Which Provider has the best Mobile Phone Coverage?
26 Apr 2016
The 4G marketplace in the UK is now extremely competitive. After a slow launch, there are now seven different companies that offer 4G services to their customers. Comparing the different deals can be challenging, with contract lengths, data allowances and network coverage varying wildly between suppliers and even between products from the same provider. The increased competition is great news for consumers, as the mobile phone companies want your custom, so they are hotly competing with one another. Here is the low-down on the options:
Best 4G Coverage: EEEE were the first company to introduce 4G to the UK, and as they were made up of two already large operators it is unsurprising that their 4G coverage is the most comprehensive on the market. They even offer a faster service dubbed “4G Extra” in some areas, and they offer 4G on their pay-as-you-go plans as well as for those tied into a monthly contract.
Best of the RestThere are plenty more options available if EE is not right for you. If their prices or coverage do not meet your needs, it is worth shopping around and using the coverage checker of the other networks to make sure your home and workplace are covered.
VodafoneVodafone, along with O2, are one of the elders of the mobile market in the UK, but they have been slower than some of their newer competitors to introduce 4G. Large areas of the country are still only able to connect at 3G speeds and their 4G offering is one of the more expensive options.
O2E were first to market with 4G but, along with Vodafone, O2 were part of the second roll-out. Their coverage is improving rapidly as they convert their infrastructure to support the high speeds of 4G, and their reputation for customer service is second-to-none, but they lag behind market leader EE in most respects when it comes to ultra-fast mobile data.
Tesco MobileThe UK’s biggest supermarket chain have their fingers in many pies, and their mobile collaboration with O2 is one of their most successful ventures outside of retail. The service piggybacks onto O2’s network, so shares many of the pitfalls of their lower coverage, but unlike most operators Tesco Mobile offer 4G at no extra cost over their 3G plans - making it an extremely attractive proposition to those who are put off by adding extra costs to their mobile bills.
giffgaffAnother “virtual network” running on O2’s infrastructure, giffgaff area late entry to the 4G party, having launched their service in June 2014 following a lengthy testing period. Their prices are amongst the most competitive on the market, and they offer a convenient half-way house between traditional pay-as-you-go and monthly contracts with their ‘Goodybags’. These packages of calls, texts and data last 30 days with no commitment so it is as easy to switch away as it is to join the network.
BT MobileBT Mobile is a partnership between the telephone giant and EE. Their SIM plans are limited, but their cheaper prices and the benefit of EE’s coverage is making them an increasingly popular choice.
ThreeThree are the only mobile phone provider in the UK to offer truly unlimited data on their “All You Can Eat” plans. Although pricey, they offer the only uncapped 4G speed mobile internet on the market. Their other 4G deals are the same price as their 3G deals, so tempting for customers who have recently upgraded to a suitable phone but remain unconvinced by the newer technology offered by 4G.
iDA new provider from the Carphone Warehouse, and sharing a network with Three, iD offer a selection of ultra-affordable SIM-only and pay monthly deals. Their unique selling point is that their ‘shock proof’ tariffs offer the convenience of a monthly contract but with a built in cap to avoid overspending. 4G is a direct response to the massive growth of mobile internet. With customers grabbing more and more rich content on their mobiles, the demand for faster data connections has grown exponentially. 4G offers speeds of up to seven times faster than the previous fastest connection, 3G. This makes downloading apps and streaming music and video much faster and smoother. To use 4G, you will have to make sure your mobile phone supports the new standard. If you have been with your network for a while you may also need a new SIM card before you can take advantage of the increased speeds, and you will - of course - have to be in an area with adequate 4G coverage.
Shop around, and make sure you choose a provider with the right mixture and balance of price, contract length, data allowance and included call minutes and text messages.