Remember holding up your Nokia to the ceiling to get better signal and it was just a normal thing? We like to think that mobile phone coverage on the whole has come a long way since then. And whilst it has, location is still a big factor many of us have to take into consideration when deciding which network we align ourselves to – and therefore which one gets our hard-earned cash. It won’t do to settle for regular appearances of GPRS/E symbols in our signal bar, and rightly so.
It’s devastating when we compare mobile phone deals and find the perfect plan, but don’t know whether we’ll get to reap all the benefits of that juicy data package. This guide provides the low-down on how great the major UK networks really are when it comes to coverage. And we’ll give you some handy tips too because, well, we’re great like that.
O2’s contracts are famously at the pricier end of the scale, but the network does provide excellent coverage with 99% of its users receiving 3G and 4G. They’re a tried and tested favourite, and also offer free WiFi from thousands of hotspots across the UK.
If you’ve already got a handset and love O2’s coverage, then consider switching to GiffGaff or Tesco Mobile for highly praised and cheap SIM-only deals, as these run off the O2 network.
Vodafone has both reliable and fast 4G and also offers global roaming. This means not getting charged those extortionate fees for using data while overseas. Comparatively, Vodafone’s coverage doesn’t quite match that of the other networks in rural areas, but they’re one of the best for metropolitan areas.
Talkmobile runs off the Vodafone network and offers cheap SIM-only deals.
Three may not have best 4G speeds but it’s a winner for 3G connectivity, and despite not having the best coverage of all our candidates its still a household favourite due to the network’s particularly good coverage in rural locations. It also includes multiple countries worldwide in its roaming service. Furthermore, it’s the only major network that has a truly unlimited data allowance. So, if Three provides solid coverage where you live then you really could be in streaming heaven.
For SIM-only deals, look for cheap plans on the SMARTY network.
Pretty much every major network now offers 3G and 4G coverage to 99% of their users, but EE has always been top of the charts for both population and geographical coverage. It’s also well in the lead for fastest download and upload speeds, which is probably because EE was the first network to launch 4G. Whatever mobile deal you go for, you’ll get fast internet and good coverage.
If you’re looking for a SIM-only deal, consider BT Mobile or Plusnet.
Overall, EE seems to steal the crown. However, other networks do supersede EE in certain areas so always conduct your research relative to your location, travelling habits and access needs.
It’s 2019. It’s pretty much a given that you should get 3G or 4G coverage as standard, unless you live in a truly remote and rural area. Remember that if you don’t get the coverage promised by your provider at the time of purchase then you do have grounds to cancel your contract early without having to pay the early termination fees. This is because they promised a service that isn’t being delivered.
If you’ve found the perfect mobile phone deal but on a network that won’t give you the best coverage in your area, call up the network. Competition is fierce and providers do risk losing custom, so investigate whether they plan to improve their service in your area, or even what other deals they can offer you.
If you have your own handset already, then your first move should be to look at other providers that run off the O2, Vodafone, Three and EE networks that provide cheap SIM-only deals and rolling contracts.