A couple of years ago I left EE. It was, for me, a pretty big change. For some companies and some services, I’m fairly loyal. A lot of people are. For example, I’ve never switched my bank, despite them being generally dire for several years running.
What about by mobile phone?
With EE I was really loyal. I joined them when they were Orange back in 1997 I think it was. A big Nokia 5.1 was in my pocket back then, and I stuck with them for years and years. The merger of T-Mobile and Orange, then the early leap that EE had with their 4G roll-out – I was still a customer. However, I had to leave because I was simply getting no real signal in my new office. I was sat right next to the window, but I’d get one bar of GPRS if I was lucky. Outside the window, I’d get full-on 3G+, but the building would kill the signal.
It took me a long time to leave because they really tried to hold onto me – even after I requested the PAC code. I switched to giffgaff as (running on O2), it was one of only two networks that can get into the building. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been happy with giffgaff and I love the freedom and flexibility. Trouble is, the speeds have been dropping recently as new buildings are built nearby and extra people hop onto the network. There’s no 4G where I am and my 3G speeds aren’t great. Plus, in the other areas I am the most, the signal on O2 is patchy and mostly 2G.
If you’re a passenger in a car, try getting a 3G signal on O2 between junction 11 and junction 20 of the M6. It just doesn’t happen. If you do get 3G it’s only when you pass by a town, then it quickly goes again. 4G? No chance. You also lose signal completely in a number of areas of that motorway, despite what the coverage maps might say.
If you’re looking for a new network, I’d always recommend asking the people in your college, university or office to see if they get signal on the network you’re looking to move to. Don’t, please don’t, rely solely on those network coverage maps you see on the mobile network websites. They’re usually computer generated and rarely tested properly – especially inside buildings, which is where many mobile users sit and browse now.
However, now Ofcom have a mobile checker too. It still uses the coverage data supplied by the big networks, but combines them into one map with some projections to give you an idea on the coverage in your area – indoors and outdoors too. Head to their new coverage checker to do some research before you switch.
I, on the other hand, grabbed myself an EE Pay As You Go SIM recently and put it into the phone I normally use my giffgaff SIM in. I wanted to give by old network a test, so a 49p SIM card from the local newsagents was all it took. Surprisingly, with EE switching on 4G in my area, the signal pierced the office and I got one bar of 4G instead of one bar of GPRS. It’s because of this that I’m actually switching back.
So I’ve switched back. I’ve gone from a £12.99 giffgaff 3G-only plan (3GB data) to a 12 month £16.99 EE 4G plan (4GB data) with £45 of cash-back through Quidco. Work that £45 out and it’s £3.75 back per month. This effectively means I’m paying £13.24 per month fit 4GB of 4G data. Boom.
Shop around. Get a good deal, get a good signal – we’ll have more on all this soon.