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Plusnet Mobile 4G Coverage and Network Review

12th November 2018

Plusnet Mobile Network Coverage

Plusnet Mobile is owned by BT, which also owns EE, so of course it uses EE’s infrastructure.

Plusnet Mobile looks to stand out primarily by being cheap, with 4G tariffs starting at just £6 per month for 250 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data (or 1.5GB, 500 minutes and unlimited texts if you're a Plusnet broadband customer).

There are other pros and cons to Plusnet Mobile though, so read on for a rundown of all of them.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Cheap

Low data limits

Good 4G coverage

No inclusive roaming beyond Europe

Even better value for broadband customers

Only offers SIM Only plans

Our Verdict 

Coverage

Plusnet Mobile uses EE’s infrastructure, and that’s good news, as EE has more extensive 4G infrastructure than any other UK network, with over 99% population coverage and around 91% of the UK geography covered. It’s rapidly expanding too.

It’s also got great 3G and 2G population coverage, at 98% and 99% respectively.

Plusnet Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

4G 

> 99%

3G

98%

2G

99%

Use Plusnet’s coverage checker above to find out more about Plusnet 4G coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

4G Network Coverage Comparison

Network

4G Coverage by population

Plusnet Mobile (EE)

> 99%

Vodafone

99%

O2

99%

Three

99.8%

As you can see, Vodafone and O2 (along with any MVNOs that use their infrastructure) are slightly behind Plusnet for 4G coverage. Three meanwhile has a similar level of population coverage to Plusnet, but it’s likely that its geographic coverage is worse.

4G from Plusnet Mobile is now available in thousands of locations, including the following cities:

Aberdeen, Armagh, Bangor, Bath, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Chichester, Coventry, Derby, Derry, Dundee, Durham, Edinburgh, Ely, Exeter,  Glasgow, Gloucester, Hereford, Inverness, Kingston upon Hull, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Newry, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Peterlee, Perth, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Ripon, Sheffield, Southampton, St Albans, St Asaph, St David’s, Salford, Salisbury, Stirling, Stoke, Sunderland, Swansea, Truro, Wakefield, Wells, City of Westminster, Winchester, Wolverhampton Worcester and York.

Network Speeds and Frequencies

Plusnet Mobile uses standard 4G, which is up to around 5 times faster than a standard 3G network.

OpenSignal – Mobile Networks Update, October 2018

Network

4G download speeds

4G latency (ms)

Plusnet Mobile (EE)

28.9Mbps

39.77ms

Three

18.78Mbps

48.15ms

Vodafone

21.92Mbps

40.78ms

O2

14.61Mbps

42.38ms

In an OpenSignal report from October 2018 it was found that EE had average 4G download speeds of 28.9Mbps, which is faster than any rival. It also beat rivals for average latency (the time the network takes to respond to a request) at 39.77ms. While Plusnet wasn’t covered in the report, its results might be similar, since it uses the same spectrum and infrastructure.

Speedtest – Mobile Speedtest Data, Q3-Q4 2017

Network

Download/upload speeds

Plusnet Mobile (EE)

28.80/9.29Mbps

Vodafone

17.26/8.16Mbps

Three

14.58/7.35Mbps

O2

14.11/7.13Mbps

In a Speedtest report from late 2017 the results for EE were similar, with the network sporting higher average download and upload speeds than any rival, at 28.80Mbps and 9.29Mbps respectively. This again could well be similar to Plusnet Mobile’s speeds.

Plusnet Mobile Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1800MHz

Band 3

2G & 4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G & 4G

2600MHz

Band 7

4G

Plusnet Mobile uses four different bands for 4G: the 800MHz band, the 1800MHz band, the 2100MHz band and the 2600MHz one.

The 800MHz band can travel over long distances, making it good for areas where mobile masts are spread far apart. The 2600MHz band is much shorter range but is available in higher capacities, meaning it can deal with congested locations better. The 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands are a middle ground.

You can find in depth details of these bands in our 4G frequencies guide.

Planned improvements

EE (and by extension Plusnet) is working to improve its 3G infrastructure so that it can broadcast 4G. It's planning to update more than 500 3G towers so they can transmit a 4G signal.

Traffic management

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t currently publish its traffic management policies. We’ll update this section if that changes.

Plans

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t have the same range of plans as most networks, as currently it just has a SIM Only service with a handful of tariffs. However, these are generally cheap, they all include 4G at no extra cost, and they all allow you to use as much of your data as you want for tethering.

Pay Monthly Phone Plans

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t currently offer any Pay Monthly plans.

SIM Only Plans

 

New Customers

Broadband Customers

Max Data Allowance

5GB 8GB

Contract Length

30 Days 30 Days

EU Roaming

Roaming outside EU

Tethering

Data Rollover

Spending Caps

WiFi Calling

VoLTE

View Plans

Plusnet Mobile’s SIM Only plans are all 30 days long and if you’re a new customer you can get between 500MB and 5GB of data. If on the other hand you’re a Plusnet Broadband customer each tariff comes with extra data, so you can get between 1.5GB and 8GB, without paying any extra.

If you need extra minutes, texts or data you can also purchase bolt-ons, which give you a one-off batch to top you up until next month.

The main downside to Plusnet Mobile’s plans is simply that even at the top-end, data limits are quite low.

Data Only Plans

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t offer any Data Only plans.

Pay As You Go

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t currently offer Pay As You Go.

Tethering

Plusnet Mobile allows you to tether your phone to other devices, meaning you can share your data connection with them and get them online. The only limit is your data allowance.

WiFi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling means making and receiving calls over a Wi-Fi network. It works seamlessly using your normal number but means you can stay in touch with people when there’s no mobile signal. However, Plusnet Mobile doesn’t offer Wi-Fi Calling.

VoLTE

VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE, also known as 4G Calling. This feature allows you to make and receive calls over 4G, so you can still communicate when there’s no 2G or 3G signal. This too isn’t offered by Plusnet Mobile though.

Roaming Destinations

Plusnet Mobile lets you roam for free in the following destinations:

Åland Islands, Andorra, Anguilla, Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.

Customer service

There haven’t been many reports into Plusnet Mobile’s customer service, but the Which? H1 2017 UK Mobile Network Survey suggests that it’s probably middling. The survey asked 4,026 members of the public to rank mobile networks, and Plusnet was put in 6th place (out of 13) with a customer score of 66%. While many networks were also assigned a separate customer service score, Plusnet for some reason wasn’t.

Conclusion

Plusnet Mobile is a low-cost network, making it a good choice if you want 4G on a tight budget. It becomes even better value if you’re a Plusnet Broadband customer.

But as it runs off EE’s infrastructure it’s also got better 4G coverage and higher speeds than you might expect a cheap network to have. In fact, it can potentially beat big names like Vodafone, O2 and Three in those areas.

It’s still not as fast as EE itself though, as it only offers standard 4G. Plusnet is also light on extras and options, with just SIM Only tariffs available, low data limits and no inclusive roaming beyond Europe.

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