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Which company has the best mobile phone coverage in the UK?

A woman smiling as she walks down a street using her phone

With a company’s mobile phone coverage always the first thing to check when you’re thinking of switching providers, it’s no wonder masts are popping up all over the country.

Despite the huge work on infrastructure and the promises all companies make, there are still some areas where coverage can be patchy.

With that in mind we’ve taken a look at the major providers (and some of the smaller ones too) to see which delivers the best coverage.

Remember to always have the right mobile phone insurance in place to protect your device – because if that doesn’t work, coverage becomes irrelevant!


Why is mobile phone coverage so important?

With both our business and personal lives so focused around communication losing mobile phone coverage can have a big impact on us.

Indeed, a lack of solid and reliable signal can make even the simplest tasks such as checking emails, texting or even making a call virtually impossible.

While some users might be able to fall back on a Wi-Fi connection this isn’t ideal as many services will still remain inoperable.

Losing contact can be bad for home and work life. Missed calls or unsent texts can mean vital messages between family and friends may be lost. And you could even lose out on business to competitors or leave customers unhappy and unsatisfied – disastrous in this modern connected age!

A student using her phone while studying at a table on a campus

Mobile phone coverage from the big four networks


With a standard 4G network covering 99% of the UK population EE currently provides the best mobile phone coverage. However, connection speeds can vary between the model of phone you have and the plan you’ve signed up to.

That said, even on the cheapest EE plan you could see speeds of up to 60Mbps. 4G speeds can be even faster in certain towns and cities. For example, in Central London speeds of up to 150Mbps have been experienced.

In addition, if your phone supports superfast 5G then you could see speeds of up to 500Mbps! But only if you live in one of the 100 busy UK towns and cities that EE’s 5G is available in.

These include Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Northampton and many more.


With a combined 3G and 4G coverage for 99.8% of the population, Three has one of the widest ranging networks. Three is currently rolling out a 5G network beginning with 68 UK locations.

It also plans on building the UK's fastest 5G network. This is eagerly awaited as it means genuinely super-fast streaming, razor-sharp gaming, and near-instant downloads. We can’t wait!



Combining O2’s 3G and 4G coverage the company currently covers 99% of the population. Alongside that it has launched a 5G service in 75 UK towns and cities These include Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Sunderland, York and many others.

Like many of its rivals, coverage in places with O2’s 5G isn’t initially comprehensive. Rather the network is focusing on transport hubs, key business areas and entertainment and sports venues, including The O2 and Twickenham Stadium. It’s expected to improve coverage over time.



Covering over 97% of the population, Vodafone has good 4G coverage. Meanwhile it’s superfast 5G is also being rolled out at 54 locations in the UK. However, its big selling point is its 5G coverage in Europe. It currently covers 193 locations across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland!

If you’re using your mobile in Europe then make sure you're covered through your mobile phone insurance in case of theft, damage or loss.


Mobile phone coverage from other smaller providers

A line of young people siting in a row using their mobile phones

There are a host of other providers who use the infrastructure of the big four to deliver their mobile phone coverage.

There are many reasons why customers might prefer to go with one of these providers rather than their big four counterparts.

Among other things this will depend on the range of bundles, plans, phone models and other perks available. Here’s a quick rundown of their mobile phone coverage and any perks available at the time of writing.


Tesco Mobile

The supermarket giant works in partnership with O2 as part of Tesco Mobile. By using O2’s network you get 4G coverage across over 99% of the UK. You also get access to O2’s growing 5G network. Perks include the ability to earn Tesco Clubcard points, the ability to set a cap on monthly spend and inclusive roaming in 48 locations.


iD Mobile

Using Three’s 3G and 4G network it covers 99.8% of the population. iMobile’s standout features include usage caps, inclusive roaming in 50 locations and a Data Cushion so you’re never left without data in an emergency.



Working on O2’s network, Giffgaff’s big selling points include value for money, community focus, money off for recommending friends, inclusive roaming in 37 locations and the flexibility to change your allowance from month to month.


Sky Mobile

Another user of O2’s network, Sky Mobile lets you change your SIM-only contract at any time, upgrade your phone mid-contract and gives you the option to rollover any unused date into your Sky Piggybank at the end of each month.



Running on Three’s network, SMARTY is a SIM-only network that lets you cancel with 30 days’ notice and gives you money off your monthly bill for any data that’s left unused.


Protect your device with mobile phone insurance at Gadget Cover

Gadget Cover arranges to protect your valuable devices from common issues such as accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage. And for an additional premium, policies can also cover your mobile phone, tablets and smartwatches against loss.

Our specialist team has over 25 years of experience finding to suit both business and individual requirements.

And if you’re flying off for business or pleasure, worldwide cover up to 180 days in any one year is available. Policies can also cover any accessories (up to £150) if they’re lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your phone.

Get a quick quote for mobile phone insurance from Gadget Cover today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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