All of the largest UK mobile networks offer increasingly fast data rates and coverage reaching the vast majority of the population. This makes the best deal a bit harder, as there are enough bundles available to fit all data and calls.
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There's also a growing market beyond the big four, with some excellent value for money data packages, especially if you're already ready to go unlocked. Here's our overview of the largest mobile networks in the UK to help you decide which one is the best UK mobile network.
EE was the leading UK mobile service provider in the country's roll out 4G LTE networks and has since become the largest mobile network in the UK. It was acquired by the BT Group in January 2016 after a merger between Orange U.K. and T-Mobile UK in 2010, boasting a large retail store up and down the country. The company also has branching in home and mobile broadband as well as TV packages.
The carrier boasts 4G voice and data coverage over 90 percent of the UK's geography and over 99 percent of its population, giving it excellent coverage in and out of the country. EE also supports 4G Calling (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi calls for incoming calls. EE will also be the first UK mobile network to offer 5G plans when it starts its 5G rolling out from May 2019. EE tops it all with Swappable Benefits, including BT Sports access, and no cost for using your minutes, texts and data across the EU.
As well as contract options For the latest smartphones, EE offers Pay as you go and Only SIM packages for phones and tablets. The PAYG options roll every 30 days and range from £ 5 to £ 30 depending on your data and call needs. 12-month contracts give you more money, but are more expensive, from £ 13 a month for 250MB, unlimited texts and unlimited minutes, up to £ 27 for 50GB of data and unlimited texts and calls.
O2 is an older player among British cellular networks. Once known as Cellnet, the former BT group owner is the second largest network in the UK. It offers very fast 4G networks and has 99 percent of the population covered with its network.
O2 also offers unique suggestions to clients with its flexible rates for contract contracts that are cheaper and easier to upgrade early. But the carrier aims to distinguish himself with a bag of benefits for his clients. This includes priority access to O2-sponsored sites and events, discounts on a rotating variety of products, the tool O2 Guru service and free access to the 15,000 O2 Wi-Fi hotspots distributed around the country.
For data plans, O2 offers a variety of PAYG, monthly, international and tablet SIM options. PAYG starting at £ 10 for 2GB, 500 minutes and 5,000 texts and reaching up to £ 30 for 20GB, 5,000 minutes and 5,000 texts. Only SIM Contracts are offered in 12 or 1 month lengths, with prices ranging from £ 14 for 1GB, 1000 minutes and unlimited texts. The most expensive option costs £ 47 for 50GB data and unlimited calls and texts.
As the youngest of the largest networks, Three historically did not have the fastest or widest coverage. However, three have grown rapidly over the past year and offer some great benefits to some of its packages.
Three's Go Roam initiative enables clients to use call, text and data grants in more than 70 destinations across the globe, including non-EU countries, such as the US, Australia, Brazil and Singapore. Go Binge is similar to T-Mobile's Binge On in the US – it doesn't count a number of media streaming services against your data allowance. Services include Netflix, Apple Music, Snapchat, and more. The carrier also offers some of the cheapest PAYG rates in the UK, 3p per minute for calls, 2p per text and 1p for each MB data.
Three of the best value, no-nonsense deals for those seeking a contract with one of the four major infrastructure carriers. Three are unique among the largest networks in the UK, as it offers unlimited data plans on phone and SIM offers. three say Only SIM contracts start with just £ 10 for 4GB, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts. There is even a SIM. Only to deal with unlimited data for only £ 20, if you register 24 months.
Others is another of the legacy of the United Nations mobile networks and across Europe. It covers 99 percent of the population with a 4G LTE signal and seems primed to track the pack at 5G win big during Ofcom's first 5G spectrum auction.
With other worldwide roaming, customers can take their data, minutes and texts across the UK to more than 40 destinations (mostly in Europe) for everyone pay monthly plans. Others also offer subscribers to Amazon Prime Video, Spotify Premium, Now TV, or Sky Sports Mobile TV on selected contract deals.
Others offers a choice of Only SIM options on 12 month or 30 day plans, as well as a traditional one PAYG option with monthly roll-up. The twelve-month contracts start at £ 11 for 500MB, 500 minutes and unlimited texts, increasing up to 80GB of data at a cost of £ 42 per month. The standard PAYG options cost 20p per minute, text or 5MB data, and are limited to £ 1 per day. Alternatively, customers can record 30-day bundles starting from £ 5 for 100MB, 150 minutes and 250 texts, up to £ 30 for 20GB, 3000 minutes and unlimited texts.
The big four offers a competitive range of offers, a wide variety of latest mobile phones, instant access to the fastest and largest 4G coverage, and will soon offer a fast 5G data rate . However, the United Kingdom is also full of smaller virtual network operators who save on the same networks, but can still use collective bargaining power to work out cheaper transactions and more flexible packages.
We call all the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) here because there are just as many. Instead, these are the best virtual networks out there to look for if you want to buy for a perfect deal.
BT Mobile is one of the newer UK authorities and irrelevant piggybacks of the BT Group owned EE. One of the great draws of BT Mobile is unlimited access to the network's BT Wi-Fi hotspots spread across the country. BT Mobile also offers unique features Family SIM package, offering great discounts for multiple users, and all get their own separate data allowance.
Discounts are offered to BT TV, landline and broadband customers who save you £ 5 per month on monthly plans. If you're just looking for a SIM agreement, start the lowest cost option at £ 13 per month for 500 MB of data and unlimited calls and texts. The top level "Unlimited SIM plan" bumps up to 40 GB of 4G data for £ 40 a month, or you can grab a 3 SIM family plan on the same plan for £ 80 a month.
Virgin Mobile may have been the first MVNO network in the UK, but it was slow to offer its customers 4G LTE data. It's all changed in more recent years, as it benefited from the growth of EE to provide its mobile customers with a wide coverage network. Virgin has positioned itself as one of the more flexible carriers, allowing users to transfer their unused data and switch between packages every month. Facebook Messenger, Twitter and WhatsApp data also do not count against your data allowance. This may be considered if you are a productive GIF or video caller.
In terms of prices, the cheapest Only SIM Contract starts at only £ 7, offering 1,500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data. This prevents a plan with unlimited minutes, texts and data for £ 27 a month – though it's exclusive to Virgin Media broadband or TV customers.
GiffGaff is one of the most popular UK mobile carriers beyond the big four due to its flexibility and competitive prices. Only SIM plans. Unlike most other UK carriers, GiffGaff customers can cancel or switch between different payment plans each month or supplement their allowances in time.
4G LTE data plans start from as little as £ 6 for 500MB data, 300 call minutes and 500 texts. The top £ 20 package offers unlimited calls and texts, and always-on data with a 384 Kbps data cap to the first 20GB. Customers who want to buy new phones can buy other models either unlocked models or pre-paid or monthly payment options. The carrier is owned by O2 and piggybacks on its network.
Like GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile also runs on the O2 network, and is a popular British mobile choice for low cost 4G data packages. However, it offers more traditional 12-month fixed-term contracts. The cheapest Only SIM transactions start at £ 7.50 for 250MB, 250 minutes and 5000 SMS, spread over a 12 month contract. Data enthusiasts can opt for 30GB, 5000 minutes and 5000 texts for the most expensive £ 30 a month contract, with a variety of options in between.
The company also offers a range of the latest smartphones online and in stores with variable rates similar to O2. Clients also receive ClubCard points on their purchases and contracts, which can be useful if you are a regular supermarket buyer.
iD Mobile comes from the retail joker who is the Dixons Carphone group and runs on Three & # 39; s network. iD benefits of the popularity of high-street chain Carphone Warehouse offering only iD SIM plans and monthly handset contracts.
iD Mobile offers the cheapest SIM-only plan in the UK at just £ 3.99 for 500 MB of data, 150 minutes and unlimited texts. Customers after more data can choose the maximum 40GB transaction with unlimited minutes and texts. All iD Mobile sim contracts are 30 days rolling plans and leave you any unused data for the next month.
Another O2 MVNO, Sky Mobile is a relatively new name in the network space, but the name Sky will be no stranger to TV lovers in the UK. Sky Mobile plans take full advantage of the Sky TV connection, which offers unlimited streaming on all Sky programs. such as Sky Go and Sky Sports without using any data. Sky Mobile also has a neat Sky Piggybank system to keep any unused data for up to three years and offers flexible contract rates that can be changed at any time.
Sky Mobile SIM plans range from 2 GB and 25 GB of data with unlimited calls and texts. The virtual carrier also offers mobile and tablet offers.
Smarty has grown rapidly with its unique SIM plans that discount your bills if you don't use your data.
All Smarty plans have a £ 5 base line for unlimited calls and texts with the remaining data bundle cost. It's up to £ 15 for 8 GB data, but any data you don't use will get your next account for up to £ 10. In short, Smarty guarantees incredible value for money regardless of your use. There is even a fully unlimited £ 25 plan if you want to go all the way, although it does not have data discounts.
Smarty piggybacks on the Three Network and offer only 30 days of rolling contracts.
PlusNet is better known for its broadband, but its EE-based virtual mobile network has picked up a few awards. The carrier offers a smart cap system and simple bolt us, but its biggest advantage is guaranteed KLA client service call centers.
Existing PlusNet broadband subscribers get overall better deals, but new customers can still be up to £ 7 a month for 500 MB of data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts.
Voxi is a Vodafone owned, youth-focused virtual network that offers "endless" social program data. No matter what Voxi plan, you can use Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Pinterest, and Viber without ever eating in your data allowance. There is also additional success for endless streaming of music and video programs such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify for an extra cost.
All Voxi rate allowances can also be changed at any time, either at a phone or SIM. All plans also come with unlimited calls and texts. SIM-only pricing starts with £ 10 a month for 6GB data.
If you call abroad, your priority is then Lycamobile and Lebara are by far your best options. You can read more about both MVNO carriers in us U.K. international calling guide.
Hopefully, our overview of every major UN mobile network has helped you find the right package, but just in case, here's a quick overview of all the key plans and offers available.
This means it is for our overview of the best UK cell phone networks, along with some of the smaller options.
Which one do you use? Let us know in the comments!