Mobile Phone Network Coverage

When choosing from the mobile phone deals on offer, 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

here 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 Vodafone’s network
  • BT - use EE’s network
  • CMLink - use EE’s network
  • Ecotalk - use EE’s network
  • Extremeconnect - 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
  • KC Moblile - use O2’s network
  • Lebara - use Vodafone’s network
  • Lycamobile - use O2’s network
  • Now PAYG - use EE’s network
  • Plusnet Mobile - use EE’s network
  • SMARTY - use Three’s network
  • Sky Mobile - use O2’s network
  • Superdrug - use Three’s network
  • TalkTalk Mobile - use O2’s network (TalkTalk mobile no longer sells its own deals, but refers its customers to O2 directly)
  • Tesco Mobile - use O2’s network
  • T-Mobile - use EE’s network
  • Talkmobile - use Vodafone’s network
  • The Phone Co-op - use EE’s network
  • Truphone - use O2’s network
  • Utility Warehouse - TelecomPlus - use EE’s network
  • Virgin Mobile - use EE’s and Vodafone’s networks
  • 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.