13/03/2014 07:23 GMT | Updated 13/03/2014 07:59 GMT

The UK's Most Reliable Mobile Phone Networks 2014 Are...

The mobile network EE has been named the best in the UK in a study of the performance of phones as experienced by consumers.

Three took second place with an overall score of 73.5, followed by O2 (66.5) and Vodafone (52.4).

The report by network analysts RootMetrics found that the major networks provided "hugely varying" levels of service across the UK, with EE winning or tying for first place in every category and Three taking second place.

The company claims to have driven more than 23,000 miles across the UK and collected more than 840,000 samples - or one sample for every 100 mobile phone contracts in the UK.

It used off-the-shelf phones to take samples outdoors, during driving and at more than 1,000 indoor locations to assess how each network performed across mobile internet, call and text testing, as well as a summary of which network was the fastest and which was the most reliable.

RootMetrics concluded that EE's early rollout of 4G "paid big dividends", leading to the network taking the highest score for mobile internet, calls and texts and also finishing first in the reliability and speed categories, with an overall score of 84.6 out of 100.

RootMetrics chief executive and president Bill Moore said: "These results give UK consumers and businesses the most accurate view of mobile performance in the UK that has ever been made available.

"From nation to neighbourhood, people now have access to data showing them the best network in their area.

"No other study of this size and scale for mobile performance has ever been carried out before in the UK, and it has, for the first time, shown consumers the true services they are receiving from their network provider."

Vodafone UK, which the report claimed "trailed markedly" in the reliability results, disputes the findings.