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Which UK network has the best coverage?

Which UK network has the best coverage?

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Last updated: 15 June 2022

When choosing the best mobile phone deals, it’s important you consider the mobile broadband coverage you will be getting for your money. Even if you live in an area covered by most networks, choosing a high-coverage mobile network will be useful whenever you travel throughout the UK. You should compare mobile phone deals not only in terms of price, but also the mobile broadband speed and network coverage that you will get. This guide will help you decide which mobile network will give you the best value for money.

Which network has the fastest 4G speeds?

4G coverage is about 5 times faster than 3G and is offered by all UK networks. In tests covered out by OpenSignal and Speedtest, EE's network has been proven to have the highest average speeds in the country. This is not surprising, considering that EE offers a double-speed service of up to 60Mbps in some locations. In London, EE even offers 4G+, which is even faster. While Vodafone also offers this in Manchester and Birmingham, in most tests Vodafone doesn’t perform for speed as well as EE.

OpenSignal tested the 4G download speeds of 4 major networks in October 2018, and the results were as follows:

Which network has the best 4G coverage across the UK?

4G coverage is being constantly improved across all networks, with mobile networks working on increasing capacity in popular areas, adding new towers and upgrading technology.

For a long time, EE was far ahead of its competitors. Networks all update their data at different times, so it’s difficult to know exactly who has the best mobile phone coverage at one time. However, many studies have shown EE to have consistently reliable coverage. In a 2017 study, EE delivered at least 90% coverage in 11 out of 14 areas. Meanwhile, O2 and Vodafone only achieved this in three areas, and Three in none. In 2018, RootMetrics carried out tests over 22,000 miles, and EE came out on top in all categories, including network reliability.

  • EE’s 4G covers most of the UK, and it is working on expanding this further.
  • Virgin Mobile uses the EE network, so offers identical coverage.
  • O2 and Vodafone are network sharing. Their combined 3G network covers most of the UK and uses HDSPA to get higher speeds. They claim that their 4G network will soon have 98% indoor coverage.
  • Three’s 3G network covers 97% of the UK, and also uses HDSPA. Their 4G network was set up in 2014 and rivals EE in some speed tests.

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Which network has the best 5G coverage?

The 5G rollout in the UK is well and truly underway, but coverage for this high-speed network is as of yet fairly limited to certain areas in UK cities. However, according to RootMetrics, EE is once again the go-to mobile operator with the widest-reaching 5G network in the country. For more information, check out our guide on where to get 5G in the UK.

Which network provides the best coverage in my area?

You can check which mobile network provides the best mobile coverage in your area using each company’s own coverage checker tools. Here are the quick links to the networks mentioned above:


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Danny Lord

Author: Danny Lord

Danny is our Editor-in-Chief, and has been writing news and guides for comparison sites for the last five years.

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