When Three launched in 2003, they were the mavericks of the mobile phone world – they were all about doing new stuff – like basing their entire network on the power of wireless internet; that means anyone with a Three package uses at least 3G (or third generation mobile technology). They’ve also differentiated themselves by offering free roaming abroad in a long list of countries – a key benefit if you live a jet setting lifestyle.
But tech waits for no man (or mobile phone operator) and Three are powering forward with 4G – even faster wireless internet access from your phone. Having 4G means you’ll get the internet quicker, smoother and better than on existing 3G networks.
If you remember when mobile phones had aerials, you’ll probably remember that O2 used to be called BT Cellnet way back in 2002, but they’re now owned by Telefonica. O2 offer great all round customer satisfaction, with 80% of their customers happy with their service, according to Ofcom. And if you’ve got a problem, then according to 51% of customers, it’s usually resolved first time around. O2 claim to have 98% 3G coverage throughout the UK (on par with Three and EE). You also become part of O2 Priority, where O2 offers you the competitions and deals – all just for being their customer.
O2 have an ambitious strategy and have planned to invest £3 billion over five years into upgrading their entire network. Plus, in order to give the best possible coverage to their customers, O2 even share mobile masts with Vodafone, allowing customers of both providers to enjoy even greater coverage.
Vodafone go way back and are one of the largest mobile providers in the world, they’re active in 26 countries and have nearly 444 million customers around the globe. They were also the first provider to introduce (analogue) pay monthly packages in 1996. They were named number 1 mobile network in the UK and London at the Mobile Benchmark Awards 2016.
Vodafone covers about 90% of the UK with 3G and 65% with 4G, they also came joint second with Three in terms of overall best customer service based on research collected by Ofcom.
Like O2, Vodafone are investing heavily and have set aside £1 billion to update their mobile and fixed line networks and are working hard to push coverage to even more rural communities.
EE are part of BT and are a rebrand of the Orange and T-Mobile brands that used to exist in the UK. EE boast that they have the largest and fastest 4G network in the UK giving 97% of the population access to super-fast internet on the go. It also offers the fastest 4G speeds in the UK – with an average speed of 22 Mbps. This beats the average of 17Mbps and is the fastest of the big 4 providers.
EE are also spending big – about £1.5m a day to ensure that no one misses out – even rural communities.