Tariffs amongst the 4 main suppliers are always changing, so I will update this page as often as I can.

EE does have the most comprehensive and fastest 4G network within the UK.

Monthly Broadband tariffs (the ISP)

Provider Data Allowance Price per Month Length of Contract
EE (Mobile Broadband Sim) from SWMB 1000GB (unlimited) £49.20 * 12 months
Three or Smarty 1000GB (unlimited) £20.00 12 months
Vodafone 1000GB (unlimited) £30.00 (£15 a month for 6 months) 12 months
EE Mobile Sim 1000GB (unlimited) £55.00 18 months
EE (Phone Sim) 600GB (Unlimited) up to 12 devices £40 a month 24 months

Please call us for details for the best current deals 01392349120

What network is right for me?

The variants are so many, but let’s take the easiest bit out of the equation. All 4 networks now have unlimited data (up to 1000GB) per user.

However, not all 4G (LTE) networks are the same.

The major UK carriers — EE, Vodafone, O2, and Three — operate on different radio frequencies (“bands”), and have different portions of spectrum available to them on each band.

 

The three main LTE bands in use in the UK right now are:

Band 20 (800MHz) ; Band 3 (1800MHz) ; Band 1 (2100Mhz) ; Band 7 (2600MHz)

Different frequency bands have their own advantages and disadvantages. Lower frequencies like 800MHz are capable of transmitting over a wider area and are affected less by thick walls and buildings. Higher frequencies like 2600MHz can transfer data more quickly, but over a shorter distance, and are more susceptible to interference.

 

Different frequencies have their own advantages and disadvantages.

As such, lower frequencies are often used in rural areas, where one mast can cover a wide area where people are more spread out. And higher frequencies are often used in big cities, where the demand for high-speed data is greater, and it’s easier to have several smaller towers covering one area.

Here’s how the main four UK network operators divide up in terms of LTE bands:

Three                    Band 3 (1800MHz), Band 20 (800MHz)

EE                         Band 3 (1800MHz), Band 7 (2600MHz); Band 20 (800Mhz)

O2                         Band 20 (800MHz) (Limited 1800MHz coverage reportedly in London)

Vodafone            Band 20 (800MHz), Band 1 (2100Mhz) Band 7 (2600MHz)

 

Different flavours of 4G

There are a couple of things that can affect data speeds on 4G networks, besides the usual factors like the strength of your signal and how many other people are using the network.

The first is the amount of spectrum available to your operator. This varies for each company, with a bigger “slice” of spectrum allowing more data to be transferred at once.

Three                    5MHz of Band 20 (used for VoLTE) 15MHz of Band 3

EE                         5MHz of Band 20 (used for VoLTE) 20MHz of Band 3; 20MHz of Band 7

O2                         10MHz of Band 20

Vodafone            10MHz of Band 20; 15Mhz Band 1; 20MHz of Band 7

The second is the “category” of LTE being used, which determines the maximum possible throughput. At the time of writing, O2 and Three have launched LTE Cat. 3 (up to 100Mbps), while Vodafone and EE have launched Cat. 6 LTE (up to 300Mbps).

 

OK, so what does this all mean?

Southwest Mobile Broadband Ltd is not interested in Band 20 (only) on EE and Three. Why? The bandwidth. The bandwidth is design in terms of “capacity”, how many people can be on the mast at the same time (before problems occur), and the potential speed. The smaller the bandwidth the slower the speed and throughput.

VoLTE is what’s next for good old-fashioned phone calls, with calls being made over the 4G network as opposed to the older 3G or GSM networks. This allows for clearer audio for calls with less interference, and in the long-term gives operators a way to free up extra spectrum for 4G, as fewer customers are using those airwaves for old-style voice calls.

All the major UK operators have VoLTE.

VoLTE HAS A VERY SMALL BANDWIDTH OF JUST 5MHZ on EE and Three. This means it is the “Capacity” on the network is low, i.e. the amount of people having access to the mast, and the “Speeds” are very slow, so it designed for calling over 4G only on the mobile. It is designed for mobile use only, not data.

Band 20 bandwidth at 10MHZ on 02 and Vodafone is designed for 4G data, and although will travel further there is enough 4G coverage in rural areas with the equipment to ignore it .

Band 1 on Vodafone has a bandwidth of 15Mhz making a big difference to the speeds we get then on Band 20, thus Vodafone masts that have Band 1 on them, making it a good choice for 4G Broadband.

Band 7 bandwidth at 20Mhz is good but travels shorter distances. We only tend to pick up these bands on masts at the end of big towns. As these are “Urban areas” they can (but not always), have large traffic on them, but as the capacity is good, it really is dependent on the area.

So what are we left with? BAND 3 on Three and EE. 1800Mhz and Band 1 on Vodafone. It is still very good bandwidth (20Mhz on EE and 15Mhz on Three and Vodafone). However, three networks on band 3 are sparse and the throughput is the worst out of the 4 networks in our opinion due to overcrowding and varying speeds during daylight and nighttime hours.

Currently, most connections are on EE or Vodafone. There is no other choice. However, EE will always be the fastest network sometimes achieving speeds of up to 120MB/s on double speed masts, and 60-90MB/s on the others. Uploads can be 30-50MB/s. This is optimal though as the mast has to be in your property’s location.

Vodafone has better coverage than 02 and pricing. It uses Band 20 10mHz bandwidth and Band 1 15Mhz masts and therefore Band 1 Mast and EE’s Band 3 masts get very similar speeds.

Conclusion

EE is used the most often followed by Vodafone and Three. It really is dependent on your own property and the location you are in and the masts around you.

Our commitment to you is getting the best speeds possible, whatever that network is. Also where your properties lie towards the 4G masts is important too. 4G masts are not 360 degrees, some may point north and east, some south, and the nearest mast to you, maybe pointing in the wrong direction. We do a lot of mapping, but are never 100% sure until a site survey is done.  The 4G network on any supplier fits into their own coverage strategy,  and our job on installation is to line up the antenna to exactly the best angle the 4G cell is pointing to you.

Another technical term, but our all our equipment is Cat 6, meaning we can combine Band 20 and band 1 and or Band 3 masts together improving the speeds even further.

This is why a site survey is vital before choosing a network and see what the best speeds we can get for you, moving forward.