Best Mobile Phone Coverage in the UK

Compare mobile phone coverage from the UK’s top providers

Mobile phone coverage in the UK continues to improve as new networks appear and established ones expand their coverage areas. Despite these advancements, there is always a chance you could find yourself without service. We’ve researched the top providers and compared their coverage areas to help you find the best mobile network coverage available.

Mobile Networks in the UK

There are four main mobile network providers in the UK, some of which offer more than one mobile network operator. All other mobile phone network companies rent space from these providers. There is very little difference in mobile coverage of the four competitors and, unless you live in an extremely underdeveloped rural area, you won’t notice much difference between them. These network providers and their operators are as follows:

  • EE
    BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile, ASDA Mobile, Plusnet, and Utility Warehouse run on the EE network
  • Vodafone
    VOXI is based on Vodafone
  • Three
    iD Mobile makes use of Three’s network
  • O2
    Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, and giffgaff run on O2’s network

EE Mobile Network Coverage

  • >99% UK coverage
  • Fastest 4G and best 5G connections
  • Free Apple Music for 6 months or BT Sport app for 24 months
  • No-cost roaming in 48 locations

EE is one of the best UK mobile networks. It is the most widely available network, covering 99% of the UK, and has the fastest 4G connection. Even the cheapest EE deals can get you around 60Mbps speed, depending on the plan you’ve opted for and your phone’s condition. EE has the best phone coverage of 5G connection, offering it across 80 cities in the UK.

Three Mobile Network Coverage

  • >99% UK coverage
  • Inclusive roaming for 71 destinations
  • Fastest 5G connection coming soon

With over 99% mobile network coverage across the UK, Three is one of the most widely available mobile providers in the country. Three has enabled 5G broadband in a few parts of London, however its mobile 5G is still in the works. The firm is making huge investments in 5G infrastructure and has promised to deliver the UK’s fastest 5G connection. Three doesn’t charge extra for roaming in 71 locations.

O2 mobile network coverage

  • 99% mobile coverage
  • 16,000+ free wifi hotspots
  • Priority booking at O2 venues
  • Inclusive roaming for 49 locations

O2 has 99% mobile phone coverage across the UK, combined including 3G and 4G connection. O2’s 5G is now available in 150 towns and cities across the country, but it’s lagging behind its rivals in rural mobile network coverage. O2 has some attractive selling points, such as the availability of more than 16,000 free Wi-Fi spots nationwide.

Vodafone Mobile Network Coverage

  • 97% UK coverage
  • 5G in 46 cities
  • Free Spotify or Sky Sports
  • Inclusive roaming for 110 places

Vodafone has a 4G mobile phone coverage of 97% of the UK and its superfast 5G is available in 46 cities. Vodafone’s 4G Red plan users are offered the option to have free 6-month access to the Sky Sports app or Spotify. All Vodafone pay monthly plans have roaming inclusive contracts for 110 destinations. With its reliable mobile network coverage and roaming capabilities, Vodafone is one of the best network providers in the UK and a good choice for travelers.

Sky Mobile Network Coverage

  • Stream any Sky app without using monthly data
  • Roll over unused data for up to 3 years
  • Flexibility to change calls, text, and data plan whenever 
  • Upgrade to a new phone mid-contract

Sky Mobile runs off of the O2 network and has 4G mobile phone coverage in 98% of the UK. It offers the option to carry forward your unused data to the next month so you don’t lose it. With Sky Mobile, you can upgrade to a new phone even if you were mid-contract on the previous one.

Tesco Mobile Network Coverage

  • 99% UK coverage
  • Inclusive roaming for 48 destinations
  • Free monthly incentives for multiple phone numbers

Tesco Mobile makes use of the O2 network and therefore has 99% coverage across the UK. Tesco Mobile offers inclusive roaming in more than 48 locations and for users having more than one Tesco mobile on their account, the provider offers free incentives and family perks.

iD Mobile Network Coverage

  • >99% UK coverage
  • Inclusive roaming for 50 destinations
  • 10 GB free data

iD Mobile makes use of the Three network, so iD mobile users get the same mobile network coverage as Three users. iD Mobile plans offer inclusive roaming for 50 locations without any additional fees. They also offer Data Cushion, which is basically a data emergency fund. It includes 10GB of data free of charge that can be used whenever needed.

Talkmobile Network Coverage

  • 97% UK coverage
  • Budget-friendly plans

Talkmobile uses Vodafone’s mobile phone network, so you can expect the same mobile phone coverage from Talkmobile. Talkmobile’s phone plans don’t include many extras, but more than make up for it in affordability.

GiffGaff Mobile Network Coverage

  • 99% UK coverage
  • Flexible data limits
  • Inclusive roaming for 37 destinations

Just like Tesco Mobile, GiffGaff also uses O2’s network so you can expect connection speeds and mobile coverage to be in line with that of O2. GiffGaff offers money off to customers when they make recommendations of GiffGaff to friends. It also offers the option to change your data allowance monthly.

Finding the Best Mobile Phone Coverage

With the growing number of mobile networks and their neck-to-neck competition in the telecommunication industry, mobile coverage is improving at a fast pace. The four main rivals in the UK have a minimum coverage of 97% nationwide. Each of them provides a fast 4G data connection and each has amazing roaming offers and data plans. All mobile network providers now offer 5G, which is one domain that each provider is striving hard to invest a great deal in. The provider who executes their 5G rollout quickly and effectively will gain the advantage.

Despite the claims of 97%+ coverage, there are areas in the UK which get patchy coverage, or none at all, by at least one of the networks. It’s best to use a network status checker to confirm the availability of a network in a particular location before picking a mobile plan. When selecting a mobile phone network, it’s important to check whether it offers 2G, 3G, 4G, or 5G coverage in your area.

You can check the current strength of your mobile network by looking at the vertical bars on the top of your mobile phone screen. The strength of your network’s coverage mainly depends on your distance from the network’s tower, so if you’re close to your provider’s tower, there’s a high chance you’ll be receiving a strong mobile network connection.

If you’re looking for the best overall mobile phone coverage across the UK, regardless of your specific location, then your answer is either EE or Three. EE and Three both claim to offer over 99% coverage across the UK. EE comes out on top with the best mobile network coverage and fastest speeds. Three is only slightly behind, but offers better pricing. 

How to Check Mobile Phone Coverage in Your Area

To check the network coverage of a specific mobile phone network in your area, you will need to find a service to help you do this.

UK communications regulator Ofcom provides a mobile phone network coverage checker so you can decide if your chosen new network will provide the best coverage in your area.

Just enter your postcode to see what kind of coverage you can expect from your chosen network. Ofcom will show you indoor and outdoor coverage, 4G and 5G availability and more.

Best Mobile Network Coverage FAQ

Which mobile network has the best coverage in the UK?

EE has the best network coverage in the UK with over 99% coverage and the fastest speeds available.

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