Until recently EE had been the only 4G network provider in the UK, meaning they have been able to charge a premium for 4G services and have become the benchmark for 4G price plans. All this looks set to change as other providers such as O2, Vodafone, and eventually Three begin to roll out their 4G networks, so it’s a good time to make a quick comparison of the price plans currently offered by these providers.
EE 4G Price Plans
As the most established 4G provider, the price plans from EE also seem to be the simplest and most comprehensive. On a 24 month contract they provide a range of options starting at £26 per month for 500MB data, and rising to £51 per month for 20GB data. On a 12 month contract these prices increase to £41 per month for 500MB data and £66 per month for 8GB data. All of these plans include unlimited calls and texts.
With a 24 or 12 month contract there is an additional cost for the phone itself, depending on which model you choose. For those that already have a 4G ready smartphone, it is possible just to buy a 4G sim from EE. These are available with various volumes of data, starting at £21 for 500MB and increasing to £61 for 20GB. EE also offers a 30 day sim only trial, which costs between £23 for 500MB and £63 for 20GB. Again, these plans all include unlimited calls and texts.
Vodafone 4G Price Plans
Vodafone have initially only rolled out 4G in London, and although they are increasing their coverage to Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield at the end of the month, it is wise to check their plans for your area before you buy a 4G phone or 4G ready plan. Users that purchase a 4G ready plan may already be able to make use of functions such as Spotify Premium, or Sky Sports Mobile TV before 4G is rolled out in their area.
Vodafone price plans vary depending on the make and model of phone you choose, so we’ve taken the Nokia Lumia 925 as an example. A 24 month contract which includes this particular phone will cost from £34 per month for 2GB data up to £44 per month for 8GB data. A 12 month contract will cost from £52 per month for 2GB data, up to £62 per month for 8GB data. Vodafone has just announced that anyone who signs up for their 4G-ready plans before the end of October will get an extra 4GB of data per month for the length of their contract
O2 4G Price Plans
O2 have initially launched 4G in London, Leeds, and Bradford, and are aiming to roll out the network rapidly over the coming months, but again it is a good idea to check availability in your area before signing up to a 4G plan.
O2 price plans for 4G vary, but checking the same phone we used for the Vodafone prices, the Nokia Lumia 925, we can make a general comparison. At first the prices appear more appealing with O2. A 24 month contract starts at £22 per month for 1GB data, increasing to £32 per month for 8GB data. However, this does not include the cost of the phone itself, which can be spread over the 24 months of the contract, or paid for upfront.
And the winner is?
On initial comparison Vodafone’s price plans appear to offer the best value when you need a 4G phone as well as the sim. However, their limited coverage means that it will be several months before the majority of the UK can benefit from these prices. The situation looks set to change again in December when Three rolls out its 4G network in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Three has committed to upgrading any customer with a 4G-ready phone to 4G services at no extra cost, and have also suggested they will be offering unlimited data, so watch this space.