GSM operators in the UK.

Hello everyone,

Today, I’d like to share my experience with a GSM operator in the United Kingdom. You can find information about the major operators on this page.

Since my arrival in the UK in 2002, I have experimented with all the available networks in the market. It was astonishing to discover the subpar GSM signal quality in a country that is a member of the G8. I’m not referring to the service or pricing; rather, I’m focusing on signal and sound quality, which leaves much to be desired. To be clear, I’ve changed addresses 26 times in various locations across the UK over the span of 11 years, and I can speak from firsthand experience.

Even in London, there are areas where none of the operators can provide service, such as certain places in Sydenham Hill, Herne Hill, and Crystal Palace.

When traveling on the major “M” motorway, there’s no guarantee that you can seek help via your GSM mobile in case of an emergency.

I embarked on a quest to uncover the reasons behind this issue, and I believe I’ve found the answer. Health and safety regulations compel providers to limit the signal level to 32 dB. Naturally, this dramatically reduces the coverage distance of the antennas. A proper macro antenna should stand at 30 meters in height and provide at least 50 dB of signal strength. In reality, major antennas in large cities are macro cell antennas with signal strengths ranging from 5 to 10 dB.

If you want to check what signal coverage is available in your area in the UK, I recommend visiting this website.

Best of luck, and may you enjoy a reliable signal.

(actual on 2009-2012).

Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a mobile telephone company, operating in United Kingdom.

Vodafone (UK) is currently the 2nd largest wireless operator in Britain, in terms of active subscribers, behind O2-UK.

Orange UK


Orange UK is a mobile network operator and internet service provider in the United Kingdom which is owned by France Télécom. It was founded in 1994 by Hutchison Telecom which was later bought by Mannesmann AG and then in May 2000 sold to its present owners. Orange UK has over 17 million customers through its mobile and broadband services

Orange UK currently offers two mobile phone packages; pay as you go and pay monthly service plans.

As with other prepaid plans, pay as you go mobile users are given the option to top-up their phone via a swipe card, over the internet or via a credit or debit card.

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T-Mobile UK


T-Mobile UK was previously known as One 2 One, and before that as Mercury One 2 One. One 2 One was in its final days operated as a joint venture between Cable and Wireless and American cable provider Mediaone Group, which had a number of investments in Britain dating back to its days as the US West Media Group. One 2 One was the world’s first GSM 1800 network when it launched in September 1993. T-Mobile offers both pay-as-you-go and pay-monthly contract phones. The pay-monthly contracts are branded as Flext for both 18 month and 12 month contract customers as of February 2007; T-Mobile’s 12 month contracts were previously branded as Relax. The network also offers other contract options for off-peak users and customers who call within network predominantly. T-Mobile launched their 3G UMTS services in the Autumn of 2003.
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Other know names

BT Cellnet – United Kingdom
BT Cellnet

Originally launched in 1985 and trading as Cellnet, Telecom Securicor Cellular Radio Limited was a joint venture between BT Group (then called British Telecommunications) (60%) and Securicor (40%). In 1993 it launched GSM services in UK, and its analogue eTACS service was discontinued in 2000 as part of changes to the regulation of spectrum in the UK. In 1999 Securicor sold its remaining shares to BT and the company was renamed BT Cellnet and became a part of the BT Wireless family of companies within BT.

After demerger from BT in 2001, BT Cellnet became O2 UK, a subsidiary of mmO2 plc.

This subsidiary of Telefónica Europe is currently named Telefónica O2 UK.

Out of all the major UK network operators, Telefónica O2 UK has the largest number of subscribers.