Mobile Phone Network Coverage
When choosing a new mobile phone deal the most important aspect, even before price, is network coverage. The most up to date phone available is useless if where you want to use it there is no network coverage from your chosen provider.
Even if there is coverage from your network then if it’s not a strong signal then you may find that your data speeds are slow and your battery life will be shortened as your phone searches for and then connects to more distant mobile masts.
UK Mobile Networks
There are four mobile networks in the UK that operate their own networks, these are EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, they are known as licenced network operators.
You can use our mobile coverage checker to find out the coverage by postcode for each network operator. Simply pop in your postcode and we can tell you what the signal strength should be for each operator at a glance.
All other mobile providers you may come across such as Tesco, Sky and Virgin don’t own their own physical networks, they simply lease network capacity from one of the licensed network operators. These mobile providers are known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNO’s for short.
If you want to use our checker to work out signal strength for these MVNO’s then you need to use the table below to find which network operator the supplier uses and then check that network operators signal.
Our checker breaks down the signal strength into the following categories:
2G - For basic phone calls and text message functionality
3G - For faster data services
4G - For even faster data services.
5G - For the fastest data services currently available.
We also estimate the coverage strength for indoor and outdoor use.
Which licenced network do MVNO’s use?
Asda Mobile - use EE’s network
BT - use EE’s network
FreedomPop - use Three’s network
Giffgaff - use O2’s network
iD Mobile - use Three’s network
Jump - use EE, O2 and Vodafone’s networks
Lebara - use Vodafone’s network
Plusnet Mobile - use EE’s network
Sainsburys - use Vodafone’s network
Shebang - use Three’s network
Sky Mobile - use O2’s network
TalkTalk Mobile - use Vodafones network, but is moving over to use O2’s network
Tesco Mobile - use O2’s network
T-Mobile - use EE’s network
Virgin Mobile - use EE’s network
Voxi - use Vodafone’s network
Before you commit to a network
We recommend you check your mobile coverage for all the places you will regularly need to use your phone such as home, work, school, college etc. Ask friends and family what networks they use and if they are up to scratch.
If you are unsure you can always get a Pay as you go (PAYG) sim card and try it in an old unlocked mobile phone and see what kind of coverage you get with it in the areas that are important to you.
Take advantage of 14 day cooling off period
If you sign up online for a new phone contract then you are covered by consumer contract regulations which means you have 14 days from when you start your new contract in which to ensure the service is satisfactory. If you find that the coverage is not suitable for your needs then you can exit your contract. So you can test any service at no risk.