• From: Mobeen Iqbal <mobeeniqbal@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:44:19 +0000

Hello Ian.

Below is a peace i wrote a while ago on the various providers. it was written earlier this year.

The below is just my experience, it'll be interesting to see what others come back with. recently, i moved house and the signal in the lincolnshire countryside wasn't great at all. i'd been with o2 since the 90's, and always found them to be fantastic in terms of customer service and accessibility, it helps that they have a dedicated accessibility team to improve things like the website etc. i've never had any problems when administering my account online, and its very easy to administer multiple accounts if you have family members with other contracts but you're paying the bills. Tesco's website account manager is also ok, my brother's contract is with them and i can highly rate their customer service response times as well as the level of helpfullness. not to mention the fact that you can claim plenty of club card points in various ways. Giffgaff could also be an option for you. i've used them in the past, and generally found them to be ok but all the support you receive is web based. you can't speak to someone and they use the o2 network, so they weren't an option for me. 4G is reasonably priced. I proceeded to obtain sim cards from all the major networks to find out which had the best coverage across the county, as well as looking on the network coverage checkers for each provider. I also called customer services for each provider and put them through their paces, buying contracts, cancelling contracts, etc. O2 came out on top, which i found consistent with online surveys they're always winning awards a long with tesco, but unfortunately they only cover around 90% of the UK and they weren't an option for me. I then tried three. their customer service is based in India. they're ok for the most part, but i found that while on pay as you go with them, sometimes you'd send texts and they wouldn't arrive until days later. that could've been a glitch but this went on for weeks as my brother was with them. this has also happened recently to a friend of mine. we tried different phones and different message center numbers all to no avail. they're very easy to sign up with though and coverage is OK in most areas, i'd double check your area before hand. the website account manager is very easy to use and displays all your account information in an easy layout.

Vodafone came next. coverage wasn't that great in my area, and i had some bad experiences with customer services unfortunately. they'd leave me holding for ages if they didn't cut me off, and when i'd try and top up my sim card, the card would be fine in terms of funds/expirey etc but i'd more often than not get transfered to customer services as the automated service would refuse to accept my card details. i also found the website not to be fantastic in terms of useability. they were also rated worst for customer service in a survey conducted not long ago by offcom.

Next i decided to try the last network, EE. on the hole, my experience has been pretty good with them. they may not always have the cheapest deals, but you can't go wrong in terms of 4G coverage. the network has been very good when i've been travelling over the UK, certainly on a 3G connection. i haven't been to London so can't comment if the network congestion is bad down south, but in terms of customer service they're ok. most of its based in the UK, and if you don't mind holding for a bit then you eventually get through to someone who can resolve your issue. the website account manager is also quite useable, and they're offering 4G shared plans for families as O2 do, ideal for me. i'm paying £39 a month for unlimited calls and texts, 20GB of data and each extra sim costs me £12 and i can have up to 5 on my plan. the others then share my data allowance. not bad when you consider the amount of data and a motorola moto G 4G thrown in for free. the sims you receive are also backwards 3G compatible so no matter what kind of handset you have it'll work using the best connection possible in your area. virgin are also worth looking at. i haven't used them but they use the EE network and i've heard good things about their customer service. This is just my opinion/experiences, i hope they help you in making a decision. I dare say that others have had bad experiences where i've had good ones, the best thing you can do is take them for a spin your self. my priorities have always been customer service and coverage. if i can be of any further help, please don't hesitate to drop me a note either on or off list and i'd be more than happy to go in to more detail on any of the above providers. i would strongly recommend checking coverage in your area for your chosen network. O2 and EE in short are the ones i'd recommend. telecoms is always something i've had a keen interest in, and whenever a new provider comes a long, i like to take them for a spin
to see what they're like. i must remember to try out the Co-Op next.

all the best,


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