What are the different types of mobile operators in the UK?

Mobile networks are the infrastructure that allows our phones and other devices to communicate between each another and connect to the internet.

7 Months Ago
What are the different types of mobile operators in the UK?


The concept of mobile network operators is originating from mobile technology used for cellular communication. It is evident that mobile technology has evolved very rapidly in the last decade. We initially started using mobile technology as a simple two-way pager and ended up with mobile phones, navigation devices and faced embedded web browsers and instant messaging facility which changed the way we communicate between each other. The technology of mobile computing is highly integrated to the mobile technology we use in today’s life. Nearly all households in the UK would have minimum one tablet, many smartphones and limitless access to the internet. Since it has become a part of our life the operators of the mobile networks have gained as much importance that affect our use of the technology efficiently.

Mobile networks are the infrastructure that allows our phones and other devices to communicate between each another and connect to the internet. Building a mobile network is not a simple process, it consists of interconnected cellular receiver towers and base stations, hence the investment required is impressively high in this industry.

Mobile Operators Technology

As we explore the subject, we will be more hearing about 3G, 4G and 5G mobile technology, this distinctive terminology started with “IG” the simplest form of communication that enabled analogue use of the mobile technology. In time we met with 2G, the letter G stands for word “Generation” second generation enabled users to send text messages. The evolution of the mobile technology made a huge impact when 3G entered into our lives, with 3G the users of the technology were able to send digital messages in different formats like Images, videos, and emails. Real difference of this huge shift started shaping the way we do things in our lives and businesses. 3G technology led to wireless technology and smartphones taking over on any other communication method we used before. As it continued, we recently met with 5G technology which allows faster data speeds for connectivity.

In the UK there are main operators in the field which are very recognised brands from Vodafone, EE, Three and O2, they are shortly called “big four” in the UK, the reason they have this synonym is to be called a mobile network operator in exact definition the company needs to have its own infrastructure, the big four has their physically own infrastructure. 

Now we can look into more details of the operators:


Vodafone Logo

Although some cities in the UK have adapted to the 5G technology Vodafone’s high technology network spans more than 99% of the UK with excellent coverage rate, offering users 5G technology connectivity in more than 100 locations in the UK and more than 200 locations in Europe. Some European countries Vodafone excels are Ireland, Spain, Germany, and Italy. Vodafone has extensive range of mobile phone deals including PAYG, Sim only and pay monthly contracts. The services Vodafone offers is not only limited to mobile deals, they also offer home broadband technology to their customers.


EE Logo

As we all know EE is one of the big four company in the UK offering mobile network services to its clients. EE is a part of BT Group, some of you will know EE is formed by merge of T-Mobile and Orange. The coverage EE offers is very wide coverage with 4G (more than 99% of UK) with widest range of 5G connectivity.

EE has various range of mobile options for all PAYG, pay monthly and SIM only deals with options to upgrade to extensive entertainment Add-Ons like Apple TV+, Apple Music, BT Sport Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.


O2 Logo

O2 is a younger company compared to Vodafone and EE history in the UK, it spans almost 99% of the UK for coverage and they continuously improve the 5G services in the UK to reach a wider user base with high data speed across locations. O2 is well advanced at 3G and 4G coverage and offers its clients as much as others in PAYG, SIM only and pay monthly contract plans, there are various extras and discount packages available on O2 entertainment packages including Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.


Three Logo

As all big four Three also covers with a span of more than 99% in the UK and also offers 5G coverage with heavy investments into the technology in this network advancement. Comparable Three also offers nearly similar packages like others included in the big four names of mobile network providers. The packages are all available for SIM-only, PAYG, and contract deals with unlimited data plans which is also a very attractive feature for the users, Three has gained recognition in a short time due to being one of the first offering all mobile services unlimited. This marketing plan has been very effective for Three to reach a wider user base.

There is also an extra where we do not come across in others, Go Binge, it is available on advanced plans and doesn’t affect any limits of use in the internet data from streaming of apps like Netflix or YouTube. Meaning users never hit any spend data, there is also an option called Go Roam for travellers, they can use the minutes and their data allowance while being present in other countries. Well designed packages for different purposes are one of the main benefits of being a Three subscriber.

Other Mobile Operators

Apart from the main big four there are also other companies offering the same services, packages without owning their own infrastructure such as Virgin Media, Giffgaff, Sky, Tesco Mobile, TalkTalk, Lyca Mobile, Asda Mobile and a few more brands in the UK, with endless options to choose from and everyone’s needs being different, the market is loaded with many operators providing distinctive packages to the users in the UK. Best option is revising them all and deciding which package suits your convenience the most for PAYG, SIM-only or Contract Mobile deals.