The rapid development of technology and capabilities in the communications industry has transformed what mobiles can do, and has prompted the meteoric rise of both the handset and the technology that the networks are built on.
UK mobile phone networks have also massively expanded their coverage, so that we can stay connected to our friends and family wherever we are in the world.
There are several other mobile phone networks currently in business in the UK, but they are all owned by one of the five companies above. These mobile networks operate under a different name but still using one of the major networks. These mobile networks are referred to as Mobile Virtual Network Operators. For example, Virgin Media is a mobile virtual network operator, using T-Mobile's network.
Is a mobile phone network the same as mobile manufacturer?
No. Whereas a mobile phone manufacturer like Nokia, Samsung or Sony Ericsson produce the mobile phone handset, the mobile phone handset itself only works along with a SIM card. The SIM card is affiliated to a mobile phone network, and it is the network that allows mobile phones to communicate with each other.
A mobile phone network works using a series of cells, each served by a base station which receives and sends radio signals to the mobile phone handsets. Without the network of base stations to send and receive the signals, mobile phones would not work as they are intended.
The 3 mobile phone network
3 was the first UK mobile phone network to offer 3G coverage. This means that it initiated the delivery of high-quality, media-rich content over our mobile phones. As a mobile phone network, they have a reputation for offering excellent data and internet services.
Compare all phones available on Three.
The Orange mobile phone network
The Orange mobile phone network is a major UK and world brand with both a strong network and customer base in the UK. The Orange network has more base stations than any other UK mobile phone network and offers a comprehensive overseas service for customers.
Compare all phones available on Orange.
The O2 mobile phone network
Formerly BT Cellnet, the O2 mobile phone network is established as a reliable UK mobile phone network provider. O2 has outstanding UK coverage and is seen by many as the nation's leading provider of customer service.
Compare all phones available on O2.
The T-Mobile mobile phone network
T-Mobile has the world's largest WiFi network, with thousands of WiFi Hotspots in the UK alone. As one of the UK's largest mobile phone networks, it has millions of customers and some of the best coverage on its 3G mobile network.
The Vodafone mobile phone network
Vodafone is one of the oldest UK mobile phone networks, as well as one of the most trusted and reliable, consistently providing customers with a terrific mobile phone network service across the UK. It also the second largest mobile network operator in the world in terms of number of global subscribers.
Compare all phones available on Vodafone