O2 vs EE: which should you choose?

We look at two of the UK’s mobile operators and see what they offer to businesses

Mobile phone mast

For many businesses, communication is the lifeblood of the organisation. Without a means to connect with colleagues, things can quickly grind to a halt.

Mobile communication is key, especially when needed to contact salespeople on the road. Two of the main mobile network operators, EE and O2, have services geared up for business. We breakdown what's on offer.

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4G coverage

One of the key focuses of EE is its 4G service. It had a head start on rivals when Ofcom allowed it to use 2G spectrum for 4G services. EE covers 81 per cent of the UK with its LTE service, compared with 66 per cent for O2. (Source: Ofcom)

Data Speeds

EE, like its rivals has undergone a series of tests to determine the average speed of its 4G service. According to this Ofcom report, EE managed average speeds of 18.6Mbps while O2 managed 13.9Mbps. For 3G the tables are turned with EE managing 4Mbps for 3G downloads compared with 6.6Mbps for O2.

Data Allowances

Both EE and O2 offer data allowances of up to 20GB. Neither offer unlimited data plans. The lowest allowance between the two comes from O2 with a plan that offers a paltry 100MB, EE offers 250MB at its minimum.

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Reach

EE covers around 200 towns and cities in the UK with its 4G network since its launch in the UK in October 2012. O2 launched its 4G network in the summer of 2013 and now covers 191 towns. Despite this near parity in the number of urban areas covered, O2 clearly covers a low proportion of the British population than EE at 66 per cent of the UK versus 81 per cent respectively.

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Plans

If you want a new phone from EE, you will have to commit to a 24-month contract, while SIM-only deals can be bagged for 12-months or a 30-day rolling contract.

O2 also stipulates 24-month contracts for those wanting new phones. However, its O2 Refresh gimmick allows users to upgrade early by splitting the tariff into an Airtime Plan and a Phone Plan. To upgrade, you pay off what's left of the Phone Plan and select a new mobile with a new Phone Plan. O2 also offers SIM-only plans on a 12-month or 30-day rolling basis.

Customer Service

According to Ofcom's Customer Satisfaction Survey, EE achieved an overall score of 69 per cent, while O2 managed a score of 78 per cent. The average mark was 73 per cent.

Other features

EE has a Film Store that offers movies available to watch on demand. It offers customers the chance to buy tickets for England football matches and live music events before the rest of the general public.

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O2 has Priority Moments that features exclusive deals for its customers. These include discounts for shops and restaurants. The app also offers access to popular Channel 4 shows 48 hours before they air on TV. It also offers tickets to gigs 48 hours before the general public.

Verdict

While EE arguably has the most extensive 4G network in terms of speed and coverage, O2 has more budget-friendly deals.

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