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  1. #1
    Member สมาชิก buksida's Avatar
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    Default The (failing) quest for decent mobile internet

    I've spent the last month or so in the UK, travelling around a lot with my mrs and kids. I work online so having a permanent internet connection is imperative (and you would think as fundamentally necessary as a phone itself in this day and age). Not so in England apparently - I will NEVER complain about connectivity in Thailand again.

    Lock-in household broadband connections are great, but not everybody has them and they're no good when travelling. They're also quite surreptitiously censored so you need Tor Browser to circumnavigate that.

    Now - on to mobile, which you'd think on a small island would be easy with coverage everywhere ... not so.

    The first difference is that you can't get a dual SIM phone here, luckily ours are all purchased in Thailand.

    Secondly you can't get an unlimited data package here, and bandwidth is expensive.

    Thirdly you can hardly get a bloody signal here, I think Thailand has better nationwide 3G coverage. (We've been primarily in London, Anglia, Essex and Kent.)

    I've tried nearly all of the providers now and here are my findings for those interested:

    EE - these have to be the worst of the lot, Kevin Bacon is full of crap, there is virtually no 4G signal anywhere with this provider, even tried in central London. You'll be lucky to make a phone call on an EE SIM.

    Three - marginally better than EE, but not much. Bought a mobile internet router (40 quid from Currys/PC World plus 23 quid a month direct debit) as it was recommended, but ended up returning it the following day and cancelling the contract as it would never get over one bar of 3G, not enough to check email. Yes, I did try it in several locations.

    Vodafone - bought one of these for the mrs and it seems to be better than the other two, always full bars but internet is slow and data packages are not cheap, a meagerly 500MB for a tenner.

    O2 - this is what I'm using now, had to go to the top floor of our accommodation and hang the phone out of the window to get a decent signal but the connection is still only 2G this morning. Bought a Tesco/O2 SIM and stuck a ten quid data package on it which gave me 2GB. It had run on 4G yesterday but alas no more today, I live in hope.

    I even had to write this post on notepad as the connection kept timing out, UK - you're a major disappointment, apparently you can get better internet speeds and connectivity in Lithuania.
    Last edited by buksida; 16th Apr 2017 at 08:30.

  2. #2
    Moderator Tobias's Avatar
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    Are you sure you're in the UK?

    Unlimited data plans are available and 4G speeds are very good. Could it be your equipment that's causing the issues you're experiencing?

    I'm intrigued about the censorship you mention, what is this?
    Tobias - โทเบียส

  3. #3
    Member สมาชิก buksida's Avatar
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    I've been to at least six different mobile shops and not one would sell me an unlimited data package. A link would be helpful if such packages are available.

    Nothing wrong with the hardware; using Lenovo, Samsung and Asus smartphones and tablets, Asus laptop on Linux Mint and Windows 10, all work perfectly in other countries.

    The censorship I've found so far are some live streaming websites and Pirate Bay which of course is illegal in the UK. They're not censored as such, just 'inaccessible' which usually equates to the same thing - though that isn't really the issue here.
    Last edited by buksida; 16th Apr 2017 at 10:30.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by buksida View Post
    I've been to at least six different mobile shops and not one would sell me an unlimited data package. A link would be helpful if such packages are available.

    Nothing wrong with the hardware; using Lenovo, Samsung and Asus smartphones and tablets, Asus laptop on Linux Mint and Windows 10, all work perfectly in other countries.

    The censorship I've found so far are some live streaming websites and Pirate Bay which of course is illegal in the UK. They're not censored as such, just 'inaccessible' which usually equates to the same thing - though that isn't really the issue here.
    They can't sell you an unlimited plan as the networks haven't given them an unlimited plan to sell.

    By the sounds of it you are using pay as you go. Very much the poor relative to contract and all the best deals are on contract.

    I put my wife on my Vodafone contract a few months ago and it made a huge difference. For £17 a month it's unlimited calls and text messages and 8Gb of internet. The best thing was the free BT wifi. We get 4G in most places and we travel all over the place. Both using iPhones.

    A VPN should allow you to bypass many of the things you consider censored.

  5. #5
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์
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    Three sell Huawei phones which have dual SIM.
    Lucky

  6. #6
    Premium Member sisaket's Avatar
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    Ah yes the pitfalls of travelling round a third world country...
    bangkok mags

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Are you sure you're in the UK?

    Unlimited data plans are available and 4G speeds are very good. Could it be your equipment that's causing the issues you're experiencing?
    Maybe in the cities Tobias but get out a bit and connections are terrible. I live out in the sticks and still can't get a signal at home whereas I have no problems in Thailand (referring to mobile signal rather than internet) - even in the most remote villages. 4G, I can't even get 2G and considering the amount of time mobiles have been around, its inexcusable.

    The government keep rattling on about sorting out rural mobile connections - rubbish! They've had the opportunity to sort it out many times - every time they issue the licences. Its simple, when licences are issued all they have to do is state that the signal must be available everywhere and that rural areas must be supplied first. Yes, it would no doubt put up the cost a little but it would benefit everyone.

    Last week I travelled from Harrogate to York as a passenger and every time I picked my phone up to make a call, there was either no or little signal and that's not particularly remote. Its just not good enough in this day and age.
    Last edited by Flip; 16th Apr 2017 at 19:10.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
    Three sell Huawei phones which have dual SIM.
    I would be interested to know if the Huawei phones have the same antennae etc that give a good connection to the various different phone bands etc that iPhones and Samsung phones have.Especially for the UK.

    I know that each time I upgrade from one iPhone to the next everything gets better and wifi calling has made a big difference too. I can still take and make calls as long as I have an internet connection.

    Thailand seem to stick cell towers up anywhere and there are far more restrictions and rules about where they go up in the UK.

  9. #9
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    I have been using Huawei Honor 7 for about a year now in the Uk with no problem with either 4g or call signal on Three network.

    It's pretty rural around here but have no problem in carrying out conversations even on the train,
    Lucky

  10. #10
    Premium Member caller's Avatar
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    Well I lived in a rural area and my other half never had any problems connecting to the wifi with her ipad. Even when sat in the local pub in a valley. She took it everywhere with her and seemed okay. I didn't use a smart phone in the UK so it was never an issue for me. At home, I used sky as there was no cable provider.
    'Tis me

  11. #11
    Member สมาชิก buksida's Avatar
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    We've been in both cities and rural, yes in built up areas the signal does seem to be a bit better but I'm amazed that there isn't nationwide coverage in a country so geographically small and technologically advanced.

    Anyway, on a pay as you go Tesco O2 SIM which is finally giving me 4G this morning (a few miles out of Folkestone). EE and Three were terrible, never more than two bars phone signal.

    Didn't want a contract as we're travelling at the moment and I don't know how long I'll stay in the UK. Guess I'm stuck with expensive bandwidth costs for now then!

  12. #12
    Premium Member Gary & Nok's Avatar
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    I'm on ID mobile (Carphone Warhouse) which piggyback on the 3 network. Pay-as you-go for £5 month gets 250 mins, 5000 texts & 1GB data. Coverage from Brum to Bucks is pretty good (nearly always 4G) and a damn sight better than vodafone used to be (ditched them in favour of this).
    Independence Day 31st January 2020

  13. #13
    Furniture เฟอร์นิเจอร์ ian1208's Avatar
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    I dumped the contract/s and switched to giffgaff with £20 goody bag. Unlimited everything. Just do every 30 days. Dumped the contract mobile as we'll. normally use windows phone but I sat on it and now uk doesn't supply dual sim so I'm waiting for a new Oneplus3T
    Judging others before you have met isn't a wise option.

  14. #14
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    O2 have been telling me they intend improving their signal in my area since I moved here - 30 years ago. I can just about get a signal in one bedroom window and that's it. Even fixed line internet, the max I can get is 1.5mb which in reality is about .7mb. Thankfully a company set up a Wifi signal a couple of years ago and I can get up to 20mb now - I chose the 10mb package. Mobile signal? I doubt they'll ever improve it unless they are forced to and the planners stop blocking applications for new masts.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip View Post
    O2 have been telling me they intend improving their signal in my area since I moved here - 30 years ago. I can just about get a signal in one bedroom window and that's it. Even fixed line internet, the max I can get is 1.5mb which in reality is about .7mb. Thankfully a company set up a Wifi signal a couple of years ago and I can get up to 20mb now - I chose the 10mb package. Mobile signal? I doubt they'll ever improve it unless they are forced to and the planners stop blocking applications for new masts.
    That is one of the big problems. Where they are allowed to site the masts. I have a mate in a small village in Hampshire which sits between two hills. The only network that works in the village is O2 and until wifi calling came along I used to have an O2 sim that I would swap to when I worked or visited his place by diverting from my Vodafone sim.

    Well worth trying trying a broadband checker that shows signal coverage of the various networks in specific postcodes if anybody is thinking of moving to the sticks.

  16. #16
    Banned Jakey's Avatar
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    Default The (failing) quest for decent mobile internet

    I live in a village 25k from surin in Thailand and I get 7mb at the least on the phone. I get 75mbs on the line they put through the village. Rip off Britain. Only 2 of us signed up for the line in the village. I'm out in the sticks.

  17. #17
    Member สมาชิก buksida's Avatar
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    Fairplay, I haven't seen anywhere in the UK with speeds as high as that.

    I've currently gone through my first 2GB with O2 since posting this, there goes another tenner, at this rate getting online in the UK via PAYG mobile is costing me over a hundred quid a month. Rip off indeed.

  18. #18
    Premium Member Gary & Nok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buksida View Post
    I've currently gone through my first 2GB with O2 since posting this, there goes another tenner, at this rate getting online in the UK via PAYG mobile is costing me over a hundred quid a month. Rip off indeed.
    Not rip off at all, you just need to help yourself

    Just a very quick 2 min look on Google found me this
    PAYG.jpg

    6GB for £13
    10GB for £23

    Clearly better deals available than what you have chosen
    Independence Day 31st January 2020

  19. #19
    Banned Jakey's Avatar
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    If you can get a signal

  20. #20

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    I an understand why the OP would be using PAYG but you do get ripped off in the UK using it. A contract is much, much, cheaper. Earlier in this thread I mentioned the deal that Vodaphone gave my wife piggybacked on my account for £17 a month and they gave me an extra sim for the iPad Mini that shares the data with my iPhone.

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