logo-line-color Created with Sketch.
Start your free trial

Mobile Networks UK: Who is the best provider?

Is picking a mobile network in the UK all about finding a provider with the best offers? Or is there more to mobile networks UK? Let's find out which are the best mobile phone providers in the United Kingdom in 2024.

X Min Read
Mobile Networks UK: Who is the best provider?


Share on
Try Ringover phone system

What are the 10 best UK mobile network for coverage?

According to statista.com, below listed are the five most used mobile networks in the UK in 2022.

Rank Mobile Network Users

  • 1. EE > 26%
  • 2. O2 > 19%
  • 3. Vodafone > 15%
  • 4. Three > 9%
  • 5. Tesco > 7%
  • 6. Giffgaff > 5%
  • 7. Virgin Media > 4%
  • 8. BT > 4%
  • 9. Sky Mobile > 4%
  • 10. Voxi > 1%

Going by the stats, it seems EE is one of the most used mobile networks in the United Kingdom. EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three are the four biggest phone service providers in the country and EE offers the widest coverage.

EE also has plans with handsets that are cheaper than their standard monthly plans. However, the handset deal is not ideal if you are planning to scale and upgrade. They have special plans and offers for businesses.

What is your mobile network?

What constitutes the mobile network you use? A mobile network can be defined as an infrastructure that enables your mobile phones to connect with other smart devices and to the internet. The network is made of interconnected phone towers and base stations.

Base stations are designed to control user traffic and the towers and the base station work in tandem to bring network coverage to your mobile phone. Interestingly, phone service providers use the same network infrastructure but slightly different frequencies.

What are 3G, 4G, and 5G?

These are the terms we often hear when talking about mobile networks. The G stands for the generation of mobile technology:

  • 3G for 3rd generation
  • 4G for 4th generation
  • 5G for 5th generation

The first-generation technology could only support analog use and limited voice calls while 2G allowed users to send text messages along with voice calls. It is the arrival of 3G that enabled us to use smartphones the way we know them today.

What are the 5 different types of mobile networks?

Like cellular service providers in the rest of the world, Mobile networks UK uses five different types of networks. They are:

GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication)

GSM uses a Subscriber Identity Module or SIM. The network supports voice calls and data transfer.

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service)

GPRS networks enable the use of the internet on mobile handsets making video conferencing and VoIP calls a reality.

CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access)

CDMA networks allow multiple signals to be in a single transmission channel offering better bandwidth. This helps more subscribers connect to a mobile network provider at any given time.


Created for data transmission on pagers, MOBITEX comes with a base station and one or more switches called MX switches. Users of wireless devices can communicate using the base stations nearest to them.

EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution

It is an extension of the GPRS and GSM networks and can support a wide range of data services. EDGE network is used for streaming audio and videos, and downloading large files. EDGE can also facilitate PTT (Push-to-Talk) service.

What are the 4 most used mobile networks UK?

The four mobile networks widely used in the UK are:


EE is a merger between T-Mobile and Orange in 2010 and offers the widest 4G coverage in the country. They offer PAYG (pay-monthly), and SIM-only deals. You can use the My EE app or the web interface to check usage and pay bills.


Vodafone's 4G network is one of the most used mobile networks in the UK. Their 5G services are also available in many parts of the country. They have PAYG, SIM-only, Top up and monthly contract plans. They also offer broadband services and special packages for businesses.


With 3G and 4G coverage, the O2 network covers most of the UK and has pay-as-you-go, SIM-only and monthly contract plans. You can also avail of their broadband services.


Three also offer contract, SIM-only and pay-as-you-go plans. They also offer unlimited data plans and broadband services.

Who uses EE to piggyback?

In addition to EE, O2, Three and Vodafone there are other phone service providers in the UK. Unlike the four major players, most of the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) don't have their own network infrastructure and rent spaces and infrastructure from these four providers. This practice or agreement is called piggybacking.

Some of the networks in the United Kingdom that have a piggyback agreement with EE are:

  • BT Mobile
  • 1pMobile
  • Plusnet Mobile
  • IQ Mobile
  • Co-op Mobile
  • Ecotalk
  • CTExcel

These service providers offer SIM-only plans, unlimited data plans and pay-as-you-go plans. If you are planning to purchase BT mobile or any such service that uses EE's network, make sure that you get good coverage in your area.

Why is the EE signal so poor?

Though one of the most used mobile phone providers in the UK, EE doesn't offer coverage in some parts of the country. Lack of coverage is one of the most common reasons why you get poor EE signals in your area. You can use the network coverage checker to see if EE offers good 3G or 4G coverage in the area you live in. You can use a signal booster to improve your coverage.

Switch to a smart business phone system

It is time to adapt and adopt a comprehensive virtual business phone system. If you are looking for a smart communication system for your business, Ringover is the right solution for you. Set up the VoIP solution with a few clicks of your mouse and start making unlimited calls to more than 100 destinations.

Learn how Ringover can help take your business to new heights and destinations.

Rate this article

Votes: 0

    Share on
    Demo Free Trial
    photo stephane

    Welcome to Ringover!

    Contact our sales team

    or give us a call

    +1 438 448 4444

    Contact our sales team
    • GB France
    • GB Spain
    • GB United Kingdom
    • GB USA
    • GB Canada
    • GB Australia

    Other country?

      Contact our sales team
      Thank you !
      We are excited to connect!

      One of our product experts will be in contact as soon as possible to book your custom demo and answer any questions you may have.