The Popularity Of UK Mobile Networks: Raw Data & Trends Over Time

June 10th, 2015

For the past four and a half years, we’ve been tracking the popularity of UK mobile networks and how consumers are switching between them.

UKThe UK has one of the most competitive marketplaces in the world for mobile telephony. There are more than 83 million active mobile subscriptions for a population of only 64 million. Given this, many customers taking out a new mobile phone plan will be switching their service over from another network.

At present, there are 4 network operators in the UK: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. There are also more than 20 virtual network operators (MVNOs) that use one of the big four networks as a coverage provider. Current MVNOs include BT Mobile, giffgaff, iD Mobile, TalkTalk, Tesco and Virgin. MVNOs target a wide range of verticals including ethical, low-cost, international, supermarket and quad-play providers.

When switching from one mobile network to another, many consumers choose to keep their existing phone number. The UK has offered mobile number portability (MNP) since the 4th January 1999. To transfer an existing phone number from one network to another, customers need to obtain a PAC Code from their old network. The PAC Code is then provided to their new network operator.

Here, at Ken’s Tech Tips, we provide an online tool which can help consumers to get a PAC Code from their old network. We’ve been operating the PAC Code Finder tool since October 2010 with an average of 4,000 people using the tool every month. By monitoring usage of the tool, we can track in great detail how British consumers are moving between different mobile networks in response to different product offerings.

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Vodafone’s Big Value Bundles: Pay As You Go From £10/month

June 3rd, 2015

Vodafone offers a choice of ‘Big Value Bundles’ from £10/month on Pay As You Go. 4G internet is available on bundles from £20/month and 4G Entertainment on bundles from £30/month.

vodafoneVodafone’s most popular tariff on Pay As You Go is their Big Value Bundles which start from £10 per month. Previously known as ‘Freedom Freebees’, a Big Value Bundle will convert your Pay As You Go credit into a 30-day allowance of calls, texts and internet.

The £10/month entry-level bundle gives you 150 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of 3G internet. For 4G connectivity, you’ll need a bundle of £20/month or more. From £30/month, there’s 4G Entertainment included in your bundle. With 4G Entertainment, there’s a choice between a NOW TV Entertainment Pass, a Spotify Premium subscription or access to Sky Sports Mobile TV.

Vodafone’s Big Value Bundles are in direct competition against giffgaff’s goodybags, EE’s Everything Packs and O2’s Big Bundles.

In this article, we review Vodafone’s Big Value Bundles. We’ll look at how to buy a Big Value Bundle and how Vodafone’s Pay As You Go tariff compares to rival networks. We’ll also look at the Vodafone Rewards scheme and the products you can earn by collecting Rewards Points. Finally, we’ll look at the handsets available on Vodafone Pay As You Go, the level of coverage available and how to keep an existing phone number when moving to Vodafone.

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EE Coverage & Network: Everything You Need To Know

May 28th, 2015

EE currently brands itself as “the UK’s biggest mobile network”. Find out how their mobile phone coverage compares to rival networks.

EEOver the past few years, EE has made a name for itself by pioneering 4G technology in the UK. Having been the UK’s first network to launch a 4G service, EE has continued to stay ahead of the curve. For even faster downloads, EE has double-speed 4G coverage in two-thirds of the country (it’s the only UK network to offer such a service). EE has also started rolling out 4G+ (LTE-Advanced) coverage to customers in London. Recently, EE launched Wi-Fi Calling for greater reliability when making a phone call indoors.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at the coverage on EE. We’ll look at EE’s network: where it came from, the types of coverage offered and how speeds on EE compare to rival networks. We’ll also look at the list of MVNOs using coverage from EE, at the traffic management policy on EE’s mobile network and at the level of coverage you can expect when going abroad.

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Tethering on UK Networks: Which Mobile Networks Allow You To Tether?

May 19th, 2015

In the UK, only some mobile networks allow you to tether. We explore the mobile tethering policies for each UK network.

Tethering

With tethering or personal hotspot, you can share your mobile internet connection with another device (e.g. a laptop or a tablet).

Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with another device. It’s often used as a convenient way to get your laptop or tablet connected to the internet on-the-go.

Most smartphones now have tethering functionality (this includes the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone devices). However, only certain mobile networks will allow you to tether (it’ll sometimes be restricted in your network’s terms and conditions). There may also be a limit on how much data you can use through tethering.

In this article, we review and compare the tethering policies on each UK network. We’ll also highlight some of the best value deals with support for tethering.

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TalkTalk Mobile: Review of the Exclusive Mobile Network for TalkTalk Customers

May 17th, 2015

TalkTalk offers low-cost mobile phone and SIM-only deals. The service is exclusive to customers who have TalkTalk home broadband.

TalkTalkIf you’re currently a customer of TalkTalk home broadband, you can now take advantage of low-cost mobile deals on TalkTalk Mobile, the exclusive mobile network for TalkTalk customers.

TalkTalk currently offers 24-month contracts with a new handset included free of charge. They also have a number of SIM-only deals: an airtime-only package for customers wanting to keep their current handset. Of particular note, the All-in SIM card has unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet for only £12/month. TalkTalk Mobile uses 2G and 3G coverage from the Vodafone network.

In this article, we review the TalkTalk Mobile service. We’ll look at the offerings from TalkTalk Mobile and the requirement to have TalkTalk Broadband at your home. We’ll also look at the coverage on TalkTalk and how you can keep an existing mobile number when moving to the network.

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iD Mobile Review: The Low Cost Network From The Carphone Warehouse

May 12th, 2015

iD Mobile from the Carphone Warehouse offers Pay Monthly contracts with the GoTo, TakeAway and ShockProof price plans.

iD Mobile LogoThe Carphone Warehouse has just launched its latest own-brand mobile network: iD Mobile. Designed for the “generation that’s obsessed with the mobile internet”, iD Mobile offers 3G & 4G internet with underlying coverage provided from Three.

The new mobile network offers three types of tariff: GoTo, ShockProof and TakeAway. Each type of tariff caters for a different audience: GoTo for mainstream users, ShockProof for better spend control and TakeAway for travellers who frequently go abroad.

iD Mobile replaces Talkmobile, the 3G-only network previously run by the Carphone Warehouse. It’s no longer possible to get a Talkmobile price plan from the Carphone Warehouse.

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O2’s Big Bundles Reviewed: Pay As You Go Packages from £10/month

May 7th, 2015

O2 currently offers “Big Bundle” packages from £10/month on Pay As You Go with 4G internet included.

O2 Big BundlesCustomers on O2 Pay As You Go can buy a monthly “Big Bundles” package for a one-month allowance of calls, texts and internet. The Big Bundle packages start from £10/month: you convert £10 of your normal Pay As You Go credit into a one-month allowance of 250 minutes, 1000 texts and 500MB of 4G internet. On higher-priced bundles from £15/month, there’s more minutes, texts and internet included.

In this article, we review the O2 Big Bundles tariff. We’ll compare the Big Bundles offering to key alternatives such as giffgaff’s goodybags, EE’s Everything Packs and Vodafone’s Big Value Bundles. We’ll also discuss how to buy a Big Bundle and how you can join O2 as a new customer on the Big Bundles tariff.

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The Best SIM Cards for Using Your Smartphone in Spain

May 6th, 2015

Planning to visit Spain on your holidays? Find out the best value Pay As You Go SIM card for your smartphone.

Spanish FlagSpain is one of the top destinations for British holidaymakers every year. Some 12 million Brits visit each year with key destinations including the Canary Islands, Catalonia and Andalusia.

Whether you’re planning a trip to historical Barcelona or the beaches of Fuerteventura, you’ll need to have a suitable SIM card for your smartphone if you want to access maps, social networks and e-mail. You’ll also want a suitable SIM card for staying in touch with your friends in the UK.

In this article, we investigate the costs of using your smartphone in Spain. We’ll compare the costs of using a UK-based SIM card to the costs of using a local SIM card from Spanish networks. We’ll then help you to find the best value deal regardless of how long your trip to Spain is.

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TalkTalk’s All-in SIM Card: Unlimited Data & Unlimited Minutes for £12/month

April 28th, 2015

For £12/month, TalkTalk is currently offering unlimited data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts on their All-in SIM card. The SIM card is available to new and existing TalkTalk broadband customers.

TalkTalkTalkTalk has just launched their latest SIM card for customers with a smartphone. For £12/month, you can now get a SIM card with unlimited 3G data, unlimited UK minutes and unlimited UK texts. The SIM card is designed to slot into your existing unlocked smartphone and is on a 30-day rolling contract for greater flexibility. The offer is only available to customers who have TalkTalk broadband at their home.

In this article, we review the new £12 All-in SIM card from TalkTalk Mobile. We’ll look at how the SIM card offering compares to rival networks. We’ll also look at fair usage policies, the download speeds on TalkTalk and the level of coverage to expect. Finally, we’ll discuss how to keep an existing mobile number when moving your handset to TalkTalk.

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Giffgaff Review: The UK’s Low Cost, People Powered Mobile Network

April 24th, 2015

giffgaff is a low-cost mobile network running on O2. Their goodybags start from £5/month on 3G and £12/month on 4G. Members earn cash or free credit by participating in the network.

Giffgaff Logogiffgaff is a low-cost mobile network in the UK and is a fully-owned subsidiary of O2. Founded five and a half years ago in November 2009, giffgaff uses the same underlying network as its parent company, O2. Members of giffgaff hence receive the same level of coverage as they would on O2 with the added benefit of getting substantially lower prices.

Most giffgaff members choose to buy one of their goodybag bundles. A giffgaff goodybag is a monthly bundle that includes a set amount of calls, texts and internet. The most popular goodybag at present is the £10/month 3G offering. This includes 1GB of internet, 500 minutes and unlimited texts. For £12/month, you can upgrade to the same package with 4G internet or you can triple the amount of data to 3GB per month at 3G speeds.

Occasional users can Pay As You Go at 10p per minute, 6p per text and 20p/day for accessing the internet (this includes up to 20MB of mobile data). giffgaff also has competitive rates for calling abroad.

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