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The People’s Operator (TPO) Coverage and Network Review

16th November 2018

The Peoples Operator Network Coverage

The People’s Operator uses Three’s infrastructure to provide reliable 4G coverage to over 99.8% of the UK population across thousands of towns, cities and villages.

But this MVNO aims to stand out through low prices and flexible tariffs, and that’s not all, as The People’s Operator will also give 10% of your monthly charge to a charity of your choice.

There’s plenty more to this network though, both good and bad, so read on for a full overview and review.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Gives to charity

No tethering

Low prices

Low data limits

Short-term plans

No inclusive roaming beyond Europe

Our Verdict 

Coverage

The People’s Operator has good coverage across a 4G and 3G thanks to its use of Three’s infrastructure. There’s 98.3% 3G coverage and even speedy 4G has around 99.8% UK population coverage.

The People's Operator Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

4G 

99.8%

3G

98.3%

2G

N/A

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

Coverage Comparison

Network

4G Coverage by population

EE

> 99%

Vodafone

99%

O2

99%

The People's Operator (Three)

99.8%

As you can see in the chart above, Three (and by extension The People’s Operator) have 99.8% 4G coverage, which is likely beaten only by EE, though all networks are now close on coverage.

4G from The People’s Operator is now available in hundreds of towns and cities. Locations with 4G coverage include but are not limited to the following cities:

Aberdeen, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Gloucester, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Sheffield, Southampton, Southend On Sea, Stoke on Trent, Swindon, Watford and York.

Three (and by extension The People's Operator) is also expanding its 4G coverage all the time, so if you don't have any where you are now, you probably will do soon.

Network Speeds and Frequencies

The People’s Operator mostly uses standard 4G, which is roughly 5 times faster than a standard 3G network.

OpenSignal – Mobile Networks Update, October 2018

Network

4G download speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

28.9Mbps

39.77ms

The People's Operator (Three)

18.78Mbps

48.15ms

Vodafone

21.92Mbps

40.78ms

O2

14.61Mbps

42.38ms

In an OpenSignal report from October 2018, Three was found to have average 4G download speeds of 18.78Mbps, which is beaten by EE and Vodafone. The People’s Operator’s speeds may well be similar, since they share infrastructure and spectrum.

Three’s latency is worse though, with an average of 48.15ms. That’s the average time the network takes to respond to a request, so The People’s Operator’s may be similarly slow.

Speedtest – Mobile Speedtest Data, Q3-Q4 2017

Network

Download/upload speeds

EE

28.80/9.29Mbps

Vodafone

17.26/8.16Mbps

The People's Operator (Three)

14.58/7.35Mbps

O2

14.11/7.13Mbps

In a Speedtest report from late 2017, Three was found to have an average download speed (factoring in both 4G and 3G) of 14.58Mbps, while its average upload speed was 7.35Mbps. That’s a slightly slower result than the OpenSignal report above, but that can be explained by its inclusion of 3G in the results, and as with the above report The People’s Operator’s results are likely to be similar.

Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1800MHz

Band 3

4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G

The People’s Operator uses the 800MHz band and 1800MHz band for 4G.

The 800MHz band is long range, making it a great fit for countryside locations, and it can also penetrate walls, for good indoor coverage.

The 1800MHz band is shorter range but has more capacity, making it great for busy areas.

For more in depth information, check out our 4G frequencies guide.

Planned improvements

The People’s Operator is mostly reliant on Three for improvements and that network tends to keep its plans quiet, however we do know that Three plans to spend over £2 billion on network improvements ahead of 5G.

Traffic management

The People’s Operator doesn’t allow tethering. Beyond that it notes that: “We reserve the right to impose network protection controls, limit the speed of, suspend or block your access to services, or disconnect you if your usage is excessive and/or not in keeping with that reasonably expected of a private individual.”

Plans

The People’s Operator offers a range of SIM Only plans, as well as a Pay As You Go service. All plans come with 4G at no extra cost, but none allow you to tether.

Pay Monthly Plans

The People’s Operator doesn’t currently offer any Pay Monthly plans that come with a phone, but it does have a range of SIM Only plans all of which last 30 days and automatically renew every 30 days.

The People’s Operator also offers three different Data Only plans designed for use with tablets. You can get 512MB of data for £3.49, 1GB of data for £5.49 or 6GB of data for £16.99.

Pay Monthly Plans

 

SIM Only Plans

Data Only SIM Plans

Max Data Allowance

8GB 6GB

Contract Length

30 Days 30 Days

EU Roaming

International Roaming

Tethering

Data Rollover

WiFi Calling

-

VoLTE

-

No Credit Check

 

View Deals

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The fact that 10% of your monthly plan cost goes to charity is a big bonus, as is its short-term plans, but in many other ways these plans are lacking, as data limits are low and there’s no tethering.

Pay As You Go

The People’s Operator offers a number of Pay As You Go bundles, each of which lasts 30-days and can be set to automatically renew.

Pay As You Go Bundles

Bundle

Minutes

Cost

Power Bundle

200 mins

500 texts

512MB

£7.50

Super Bundle

300 mins

3000 texts

2GB data

£10

Wonder Bundle

500 mins

3000 texts

2.5GB data

£12.50

Extra Bundle

500 mins

3000 texts

4GB data

£15

Ultra Bundle

1200 mins

3000 texts

5GB data

£18

Jumbo Bundle

2400 mins

3000 texts

6GB data

£20

Buy Now

Outside of your bundle you’ll pay 4p per minute, 3p per text and 2p per megabyte of data.

Tethering

Tethering isn’t allowed by The People’s Operator, meaning you can’t use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot to get other devices online.

WiFi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling isn’t offered by The People’s Operator. That means you can’t use Wi-Fi to make and receive calls seamlessly using your normal number.

VoLTE

VoLTE (Voice over LTE) also isn’t offered by The People’s Operator. That means you can’t call and text over 4G – which is something you might want to do if you’re somewhere with a 4G signal but no 3G or 2G.

Roaming Destinations

The People’s Operator allows customers to use their minutes, texts and data at no extra cost in the following European destinations:

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

Customer service

Customer service is always hard to judge, especially in the case of The People’s Operator, as no recent studies into it have included the network.

Our best resource therefore is its Trustpilot score, which currently sits at 5.7 out of 10 (based on 486 reviews) and is considered ‘average’. However, while that might by average by Trustpilot’s standards it’s actually above average compared to other mobile networks, so The People’s Operator’s customer service might be reasonable.

Conclusion

The People’s Operator is the network for anyone who wants to give something back, with 10% of your spend being donated to a charity of your choice.

It’s a great way to help without having to spend any extra and it’s something no other network offers.

But even beyond its charitable nature The People’s Operator is worth considering, thanks to short-term plans and decent prices.

However, a lack of inclusive roaming beyond Europe and the fact that you can't tether holds it back. Plus, none of its plans are suited to very heavy data users.

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