Find the best Mobile Coverage 2021

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Last update: February 17, 2022
Roams UK
Author: Roams UK
3 people have read this post in the last 12 months

Finding the best mobile coverage is only one aspect of finding the best mobile network provider in the UK, however it is an important factor to consider because you want a carrier that has good 4G coverage speed and also if they offer 5G network because 5G is the future.

What is the best coverage in the UK?

The UK has four main mobile network providers EE, Three, Vodafone and O2 which all four carriers have great coverages but which is the best one? It is really important to know this because there are a lot of MVNO (mobile network virtual carriers) that piggyback of these four main mobile network providers.

EE has the most carriers piggybacking off their network, ASDA Mobile, BT Mobile, PlusNet and Virgin Mobile all use EE network.

O2 carries Giffgaff, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile and iD Mobile, Smarty piggy back off Three's network, Vodafone powers VOXI and Talk Mobile.

Therefore, the big four mobile network providers need to make sure that they deliver a good coverage because there are a lot of carriers that rely on them to do a good job.

EE coverage offers their customers 2G, 3G and 4G coverage with 2G and 4G covering 99% of UK population and 98%. This is a good sign for MVNO's because they will be able to offer their customers 4G coverage to almost every part in the UK.

EE 4G speed is also very reliable as it has a 33.7/8.9Mbps for download and upload speed with 4G latency (ms) of 37.3ms.

O2 coverage offers 2G, 3G and 4G network to all their customers and their MVNO partners with 99% coverage of all levels of data technology. The 4G speed is 16.9/5.7Mbps for download and upload with a 4G latency (ms) of 37.4ms.

Three does not offer any 2G coverage which will effect MVNO companies that want to offer 2G. Three 3G coverage in the UK covers 98.7% of the UK population and 99.8% 4G of UK population. Three 4G speed is 21.6/77.4Mbps download and upload speed and 4G latency (ms) 46.3ms.

Vodafone offers 2G, 3G and 4G coverage so MVNO will benefit from that, all three network type has a 99% coverage of the UK population. 4G Vodafone speed is 25.1/7.8Mbps download/upload speed with a 4G latency (ms) 39.4ms.

EE offers the fastest 4G speed followed by Three (second) and Vodafone then O2 with the slowest 4G speed out of all the big four carriers in the UK. The positive thing to take out of all the carriers is that the big four all offer 4G network.

This means that all their customers will benefit from having a 4G network and all MVNO's will also have 4G network.

What MVNO has the best coverage?

All MVNO's rely on mobile network providers so it depends on what is the best network provider because it would mean that it will reflect on the type of network a MVNO has.

For example, carriers such as Virgin Mobile and Plusnet are able to offer great coverage speed because they are using EE network and EE offers quality 4G speed.

Giffgaff offers really cheap SIM only deals and although Giffgaff does not have the fastest 4G speed because O2 offers the slowest 4G speed out of the big four, O2 is still one of the most reliable mobile network providers in the UK which will benefit Giffgaff.

Smarty and iD Mobile have a decent 4G speed and reliable network because Three allows them to have a good overall 4G network so Smarty and iD Mobile customers will be happy about this.

VOXI and Talk Mobile who are powered by Vodafone allows them to have a really good 4G data technology especially VOXI who offers endless social media data for free, VOXI customers can benefit from this.

Therefore, all MVNO's will benefit from piggybacking of all the big four networks because the 4G network is reliable and it does offer decent speed with a great coverage of the UK population.

5G Coverage in the UK

5G is the best network service in the UK because it offers unbelievable speed and compared to 4G there is no comparison when it comes to speed.

5G is also a lot more reliable and in busy places you won't experience weak signal, and video buffering is in the past because you won't have any video buffering with 5G.

But which mobile network provider and MVNO's have 5G network because even though a network provider has 5G it does not mean that a MVNO has 5G.

Three, EE, O2 and Vodafone all offer 5G which means all their customers will benefit from the best network in the UK.

2020 is a big year for 5G as more major cities and towns in the UK will have 5G, Three offers 5G to 47 towns and cities, O2 offers 5G to 21 towns and cities, Three offers 5G to 1 town and cities and Vodafone offers 5G to 38 towns and cities.

This means that more and more people in the UK are getting 5G and in the future 5G will eventually take over 4G, so it is important to find what areas EE, O2, Three and Vodafone offer 5G so that you can choose the right network provider that suits you.

There are only a handful of MNVO's that offer 5G, these carriers will make them stand above the rest because with cheap MVNO SIM only deals and 5G is a combo worth settling for.

For example, VOXI, Sky Mobile and BT all offer 5G technology and their customers will be happy because they can get the fastest data network known to the UK. A lot of MVNO's in the UK have not announced when they will have 5G but for some such as Smarty has confirmed that they will offer 5G but hasn't provided a date.

Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

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Laura Burón
Edited and revised por Laura Burón