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Wireless Carriers and Calling Plans: United Kingdom (U.K.)

The following list of wireless service providers (carriers, operators and resellers) operate in national or regional markets.

A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a company that does not own or operate a wireless (mobile phone) network, but resells wireless services under their own brand name, using the network of a wireless network operator.

National size rankings are by number of mobile subscribers. National coverage might mean that 80% of the population area has service. Check with each service provider about specific areas of coverage and calling plans before you sign up.

All carriers operate an analog network (AMPS, TACS) in addition to any digital networks mentioned, unless noted. Although many carriers are retiring their analog networks and service.

Coverage maps show primary service areas, secondary service areas and/or roaming areas.

For more information about wireless carriers and calling plans, including guides, reviews and promotions, see our Wireless Carriers and Calling Plans main page.

Caveat About Coverage Maps

Coverage maps help you find areas where you can and can not get service. But most maps do not show dead zones (local places where your phone doesn't work) that affect your ability to use a cell phone service. The actual service you get may be different from the areas shown on the map.

Before buying a new service, and possibly being locked into a plan with poor coverage, ask for a trial period and check for dead zones along your regular routes.

Be sure to use the phone handset model you plan to buy, because the RF performance (radio frequency signal sensitivity) of a handset affects its dead zones and on-road (in motion) performance.

United Kingdom (U.K.)

Company Overview
3 #4 mobile provider. Owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa.
Asda Mobile MVNO uses Vodafone network. Owned by U.K.-based Asda.
BT Mobile MVNO uses T-Mobile network. Subsidiary of British Telecom.
EasyMobile MVNO uses T-Mobile network. Simple prepaid rate plans. Joint venture between Danish telecom operator TDC and TIH Invest A/S.
O2 UK #2 mobile provider. O2 is a member of the Starmap Mobile Alliance, owned by Spain-based Telefonica.
Orange UK / T-Mobile UK #1 mobile provider. Owned by France-based Orange SA, part of France Telecom, and Deutsche Telekom. Merged in Nov 2009.
Talkmobile MVNO uses Vodafone network. Owned by U.K.-based The Carphone Warehouse Group PLC.
Tesco Mobile MVNO uses O2 network. Owned by U.K.-based Tesco plc.
Virgin Mobile MVNO uses T-Mobile network. Owned by U.K.-based Virgin Group.
Vodafone Ireland Dublin-based subsidiary of Vodafone Group.
Vodafone UK #3 mobile provider. London-based subsidiary of U.K.-based Vodafone Group plc.

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