Perfect iPhone UK Network

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by afd, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. afd macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2005
    There isn't one....

    Just a quick moan about the UK's carriers. I'm currently with o2 on an iPhone 4 and have been with them since about 2001 when they were BT Cellnet.
    I'm thinking of changing to 3 because where I live and work I rarely see an indoor 3G signal and can only imagine how this will affect Siri on a 4S. I have a 3 Mifi and seem to get a fairly decent 3G signal where ever I need the internet. I was however disappointed to find out recently, that o2 is the only UK network that has visually voicemail. So every network is a compromise, I either get the full iPhone experience with o2, without the internet or a cutdown iPhone experience with the internet.
    What's worse for me with o2 (and anyone else using o2 that's involved with Scottish schools) is that o2 does't work with Glow (a national school's network) either on the iPhone or on a laptop using tethering. Also o2 compress jpegs (probably because they know how good their network is, so graphics don't look so good on an iPhone.
    So after nearly 4 years of the iPhone in the UK there is a pretty poor choice of network. I'll probably end up with 3 if I get a 4S, since the internet is mostly what the iPhone is all about.

    PS I remember reading when the first iPhone came out that EDGE was just a software upgrade for cell towers. Is that the case? If so why hasn't o2 done this? I mostly see GPRS, sometimes a 3G and rarely an EDGE signal.
  2. Vundu macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2009
    Manchester, UK
    The perfect network does not really exist. Gifgaf would be for me if it had visual voicemail.
  3. MyRomeo macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I think giffgaff are trying I get it sorted along with becomming an approved carrier. They too get my vote as best uk. Certainly best value!
  4. Brookzy macrumors 601


    May 30, 2010
    No love for Vodafone?

    I see your disappointment on the lack of visual voicemail on all network except O2, but in general Vodafone are very good.

    Their network is consistently good in my experience, with at least a 3 meg connection, even when I only have about two bars of signal (cue the technical input that the bars are irrelevant, blah blah blah, :p)

    Their service is generally very good, they stick to their promises and we by far the most competent network in terms of order fulfilment on the 4S and from what I remember the 4 launch days.

    Plus their contract choice is excellent, with a nice offering of 12 month contracts, which are becoming rare these days.

    They also don't have image compression, which I experienced a while back using O2's network on an iPad.

    My only criticisms with Vodafone are that they are a bit lacking with data allowances, and that the carrier name niggles my OCD, it says "vodafone UK", with lower case on the V and the unnecessary "UK". In fact, the only reason I jailbreak is to change this, ha ha!


  5. thepan macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2011
    I'm using 3, ever since the all-you-can-eat data plan reached its pay-as-you-go sim card :p
  6. toondw macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2009
    Northumberland, UK
    3! Not a network i would have ever considered, but the plan was the best on offer and to top it all we live on a farm and we get a good 3g signal! Never had any problems with them, customer service is poor apparently but they all are.
  7. paulcdb, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011

    paulcdb macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2009
    there is actually a way to get visual voicemail on 3 and probably any other network.

    Can't remember when i read it but it uses a separate voicemail service so i'll have a look see if i can find it in my history and i'll edit my post if i find it.

    Three's Blog on the subject:

    Downside seems to be you can't use apples, instead requires an app but worth a look if it's any use.
  8. fat jez macrumors 68000

    fat jez

    Jun 24, 2010
    Glasgow, UK
    Giffgaff are an MVNO that uses O2's network. They might be great value, but the network backing them is not so great. I'd probably rate them as the worst of all 4 of the networks I've used (I've yet to use T-Mobile).

    There's a reason for it. If you go to certain parts of the UK, for example West Wales, you'll pick up other Vodafone networks, e.g. Vodafone IE. If your phone doesn't say Vodafone UK then you are roaming and you'll pay roaming charges. This was a problem for Orange customers in the South East when the France Telecom switched to using the Orange brand and people started running up large bills as their phones switched to the wrong network. All the phone said was Orange and the customer was none the wiser.
  9. anysunday macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2011
    GiffGaff is definitely best for value, they do run on the O2 network but you can't get visual voice mail unless you're directly with O2. I guess for 3g coverage then 3 probably is your best bet. Orange is terrible value but from my experience have pretty good customer service.
  10. ryan.hayes79 macrumors member

    Jun 27, 2008
    I used to work for Three and my iPhone 4S is with them. I have a new work phone on Vodafone and where I use it I hate the network. That said, as somebody else has already posted, the perfect network doesn't exist. I would always try getting a Pay as you Go USIM to test any network before committing to a long contract. Every call I have made recently to Three customer service has been really good, but I know they have a dedicated team dealing with Apple customers, so I am not sure if this is the reason.

    Where I use Three I have no problems and the data speeds are some of the best I have used. I do miss visual voicemail but the value of Three is enough to make me live without it.
  11. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    I am with T-Mobile, and the data speeds are just horrific. I've been from west midlands to Scotland and speed always maxes out at 0.3Mb down and 0.05Mb up. It must be a cap because I have never seen higher. On the other hand, my iPad with Three is excellent. Avg dowload/upload of around 2Mb but up to as high as 5.9! If you have Three signal where you need it then I'd say it's a no brainier.
  12. afd thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2005
    I think after reading replies Three probably wins, the whole point of a smartphone is to access the internet, and where I frequent Three seems to have the best signal. They certainly offers the best value data allowance.
    I haven't had any experience with vodafone, but looking at their data allowance of 500MB, I'd easily exceed that if they do have a decent signal.
    Orange/T-mobile seems to struggle to even get a GPRS at my work so they're out. Also I couldn't afford to buy an iPhone outright so
    GiffGaff aren't for me, though seems like a good deal for kids getting their parent's cast off iPhone. My daughter's only 3, so hopefully won't have to worry about that for a while...
    Still don't like the idea of losing visual voicemail though, I know there are 3rd party alternatives, but don't like the idea of original features not working. Do o2 have an exclusive agreement with apple?
    My home broadband is also with o2, which get's discounted because of mobile contract. I'm more than happy with it so that's another reason to stay with o2.
  13. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    I think you can get Google Voice in the UK now - here in the US I have my iPhone set to send callers to my GV voicemail instead of my carrier, and (using a Google Voice app) I not only get the "Visual Voicemail" features - I also get speech-to-text translations.
  14. shotts56 macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2008
    I agree they have a decent network in general, but at the two places I use my phone (at home in Glasgow and at work in Edinburgh) it consistently goes from a flaky one bar to "No Service" all the time. Not really what you would expect in major population centres. Its not as if I live in the middle on nowhere.

    I am so regretting that 2 year Vodafone contract, and I can't wait to go back to O2, where I got full bars in the two most common places I use my phone.
  15. Iphone3gs macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2009

    Three seems to get one of the most votes from all networks

    They have been given the title no 1 network for smartphones

    If its all about Internet then you would want to go with the company that gives all you can eat data and unlimited Internet in their price plan or pay as you go option

    O2 caps ...

    Three gives unlimited data

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