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4G - EE or O2?

Who do I use for 4G...and why?

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I’m quite a big mobile data user, and across multiple devices. I’ve my phone (an iPhone 5S), my iPad Air Cellular, my main Macbook Pro workhorse..and also a
Samsung XE700 Windows 8.1 tablet (Catchy name, hey). My iPhone/Air and the Samsung all have Cellular connections, and my MBP I often tether to my phone or iPad Air.

My iPhone and iPad Air both use O2, and a benefit of the 5S/C & Air is that they both support the 4G band utilised by O2. The Samsung device only supports 3G natively, but of course I can tether it with the iPad or iPhone.

Anyway...I’ve ended up with a couple of 4G O2 Contracts (iPhone & iPad), and an EE pay as you go 4G. Why the two? Well, one of the sites I spend a lot of time has very poor O2 signal, but a strong EE one....so I’ve got a short term EE 4G that I pop in my iPad Air and tether my laptop to now and again.

EE got the start on the market with their 4G offering, and support more devices due to their banding - you can get their 4G service on an iPhone 5 for example, whereas on O2 you need a 5S/C to support it. What’s the performance like? Well...let’s look at my current performance figures on the same phone with an O2 4G SIM and then with an EE 4G SIM - EE on the
left, and O2 on the right:

EEO2

Quite a bit of difference hey? The O2 download is 3.75 times faster than the EE one. Of course coverage varies, however in general where I can get an O2 signal, I find the O2 performance consistently
significantly faster than the EE equivalent.

POINT OF CLARITY: As has just been pointed out to me, it’s unfair to say that EE is always about the 20Mbps mark, because it isn’t. I do now and again see 40Mbps+ performance - but it’s fairly rare for me even living and working in Central London, whereas the O2 service is consistently 30/40Mbps plus.

What about general coverage? That’s a difficult one for me to answer, as I don’t generally use the EE device - I default to the O2 ones for my main contract usage, but what I will say is that the O2 service is consistently faster than EE wherever I’ve used it....bar the site in Oxford where bizarrely I get very little O2 signal.

SIM Sizes
As a quick side note - it’s annoying the mix of normal/nano/micro-sims isn’t it? Especially if you’re like me and you swap devices a lot. Fortunately there’s an easy solution -
SIM Adapters. All of mine are nano-SIMs now, I just use the adapters for any other devices. Works well enough.


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