The UK has more than 80 million mobile phone users, the majority of whom rely on the networks of a handful of national players.. The main network providers are all household names and fiercely competitive, investing hugely in advertising, promotions and reward schemes.
Major UK mobile network providers
All of the major network providers offer attractive deals, so choosing the right one will come down to network coverage, availability of roaming agreements and high-speed data services.
- O2: one of the largest UK business network providers with some 23 million UK subscribers at year-end 2012. They are well known for large-scale sponsorships and excellent customer loyalty schemes. Their business plans offer certain unlimited calls, UK-based customer service, excellent global coverage and fast networks, with 4G and free Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Vodafone: a London-based provider with a strong global presence, making them a great choice for business users who travel. They offer strong customer service and a range of monthly or pay-as-you-go tariffs, making it easy to find a great deal.
- EE (Everything Everywhere): a new kid on the (network) block, EE now run Orange and T-Mobile as well. In total they have nearly 40 million users, making them the UK’s largest provider. They offer superfast 4G mobile services (meaning faster downloads and Web browsing and more reliable video conferencing) and solid customer service.
- Orange: now under EE’s wing, Orange offer low-cost plans and generous loyalty schemes.
- T-Mobile: Also run by EE, T-Mobile offer group voicemails, conference calling, speedy Internet access, company phone bill analysis and corporate email solutions.
- Three: the fastest-growing network in the UK offers value-for-money tariffs, transparent pricing, fast Internet access and no data limits (all with an excellent range of business handsets to choose from).
Other service providers include Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Lebara Mobile, LycaMobile and Giffgaff, although they use the primary networks (Vodafone, O2, EE etc.) to provide their services. They are worth a look for cheap price plans and competitive overseas coverage.