Sometimes, it’s not about the best phone but the best network. What good is the latest and most advanced smartphone if you’re not getting the most out of your contract? There are various factors to consider when choosing a mobile network. Users have different needs and the ideal plan will depend on the user and how they use it.

Five UK Major Mobile Networks

  • T-Mobile
  • Vodafone
  • Orange
  • O2
  • Three

Each mobile network offers something special for their users. For instance, Orange gives 2-for-1 cinema tickets every Wednesdays. O2 gives priority booking of users for concerts in the O2 arena while Three offers free instant messaging and free calls via Skype.

Mobile Networks all have marketing strategies to boost their sales but these offers should not be your only factor in choosing which network to use.

Factors to Consider

Monthly Fee

You will have to pay a monthly fee if you sign a contract with a mobile network. There are various plans to choose from to suit different people’s needs. The longer contract you have, the lower the monthly fee. If you want more free minutes for calls, the plan will cost more. It’s best to compare the plans offered by different mobile networks using a comparison site.

Call Rates

When you choose a plan from a mobile network, the number of free minutes will be specified. Your calls are calculated by minutes although the rates differ during peak hours and off-peak. Off-peak call rates cost less.

Estimate the number of minutes you will need and choose a plan that will suit your requirements. If you exceed your plan’s free minutes, you will have to pay for extra minutes used at the premium rate.

Mobile Phone Cost

Once you’ve chosen your plan, it’s time to choose what mobile phone to use it with. Plans have special offers on mobile phones. Some are ‘free’ with the plan if you take out a longer-term two year contract.

You can browse for the mobile networks’ plans and free, included, contract phones on their websites. But do not base your choice on the free handset alone. You might end up choosing the wrong plan just because you wanted the free phone.

Data Plan

These days more people are using smartphones so they can connect to the web whenever and wherever. Email and video calls are just as common forms of communication as phone calls nowadays and these require an Internet connection. Tablets are also becoming more popular for people on the go.

Mobile networks offer data allowances with their plans. The amount of data will be indicated in megabytes or gigabytes. If you feel the need for a bigger data allowance for downloading and streaming videos then choose a plan with a more data included.

Network Coverage

If you live in the city, it’s easier to choose which network to sign up with. However, if you live or work far from the city, you might want to research on the network’s coverage there. Consumer reviews might be helpful for this so you can get the feedback directly from people who had experience using the network rather than discovering it too late.

Quality of Service

A more reputable company is likely to give you better quality service than a less reputable one that offers more affordable plans. It is possible to find out which network gives better quality service through some reading and research. Ask friends, family and read up on online customer reviews.

The network’s response to your concerns and needs is an important factor too. This says much about how the company values their customers and the quality of service they provide. You are better off with a reliable network that costs more than an unreliable network that offers less expensive plans, but will eventually give you headaches in the future.

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Apart from the factors indicated above, consider other features that you are most likely to use like the number of free SMS messages, cost of voicemail retrieval, cost of video calls and insurance.