There are many mobile operators that offer 4G services. The three carriers accredited by consumers that have the best network services are EE (Everything Everywhere), O2 and Three mobile carrier. These three carriers not only have reliable 4G and 3G services but have also a wide spread coverage in the whole of the UK.
This is the largest mobile network in the UK that incorporates T-Mobile and Orange networks. EE was the first mobile operator to carry the 4G network and up to date have the widest coverage in the UK and their average internet download speeds rival fixed lines. Some of the merits of using EE are:
- Coverage. EE was the leading company to roll out 4G network in 2012. It’s estimated that more than 500 cities and towns have access to their 4G services. They have targets of having 98% network coverage before December 2015. This means that their customers will soon be able to access their services from anywhere in the UK.
- Quick internet speeds. EE has average internet speeds of 18.4 mbps. This is quicker than the average UK speeds of 15.1mbps and is among the top 4 fastest 4G internet providers, the others being Vodafone, Three and O2. When the mobile carriers offers such fast speeds the consumer is able to perform data intensive tasks like seamlessly streaming videos on their devices.
- All contracts come with unlimited texts. EE charges 12p for every text message but with every monthly package and SIM only options the carrier will offer you free unlimited texts.
- Contracts are shareable. It’s possible to have multiple users on the same carrier to have one monthly bill.
- Tethering. EE allows its users to be able to share their data with other devices. For example, it’s possible to share internet from your phone to your laptop and there is no limit on the data shared.
Some of the negatives of EE:
- Availability. Although they have a roll out plan to service the whole of the UK there are still some places that don’t have access to 4G.
- No Unlimited data plans. While EE is the fastest mobile provider for 4G it places a limit as to how much data you can utilize. For example there is a SIM package that limits 25GB worth of data per month.
- Poor customer satisfaction. In 2014 the average customer satisfaction rating was only 68 % (the average customer satisfaction in the UK is 73%).
- Uncompetitive pricing. EE is one of the most expensive mobile operator in the UK. They were expensive because they had the monopoly with 4G but now that other carriers have this services, they still haven’t reduced their prices.
- Lack of extra addons. There is not much choice when it comes to additional services and complimentary products offered. With items like covers and phone accessories in general, customers have to often go elsewhere to satisfy their needs.
Three mobile network launched its 4G services in 2013, a year later than EE. It has a small market share of the mobile service providers (12%). Some of the benefits by picking Three mobile carrier over other mobile operators are:
- There is no limit on tethering and data. The fact that they have such a small market share of the mobile industry has forced them to be very competitive. One way they do this is by offering both unlimited data and tethering.
- Similar pricing for 4G and 3G. Upgrading to 4G will be free of charge provided the device supports these services.
- Alerts. The mobile carrier alerts its customers when they are low on data or minutes. The user won’t unnecessarily accrue extra bills without their knowledge.
- Free roaming. It’s possible to use your devices in 16 specific countries without roaming charges.
- Free charges in certain areas of London. In the underground stations visitors are allowed free internet usage. This is possible due to partnership with virgin mobile.
Here are some of the disadvantages:
- 4G coverage is limited. There aren’t many towns that have access to 4G, only the major cities such as London have 4G coverage.
- Slow internet speeds. Compared to their rivals Three has an average internet speeds of 5.2mbps and 10.7mbps for 3G and 4G respectively.
- Bandwidth throttling. During peak hours of 3pm and midnight data is policed so that activities such video streaming are highly prioritized whilst file sharing services are slowed down so that there won’t be any congestion on the network.
- Poor customer satisfaction. They have a customer satisfaction rating of 70% compared to the industry standard of 73%.
- 24 month contracts. With every new purchase of a mobile phone, Three ties their customers to 2 year contracts.
O2 Mobile Operator
O2 formerly known as BT Cellnet is one of the four major 4G carriers. They only offer 24 month contracts for their mobile devices. They have a service known as O2 priority, this services allow its customers to be able to use loyalty schemes to purchase other services at a considerable discount. For example customers can buy cheap tickets for entertainment events. Other benefits include:
- Excellent 4G coverage. As of now half of the UK population have access to O2 4G coverage. They are able to quickly load videos on the internet. Signal strength greatly depends on the specific area.
- Tethering is free. It’s completely free to use a mobile device as a hotspot. Not many mobile operators offer such services.
- Monthly tariffs are flexible. O2 offer 30-day SIM contracts for anyone who feels that the 12 to 24 month contracts are too long. The shorter contracts are a little costlier than the long ones but they offer great flexibility.
- Customer service is very good. They have the best customer satisfaction ratings in the UK. Customers are very pleased with how easy it is to get useful information.
- Perks. O2 has been able to keep its customers loyal by adding extra perks other than network coverage. O2 customers can purchase tickets for events 48 hours before the officially go on sale.
- There are no unlimited data plans. O2 have 8GB per month data plans. This means that it’s not possible to watch films and play games online because you will run out of data.
- 4G is pricier than 3G. Customers who want to use 4G will considerably pay more than if they were to use 3G.
- Price hikes. It’s possible for your charges to increase mid-month whilst you are on a contract.
- Not all of their handsets are 4G compatible.
These are the three best mobile operators in the UK that offer great service on their networks.