Poll: What’s the best network for the iPhone?

Here’s the latest poll we’ve added on Mobile Industry Review:

What do you think? Notice I left T-Mobile off the list since they’re more or less going to be ‘Orange’ in a year or so.

Vodafone is streaking ahead with 56% of the vote at the moment — this despite the rumour being they won’t launch their iPhone range until early next year.

Me, I think Orange is a serious player for the iPhone now.

Cast your vote to the right-hand-side of this page!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

24 replies on “Poll: What’s the best network for the iPhone?”

I think Orange will provide the most competent technical customer support for customers that might have data connection issues…definitely better than O2. Vodafone will probably have a better quality network…

Will be Orange or Voda for me personally in 3 months coming from o2 simply for the fact I will be able to get access to a better data network in the places I am most of the time, despite the shrewd tie up that o2 made with the wifi providers, as I already have access to these the wireless data becomes more important.

However the operator I would recommend to my friends and family would still be o2 for the simple fact their customer support means I get less hassle! (spoken like a true techy), but maybe this view will change?

Out of interest how much wireless data have people consumed on o2?

All this proves is that people don't choose networks based on reality. It's all about brand perception.

Vodafone? They do business, right? Must have the best data network then. With the most modern kit, the flattest IP architecture, and the smartest engineers to tune it all up.

Pah.

I paid them an awful lot of cash a while back, and had to go to the CEO when they wanted me to pay out a contract. anyway…

…the poll results reflect uninformed opinion, not empirical data performance.

I'm currently using a jailbroken iPhone 3GS on Vodafone. I can't say i've been overly impressed with the 3G coverage – but that's really because there isn't any at home and work for me… funnily enough I get super O2 3G at home which I can't use 😉 (but there's WIFI for home, so not a problem).

Out-of-town-centre 3G coverage is generally very hit-and-miss still – so many small patches of coverage paired with black holes.

One definite positive thing out of this (thought not necessarily for me already being on Vodafone!) is that the massive data use of iPhone users will be spread out amongst the networks.

I would agree that the Vodafone result of the poll *seems* to be a perception/branding thing, i'm not sure their 3G network is that much better than any of the others (i've used O2, Three, Voda).

Voda have one thing holding them back: They only use GPRS and HSDPA. They really need up upgrade all their 2G cells to EDGE…

I have been disappointed with the O2 3G coverage recently, can't fault their support team though as I haven't had a bad experience. I'm suprised that 3UK are in second place, be interesting to run this poll once the iPhone is available on all networks to see the outcome!

I've noticed that *some* Vodafone 2G sites have been upgraded to EDGE. Not sure if it will be a nationwide roll out.

(I work for Vodafone, but not in network design, these are my personal views)

Why should the iPhone 3G / 3GS need EDGE when other smartphones and mobile broadband users haven't required it? O2 rolled out EDGE for the first iPhone because it was a 2G only handset at a time when smartphones running competing OSes were 3G, HSDPA or even HSPA capable. The other networks will only be getting 3G capable iPhones.

EDGE support on Vodafone would be nice – there will be few data users that never go into places that lack 3G coverage. I just can't see Vodafone or any other network replacing non-EDGE capable 2G gear now. 2G roll out has been essentially complete for some years, and I would think there has to be a strong business case made for any 2G network upgrades (such as a new corporate contract in a location where there are coverage problems).

There might be areas where 3G roll-out is a long way ahead and EDGE is 'low hanging fruit', requiring minimal expense to enable. Apart from that, where is the return on investment?

One outcome of the Digital Britain process should be permission for O2 and Vodafone to refarm 900MHz spectrum to 3G. That should make 3G roll out economically feasible in areas where it has so far been too expensive. Of course, refarming reduces capacity on 2G, which leads to a chicken and egg situation. So far, users who have no interest in data haven't had any justification to pay extra for a 3G capable handset (unless they want to use '3' or really care about 3G video calls and are prepared to pay the outrageous prices the networks charge for them). The networks may have to tempt especially the heavier voice users to switch to 3G handsets in order to refarm spectrum without adversely affecting the 2G network.

Vodafone has femtocells – but the justification for them is rather slim from a user point of view. There's no price break for traffic going via a femto, which is hopefully something that Vodafone will rectify once they've proved Access Gateway as a product. I have 3G coverage at one side of the house and not the other, but as my handset uses Wi-Fi in the house for data, the only benefit of a Vodafone Access Gateway would be for voice traffic at home to benefit from the better 3G voice quality.

I am a happy Vodafone user with a HTC Touch HD (yes – Windows Mobile – please don't shoot me, Ewan) that I bought outright. I get great value compared to what I was paying a couple of years ago with a SIM Only contract plus unlimited data (I managed to get the £5/month version even though I'm on a 30 day contract), Vodafone Family and the 50 MMS pack.

With the market moving more to smartphones and mobile broadband, I'd like to see thought given to better quality data coverage, using 3G at 900MHz or EDGE where appropriate, also price breaks for traffic via femtocells. It doesn't matter which handsets and smartphone OSes are being talked about – though if the iPhone focusses thinking at the MNOs, that's no bad thing.

Pricing of traffic via femtocells may be revisited if there's any changes in termination rates.

Why should the iPhone 3G / 3GS need EDGE when other smartphones and mobile broadband users haven't required it? O2 rolled out EDGE for the first iPhone because it was a 2G only handset at a time when smartphones running competing OSes were 3G, HSDPA or even HSPA capable. The other networks will only be getting 3G capable iPhones.

EDGE support on Vodafone would be nice – there will be few data users that never go into places that lack 3G coverage. I just can't see Vodafone or any other network replacing non-EDGE capable 2G gear now. 2G roll out has been essentially complete for some years, and I would think there has to be a strong business case made for any 2G network upgrades (such as a new corporate contract in a location where there are coverage problems).

There might be areas where 3G roll-out is a long way ahead and EDGE is 'low hanging fruit', requiring minimal expense to enable. Apart from that, where is the return on investment?

One outcome of the Digital Britain process should be permission for O2 and Vodafone to refarm 900MHz spectrum to 3G. That should make 3G roll out economically feasible in areas where it has so far been too expensive. Of course, refarming reduces capacity on 2G, which leads to a chicken and egg situation. So far, users who have no interest in data haven't had any justification to pay extra for a 3G capable handset (unless they want to use '3' or really care about 3G video calls and are prepared to pay the outrageous prices the networks charge for them). The networks may have to tempt especially the heavier voice users to switch to 3G handsets in order to refarm spectrum without adversely affecting the 2G network.

Vodafone has femtocells – but the justification for them is rather slim from a user point of view. There's no price break for traffic going via a femto, which is hopefully something that Vodafone will rectify once they've proved Access Gateway as a product. I have 3G coverage at one side of the house and not the other, but as my handset uses Wi-Fi in the house for data, the only benefit of a Vodafone Access Gateway would be for voice traffic at home to benefit from the better 3G voice quality.

I am a happy Vodafone user with a HTC Touch HD (yes – Windows Mobile – please don't shoot me, Ewan) that I bought outright. I get great value compared to what I was paying a couple of years ago with a SIM Only contract plus unlimited data (I managed to get the £5/month version even though I'm on a 30 day contract), Vodafone Family and the 50 MMS pack.

With the market moving more to smartphones and mobile broadband, I'd like to see thought given to better quality data coverage, using 3G at 900MHz or EDGE where appropriate, also price breaks for traffic via femtocells. It doesn't matter which handsets and smartphone OSes are being talked about – though if the iPhone focusses thinking at the MNOs, that's no bad thing.

Pricing of traffic via femtocells may be revisited if there's any changes in termination rates.

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