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UK Internet can take many weeks to switch on, so the ideal interim measure is to use a Personal hotspot on a mobile phone. Easy?! I think not.

After moving a few times in the last year and now paying for my own mobile phone, this is what I now do:

Buy 4 SIM card for the 4 mobile networks at the supermarket for 99p each. Then test the actual coverage from my new house.

Mobile Phone Networks

There are 4 physical phone networks in the UK. Others such as Tesco piggyback.

  • EE (which are ex Orange, T-Mobile and Hutchison 3G)
  • Three
  • O2
  • Vodaphone

Deals

For me it didn’t matter. All the areas I’ve lived in have had marginal coverage, so I bought the best plan available for that network.

Three offer unlimited (1TB) are very exciting especially if you can get 5G.

Tethering (personal hotspot)

I mistakenly thought using some old phones would be a good idea. They didn’t get as good a signal as my new(ish) iPhone7. So the moral of the story is to use a new phone!

Boosting the signal

The ultimate campervan setup has an interesting link on putting in a signal booster for 4G coverage for data. This looks very interesting.

mobilerepeater.co.uk looks like a good start for boosting a signal, and 4G Mobile Phone Signal Boosters may be worth trying out, perhaps with a money back guarantee?

Specifically this one may be worth trying for fun.

SpeedTest.net on the mobile phone gives a good idea of speed

OpenSignal provide independent maps and data on signal coverage.

Conclusion

Chatting to friends in the know there are some opinions (for the SE of England anyway)

  • O2 is a good network but EE better in some locations
  • No love for Three (coverage lacking, and hesitancy about ability to keep providing unlimited)
  • O2 data is expensive ie £30 for 100GB (but probably get good reliability)