18 October 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Vodafone’s 4G proves to be a hit

vodafone 4g

In the battle to sign up customers for their new high-speed 4G mobile internet services, Vodafone appear to have done very well so far. Despite charging more for access and reception only being available in a select few areas of the country, Vodafone have reported that they have already signed up 100,000 customers since their 4G signal went live a few weeks ago.

Vodafone’s 4G originally launched just in London but Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield soon followed. They hope to rapidly expand their coverage over the coming twelve months. By the end of this year, they expect to have added 4G mobile internet to Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

Having said that, Vodafone have certainly concentrated their efforts on the capital and their coverage in London is very broad. They are boasting that it stretches across almost all of Greater London from Harlow to Dorking and from Windsor to Dartford. However, it won’t be until the end of 2015 before they can say that they cover 98% of the country’s population.

Vodafone’s 4G offer may be somewhat more tempting than their rivals because they have been offering unlimited data for the first three months on all their 4G tariffs. While may not seem to make a huge difference as it is only a small fraction of a 24 month long contract, it’s certainly better than a kick in the teeth.

Furthermore, at the moment it seems that Vodafone’s tariffs offer much better value than their competitors’ – to be honest, this aggressive pricing is probably a necessity if they want compete against EE’s early mover advantage. And Vodafone have also tried to convince customers that they provide added value by throwing in extras such as free music from Spotify Premium or free sports viewing on Sky Sports Mobile TV. They also chucked in an extra 4 GB of data allowance for all early adopting customers.

It certainly seems that their marketing efforts have been a reasonable success as Vodafone have been widely publicising their sales figures. In contrast, EE were rather more cagey about how many signups they’d achieved and it took them five months to get 1 million customers onto its more expensive 4G tariffs. At the current rate, we think that Vodafone will be pretty pleased with their results and, as the service becomes available in more regions, they will only boost their figures further.

Are you using 4G on your mobile phone yet? If so which operator are you with and why did you choose them? What you think of Vodafone’s deals and do the free extras they’re offering make any difference to your decision? Or are you waiting for Three’s 4G service to become available?

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17 October 2013 ~ 6 Comments

Unlimited everything with The People’s Operator

tpo unlimited everything

Ever wish you could save loads of money with a better mobile deal and make a difference at the same time? With The People’s Operator, UK mobile users can do just that and there’s no better time to get involved that now as they have just launched their new “Unlimited Deal”. Could this be the best offer currently on the market? In what must be a UK first, they are currently offering completely unlimited calls, texts and data – unlimited everything for just £14.99/month.

TPO have turned talking into a force for good by building a network that’s hardwired to support charity causes, converting its calls, text and data into donations – at no cost to its customers. They direct 10% of your monthly mobile bill to a cause or charity of your choice. It costs you nothing extra and is a great way to do your bit. Add to that the massive value of the Unlimited Deal and a responsible approach to running their business and you’ve got a new kind of mobile offer to be reckoned with.

How do they manage to do this without taking extra from your bank balance? They promise to match their fundraising ambitions with customer value and, like Giffgaff, they do this by cutting back on unnecessary overheads and flashy advertising. So while you won’t find them yelling at you from giant billboards or assaulting you on the high-street dressed as massive rubber phones, you will find their deals are better than the big guys. Which means you get better value on your minutes, messages and megabytes and also make it really easy to help the charity you care about the most.

At the moment, TPO are offering both a PAYG tariff as well as a monthly SIM-only rolling contract. But it’s their brand new Unlimited Everything 30 day rolling contract that has caught our attention. It’s a great new package – offering unlimited Talk, Text and Data for just £14.99. Plus while you’re chatting away, you can choose to support a good cause for free – if you have a charity you’d like to help, TPO will give 10p to a cause of your choice for every £1 you spend at no cost to you. There is a fair usage policy but it’s incredibly generous for the money and, with the fantastic low price of £14.99 and the added bonus of helping good causes for free, it’s ridiculously tempting.

TPO say that good business isn’t about making gestures, it’s about having a positive impact. That’s why they’ve built their network from the bottom up to do business right. Their customers come before shareholders and – as well as pledging 10% for customer who want to do their bit – they’re also committed to sharing a quarter of their profits every year with worthwhile causes through the TPO Foundation.

If your existing network is letting you down, or you simply want a change, switching over to the network is very easy indeed and you can keep your existing phone number. TPO also runs on EE, the UK’s largest 3G network, so you get excellent coverage across the country.

So, if you’re interested making the leap over to The People’s Operator and “turning your calls into kindness” why not grab their Unlimited Everything Package today while it’s still available (the offer ends on 5 November).

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14 October 2013 ~ 3 Comments

Three becomes 4(G)

3 ultrafast

Three Mobile have recently announced more details about the rollout of their forthcoming 4G mobile internet services. Although they are the last network in the UK to announce the full details of their plans, they have now confirmed which regions will receive 4G signal this year.

The rollout has been pencilled in for the latter half of 2013 for a while, but is only just now that we’re getting a clearer timeframe. Three have announced that, initially, only four cities will be able to use their superfast 4G service. These will be Birmingham, London, Manchester and, perhaps the surprise of the bunch, Reading.

These regions have clearly been chosen for a couple of reasons. Firstly they are all among the largest cities in the country and secondly they are all sprawling conurbations that also cover other highly-populated metropolitan areas. So, for example, people living in places such as Dudley, Alden, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton will also benefit from the 4G signal being broadcast in these areas.

Don’t worry if you don’t live in any of these regions though – Three have promised that they will up the pace of their rollout next year. There will be even more cities receiving high-speed 4G signal by the end of 2014. In fact, if you include smaller areas covered already by Birmingham, London Manchester and Reading this will bring the total to fifty. The cities that will be added next year are the following:

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

Three’s long-term plan is to have 98% of the UK population covered with 4G signal by the end of 2015. It has been a frustrating time as consumers have patiently waited for 4G to hit our shores. Thankfully, now all the rigmarole with the Ofcom auction is long behind us and it’s just up to the networks to get all the infrastructure in place to be turned on as soon as possible.

Some will wonder what is taking everyone so long since EE have had a working 4G signal for what is coming up to a year now and are in the middle of adding vast swathes of the country to their current regions. For those who don’t live inside some of the larger cities in the country, it will be far from reassuring to hear that it may be until the end of 2015 before they have any decent coverage.

After all, most Western European countries and the US as well as plenty of places in Asia have been using their high-speed 4G services for some time now. In these places, it has become the exception not to have 4G service and many couldn’t imagine going back to flaky, laggy 3G speeds. After all, Three have done little to explain why it’s going to take several years simply turn on a few cell towers and network switches. Even if they have to construct new antennae, it should not be such a laborious process.

Three is not the only network that is dragging its heels with its 4G rollout. We were disappointed to hear that even O2 and Vodafone don’t seem to be planning to prioritise this service. Both of their 4G services were activated at the end of August but their timescale for the rollout to large-scale regions seems to be on the order of years rather than weeks or months.

One can wonder whether this might be due to the increased costs 4G networks are facing due to the high bandwidth requirements of their customers, but even this conspiracy theory seems a little bit far-fetched. Still, at the end of the day, it is only customers who are losing out by this increasingly drawn-out process.

Even worse are the omissions on the list of cities due to get their 4G capability. After all, while it may seem impressive to have 50 cities covered by the end of 2014, no mention is made of the places that aren’t going to be covered. It seems a little bit absurd that massive cities such as Edinburgh, Swansea, Bath, and Worcester still won’t be covered even by the end of next year. Surely all the people who live in these areas that won’t have the option to use Three for their 4G coverage will feel that is a bit of an oversight that they have been left out?

At least Three is doing something right about its new 4G service. They are the only network who have announced that they will not be charging a premium for people who want to take up their offer. All the other networks have simply seen 4G as a way to squeeze more money out of their long-suffering customers. Instead, Three appear to be seeing it as a way to distinguish their service.

In fact, Three are traditionally one of the most internet-friendly mobile networks in the era of increasingly strict monthly data caps and bans on mobile tethering. They have long offered truly unlimited data plans and many other tariffs and stand by their word by not disconnecting even the customers with the heaviest usage.

We can only applaud this forward-thinking customer service as it makes those attempting to restrict people’s use of their mobiles appear to be simple Luddites in comparison. It it sheer madness not to realise that we will become ever more reliant on mobile data in the future and that attempting to hold people back by imposing artificial restrictions simply to save a few pennies in the short-term is damaging to all of us.

In light of this, we can see another positive to Three’s 4G offering despite the delays. As well as pledging not charge extra for fast Internet access, the company have also made it clear that they’ll be offering unlimited tariffs so youcan really make the most of your high-speed Internet connection. EE’s incredibly low data allowances have been harshly criticised as being about as useful as a chocolate teapot since the greater bandwidth offered by 4G means it is possible to burn through months worth of internet in just a few minutes. Critics have argued that there is no point having fast internet if you only end up being up to use it less as a result.

Do you live in any of the regions that will be seeing Three’s 4G service by the end of the year? Or have you tried 4G mobile Internet from one of the other network operators? You think is worth paying any extra money for or are you happy with 3G on your mobile? And you can choose any of the networks to be your 4G provider who would you choose and why?

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