We all know that EE, O2, Vodafone and Three have 4G networks, but they’re not the only choices and not necessarily even the best ones. Tesco Mobile for example has a 4G service of its own and with a compelling price and strong infrastructure it’s well worth considering. Here’s what you need to know.
Tesco Mobile is an MVNO and it uses O2 as its network partner. So in other words where O2 has coverage Tesco Mobile has coverage. In April O2 announced that it had brought 4G to 191 towns and cities across the UK, including major cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham, accounting for 41% of the population outdoors.
That coverage is increasing on a regular basis, with the network aiming to reach 98% of the UK by the end of 2015. So while O2 (and by extension Tesco Mobile) doesn’t currently have as widespread coverage as EE, it’s slowly catching up.
Prices and allowances
One of the great things about Tesco Mobile’s 4G service is that it’s available at no extra cost, as we wrote about in January. So you’re not paying any more for a 4G contract than you would for a 3G one.
Those prices are pretty reasonable too. You can get a SIM only contract from £10 per month, with 750 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB of 4G data if you opt for a 12 month contract, or 250 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB of 4G data on a 30 day contract. Plans go right up to 8GB of data, 3000 minutes and 5000 texts for £27.50 per month on a 12 month contract or £30 per month on a 30 day one.
If you get a pay monthly contract with a smartphone you’ll obviously end up shelling out more, but it’s still quite affordable, for example you can get a Nokia Lumia 635 with 250 minutes, 5000 texts, 500MB of 4G data and no upfront cost for £12.50 per month on a 24 month contract. Tesco Mobile also now offers 4G on pay as you go and again you don’t pay any more than you would for 3G.
Currently Tesco Mobile sells 14 different 4G phones, including the iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, HTC Desire 610, HTC One M8, HTC One Mini 2, Moto G with 4G, Moto X, Nokia Lumia 635, Nokia Lumia 930, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Sony Xperia Z2 and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.
It’s not the largest selection around, but it covers, high medium and low end across the three major operating systems and in time Tesco Mobile’s range is bound to grow.
If you’re already a Tesco Mobile customer but are currently stuck on 3G you should be able to switch to 4G at no extra cost, provided your handset is 4G compatible. This may require a new SIM card, but just call up Tesco Mobile’s customer services and they’ll help you out.
It’s also worth being aware of Tesco Mobile’s ‘Anytime Upgrade’. This is much the same as O2 Refresh, in that if you’re on a pay monthly contract you’ll have a separate bill for your allowances and for paying off your phone (though both will be charged at the same time, so it will seem like having one).
The advantage of this is that, as the name suggests, you can upgrade at any time and all you have to do is pay off the remainder of the phone, rather than paying off the remainder of the whole tariff.
Looking to find out more about 4G?