UK Mobile Phone Network Coverage

Network coverage is an important aspect when purchasing a new mobile phone contract. Poor coverage could mean that you miss phone calls and your text messages could be delayed, not to mention poor speeds when trying to use the Internet. It can also cause poor battery life as your phone has to constantly try to find a network to connect to.

It is therefore really important that you check coverage before purchasing a new phone.

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Mobile networks

The UK has four licenced network operators: EE, Telefonica UK (O2), Three and Vodafone providing services using a variety of mobile technologies. There are over 84 million mobile connections in the UK shared between these four operators.

There are a number of other companies that provide mobile network services such as Tesco, giffgaff and Virgin. These are known as MVNO (mobile virtual network operators) which lease network capability from one of the four licenced operators.

It's important to know which of the big four operators powers your mobile provider. Whilst you cannot check coverage within specific properties or roads, each operator provides an interactive map where you can get an appreciation of the coverage that they supply.

Typically they will be break down the coverage by 2G (calls and texts) and 3G/4G (data). There are only a few not-spot regions (those that cannot get any mobile signal at all) across the UK, whereas the coverage for 3G and 4G data services can vary greatly.

In our table below we list the mobile companies we cover here at MobilePhoneChecker, detail which underlying network they use and provide a link so that you can check specific mobile coverage.

Ofcom provide a generic mobile coverage map which you can use to see how good the general coverage is across all the network providers.

Mobile Network Network Operator Coverage Checker
ASDA EE Check coverage here
BT Mobile EE Check coverage here
EE EE Check coverage here
giffgaff O2 Check coverage here
iD Mobile Three Check coverage here
Lebara Vodafone Check coverage here
O2 O2 Check coverage here
Orange EE Check coverage here
Plusnet Mobile EE Check coverage here
Sainsburys Vodafone Check coverage here
Shebang Three Check coverage here
Sky O2 Check coverage here
Talkmobile Vodafone Check coverage here
Tesco Mobile O2 Check coverage here
Three Three Check coverage here
T-Mobile EE Check coverage here
Virgin Mobile EE Check coverage here
Vodafone Vodafone Check coverage here
Voxi Vodafone Check coverage here

Try before you buy

Before taking out a mobile phone contract, there are a few steps that you could take to check coverage is good for you. The easiest is to ask a local friend or family member. See what network they are on and what their experiences of mobile coverage are. Be aware that coverage can vary depending on what handset they are using.

Alternatively you could order a Pay As You Go SIM Card and pop it in an existing unlocked phone to see what the coverage is like. Most phones show signal strength in "bars". Whilst this has no particular definition, it gives a reasonable view on how good the signal is. To understand in more detail many smartphones now give you the ability to show signal strength in dBm (decibel-milliwatts). Coverage normally ranges from -75dBm to -120dBm with -75dBm being better.

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