So what is the best network for 4G? Well, there’s plenty of factors to consider. You need to consider coverage, where the best deals and packages lie and of course, speed.
What is the best network for 4G?
Vodafone offers both 12 and 24-month Red 4G plans, again starting at £13 a month, although you would have to pay up front for your phone (or at least part of the cost), if you were to commit to a contract at a Vodafone Store or on their site. These Red plans include unlimited minutes and texts, with varying data limits.
Vodafone does offer 3 months of unlimited data to all new contracts, but Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence stated “We won’t be going unlimited in the near future. In fact I’m not sure it will go unlimited at all”. It makes you question the loyalty they show their customers if they’re going to start rinsing you of overspend after just three months.
Given Vodafone and O2 share their base stations in order to save cash, it makes sense that their 4G services cover the same areas – 13 major cities including London, Leeds and Bradford. Vodafone’s coverage was a little patchier at first, although now that’s seemingly sorted itself out.
To see what they offer today: Best 4G Deals on Vodafone
EE (Everything, Everywhere)
EE has 4G coverage for around 2 thirds of the UK, covering 100 major towns and cities across the UK including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield. About a quarter of the UK is also eligible for EE’s double speed 4G.
EE offer 24 month 4G contracts starting at £16.99 per month (but like Vodafone, you’ll pay a portion of the cost upfront for your phone) with 500MB of data, climbing to £18.49 a month for a further 500MB. However, if you eat up data like leftover Christmas dinner on Boxing day, you can pay a premium of £38.49 per month for 20GB of 4G data.
To see what they offer today: Best 4G Deals on EE
O2 launched its 4G service on August 29 2013 across the same areas Vodafone did (see above).
O2’s prices are a bit simpler to understand. Everything is inclusive of unlimited texts and calls, the base price for a SIM-only contract on a 12 month plan is £19 for 1GB of data, with just a £1 increase for an extra 1GB of data, and £24 will get you 5GB.
If you sign up to O2’s Refresh plan, you can upgrade anytime you want and simply throw in the remaining termination fees, which basically covers anything you still owe for the handset. If you choose this route, and say, wanted a 16GB iPhone 6 for free, 4G plans start at £48 for 5GB of data, £53 for 10GB and £58 for 20GB. The best value, though, is in the 2GB plan where you pay £29.99 up front for the device and £43 per month.
To see what they offer today: Best 4G Deals on O2
Three is an interesting one. Every customer is upgraded to 4G as standard, for no extra charge. They also claim to have 4G active is over 50 ‘regions’ of the UK.
For a SIM-only plan, you can get, for £8 per month, on a 12 month contract, 500MB data, 200 minutes and unlimited texts. The most expensive SIM only plan is £30 per month, on a 1 month rolling deal, which gives you all-you-can-eat data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts.
It’s interesting though, that there’s plenty of bad reviews regarding 4G speed on Three. The 4G speeds over the other networks seem to tell the same story. A survey was done at the end of 2014, trying to determine what is the best network for 4g. With an average of 18.4Mbps EE was the fastest on average, followed by O2 at 15.6Mbps. Vodafone’s average 4G speed was 14.3Mbps.
That’s only half way between 3G and 4G speeds.
To see what they offer today: Best 4G Deals on Three
So, What is the best network for 4G?
What is the best network for 4G? I’d personally go with Vodafone. Generally excellent coverage, they offer competitive prices and with their sharer plan now available to non-business users, they probably just edge it for me.
Of course, these aren’t the only options. If you’re looking for business mobile solutions, please take a look at our Business Mobile page, or contact our corporate account manager Gavyn on 0208 232 1190.