with unlimited SMS and mins.


but 12 hours in Dublin and I use 90 mb.


so if we work this out. 31 days at 180mb which is a 24 hour period.


180Mb x 31 = 5,580 Mb \ 1024 = 5.44GB. So there is no way I can use 30GB in EU even if my phone is on 24 hours all the time.



Vodafone on the other hand claim it's unhrottleded.  I used 4.79GB of data in 12 hours. No issues at all.


Also in o2 terms it now says you can connect to 2G,3G,4G networks while roaming. This was updated early June.  But you still can't connect. 


The KFI which is what they must tell consumers if they slow speeds down and for what reason does not mention throttling in EU or U.K.


it does however mentioned that speeds on o2 travel will be reduced after 50MB and some things will either be slower or not work.

Ireland is no longer part of o2 Travel and now just classed as EU roaming.


but the next thing was o2 PAYG who did not move or O2 IE or now just 3 in Ireland revised much faster speeds than me on all occasions and experience no throttling at all.  Tesco was the same, I never needed to look for another network as no throttling.  Tesco went through 450Mb of data at ease, o2 PAYG went through 270MB at ease.  No issues.  It's Just o2 contract that are and have been for a number of years throttled to the inch of its life.


If o2 doesn't want us to use all the data then cap it like three U.K. And EE have.  Even Tesco and O2 PAYG have.  But don't say use all your data then don't allow us to use it.


i know people may think stop moaning or just leave,  I really do love o2. I have no issues of the network in U.K., speeds are fine for me, I prefer a solid connection than full fast speed.  But when I have O2 4G it's always worked really well, struggles odd time in London train station and Birmingham Train station, but I sort of put up with that as I know networks get congested at times and there improving them all the time.  But it's just the roaming on O2 that is bang out of order especially for contract customers who pay a lot.


Just be fair and honest with customers, then the choice is ours. That's all I've ever asked.


any way me of my soap box now,  as you can see I've tried and covered everything.  Phones, new sims, different U.K. And EU networks.  Different times, months, years.  

Now not sure what else to do.


o2 are you listeningDestroy


oh and o2 travel removed, added, removed, added, removed etc.  Account checked and so on.


ive spoke to customer care and it's the same phrase what twitter and all o2 give 

" We are not responsible for the networks overseas"

" Speeds can vary when you are not connected to o2 UK "

" Have you tried another network? sorry we are not responsible for networks overseas "

" Sorry it's the network overseas "


god i I could write a book lol 👍😄

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Message 21 of 843

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Hi @darrengf,


Having had to untangle the mess that was the o2 ie sale to 3 (before we sold the business in Ireland), I think all 3 did was bin the o2/telefonica billing system and changed the masts to 3 and, and 3 years later as you confirmed it hasnt changed... 


In the centre of Dublin, their has always been a dearth of connectivity, not sure if its to do with the masts or just over capacity, as even local sims struggle sometimes, especially around Grafton Street and Temple Bar, and also down on O'Connell Street and Henry Street..


Will be interesting to see what happens in Germany this weekend, as that should latch onto o2-de


I totally agree, o2 cant advertise one thing then do another, its just not cricket, and if Vodafone can do it then o2 should be able to. 


I travel overseas a lot and roam way too much (doing between 20 and 30 trips a year) so I expect a decent service whilst overseas, hence my comments about having no issues using uber or maps whilst abroad both on my personal and work phone. 


I also wonder if their is a sim / network profile which is set on users, who roam a lot... just a thought,..



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Message 22 of 843

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@madasaf1sh I would def agree with All them streets, Vodafone unnoticed had put some new 4G masts panels up but I would say even I struggled to keep 4G in certain areas but 3G was more useable. Three ie it self did however struggle on occasions in shopping malls and shop, you could see the phone trying to hang on for dear life or no signal. 


Worse place for speed was was the International Banking Center and round the theee arena which was a puzzle. As I would have thought there would be more masts than ever near the Arena. 


Google Maps loads eventually just takes ages and so does apple maps. Anything preinstalled is fine like Tomtom. 

Dublin airport was mixed bags with speed, but again Vodafone was the winner, but picking up 4G wasn't great. 


One thing i did notice that in Feb at Manchester Airport in terminal 3 there was hardly any 3G and 4G signal. And it failed on many occasions to load pages. But this time 4G and 3G was all over, not super fast speeds but loaded fine. But three would fail on everything and my friend had to use the free wifi which wasn't brill either and failing over and over again. And u only get 1 hour. Not like Dublin airport which is fast and free.


let us know how I get on etc. But I also do agree with you regarding profiling in accounts. Makes you wonder doesn't it. What we can't see doesn't hurt us. Mmmmm

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Message 23 of 843

Level 28: Ingenious
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Hello all.  I just wanted to give you a update on what's been happening regarding this


So I've had a new reply from o2 Exectuive Relations.


So the excuse I've had is the following


Lots of people using data at the same time can slow things down for everyone.

This slow down could be due to local European network imposing traffic shaping or throttling to protect the service to keep things fair for everyone and we may impose similar controls for the same reasons.


We are aware that some EU networks have become congested due to the increase  in users and useage.


Weve done our own tests and found that our speeds are significantly faster than my speeds.


We believe the service we provide is useable to all customers.


We also don't offer any 4G roaming at present and out customers can use iMessage, Whatsapp and other apps over 3G.



Now I've responded to this with a few words and given yet again full explanations and why is PAYG customers getting faster speeds than contract customers.  Becuase of cost etc.


I will wait a new update and let you all no.


but let's just say that the response was the standard utter rubbish and thinking that I'm clueless and I don't know what I'm talking about + hoping I will go away is what I've got.


all I want is the truth, nothing else.





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Message 24 of 843

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Typical corporate BS.
I've just come back from Slovakia where I had full bars of 4g and excellent speeds on my EE work sim so I'll most likely be switching my personal account shortly too.
I'm off to France next week when I will have a bit more time than I did this week so I'll do some speed tests to compare with yours.
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Message 25 of 843

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What an absolute cop out! So discounting your outstanding extensive research, everyone else on here is mistaken, lying, standing downwind or didn't go on the same dates as the intrepid O2 researchers with signal boosters strapped to their heads! 

Message 26 of 843

Level 28: Ingenious
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Yep. Everything that I've said and done is utter rubbish.


ive now asked for my full account to be investigated as if what she is saying. I must have restrictions on my account. 


Ive told her that everyone on the forum and twitter must also be lying and that all customers must be restricted.


ive asked for what phones did they use, when and where, what networks and how it was tested.


i told the. That 15 networks in 6 different EI countries must be so very clever to know what o2 PAYG and O2 customers are which if they do o2 are in breach of sharing my data,  EU networks in 6 countries must be so badly congested that they must be getting problems galore. 


The he response was utter rubbish,  I just want the truth, nothing else.  If we're restricted tell us.  That's all we keep asking.


so I will let you know the next step when I know it.


the saga continues.  I wonder if the papers are interest in this story lol.


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Message 27 of 843

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I have complained more than once to o2 about throttling - they claimed more than once that there was none but that networks abroad are perhaps doing it.


When - while paying the 1.99 a day as we were -it takes 4 hours and 40 tries to upload ONE IMAGE to Facebook, I decided not to travel again without finding a better option.


your testing shows clearly the service is not up to scratch


I have been with o2 since 2000 but this one might be what pushes me over the edge. I have been very happy with the quality of my calls though, and I hear so many others complain. But the cost of international calls from the UK (compared to others) and the fact that internet is not usable abroad... might be time to risk it.

Message 28 of 843

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Just to complete my post, as @darrengf and @madasaf1sh I wonder if there is either a plan or customer "profiling" going on. That, or legacy configuration issues.

I haven't actually changed my plan for years and years.

I have been using internet roaming back when you paid per Mb, then with the daily fee. Mostly in Europe.

It used to be better - I know in part it might be because we didn't expect as much back then, but I was able to upload a photo to, say, facebook or twitter back in 2012.

Recently in Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and Germany it has been so slow I often cannot get new tweets on my twitter app, send an email or upload a simple photo without it timing out in the end. It doesn't matter what network.

When I called to complain I asked if it might be deliberate as my plan is so old they dont want to support it, but they assured me there was no such thing...

But there has to be something wrong, deliberatly or by mistake, either in the deals they have with roaming partners or in their configuration...

What tool did you use for network speed test?
Message 29 of 843

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Hi @alpine ive been to EU on old tariffs and now I'm on a brand new one as I recently signed up again,  so tariffs make difference from what I can see.


i use Speedtest app, which is extensively used all over everywhere and is a full reliable app.


hope this helps. 

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Message 30 of 843