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Uswitch 2021 Awards Name the Best UK Mobile Operators

Monday, February 22nd, 2021 (9:24 am) - Score 2,712
1st place cup broadband award

The winners of the annual Uswitch.com Mobile Awards 2021 have today been unveiled, which among other categories saw smaller operators like giffgaff scooping “Network of the Year,” while Asda Mobile were hailed as the “Best Network for Customer Service” and Smarty took home the win for “Best Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Network.”

As usual the comparison site appears to have selected its winners via a combination of methods. Most of the awards were decided based on a survey of 17,000 UK consumers, while several other categories were chosen by a panel of judges from the fields of consumer affairs, personal finance and technology. The Fastest Mobile Network (mobile broadband) award was separately based on speedtest data from opensignal.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many mobile operators to reduce the number of staff dealing with customer service enquiries at call centres, making Asda Mobile’s award for Best Network for Customer Service particularly notable. Another smaller provider, Lebara, was named Best Value SIM Only.

2021 Mobile Award Winners and Runners-up

MOBILE Winner Runner-up
Best Network Coverage O2 EE
Best Network for Customer Service Asda Mobile Sky Mobile
Best Network for Data Three Smarty
Best Network for Roaming (judges’ award) Three EE
Fastest Mobile Network – Based on analysis derived from Opensignal* EE Vodafone
Best Pay Monthly Network Sky Mobile Tesco Mobile
Best PAYG Network Smarty Lebara
Best Retailer for Customer Service John Lewis Apple
Best SIM Only Network Three O2
Best Value Pay Monthly Sky Mobile Tesco Mobile
Best Value SIM Only Lebara Smarty
High Street Retailer of the Year Apple John Lewis
Manufacturer of the Year Apple Samsung
Handset of the Year (judges’ award) iPhone 12 Pro Max Samsung S20 FE 5G
Mobile Reseller of the Year A1 Comms Mobile Phones Direct
Network of the Year giffgaff Tesco Mobile
Online Retailer of the Year (judges’ award) Amazon AO.com
Most Popular Mobile Network Three O2
Telecoms Innovation Award Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G Vodafone Standalone 5G

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
12 Responses
  1. Bubblesthefish6 says:

    Smarty isn’t a payg network lol. They offer SIMO.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      It’s probably because in the world of modern mobile operators, PAYG = 1 Month terms. Granted, I don’t see that as being truly PAYG, but mobile operators have changed that landscape quite a bit.

    2. M says:

      Never mind ignore me you are 100% right, that link goes to a page which then only goes to the SIMO offers page.

    3. Bubblesthefish6 says:

      M scroll down its still simo

    4. Bubblesthefish6 says:

      M Sorry i didnt read your update lol

    5. Michael V says:

      PAYG… SIM only.
      Kinda the same thing. But they are comparing Prepay to Contract.

  2. M says:

    So Tesco Mobile is runner up in best network and best pay monthly and best value, yet doesn’t win or come runner up in any of the other categories?
    Great to see Smarty win a couple of things. I believe though that O2 still caps the speeds for Tesco Mobile if I recall? But your YMMV.

    1. Ryan Harvey says:

      I believe 02 still have a 3 tier network priority.

      One: 02 Business/Contact
      Two: O2 Payg, Tesco Mobile
      Three: MVNO including Giffgaff

      Not sure if Sky mobile a other major MVNO on 02 is on the same tier as Tesco.

  3. Essa Moshiri says:

    I have a strong opinion as while O2 have a good coverage, they don’t have the speed on the data. Which means that half of the time the one thing you need at that moment is not working. My personal experience with the most stable network is EE by far and yet they are by far the most expensive one.

    An example, with O2 I have a 5G coverage in the town Centre, yet half of the high street is not covered, and the other half where it is working, I don’t get more than 50Mbit while at the same time with Voodafone and EE i get higher bandwidth with 4g.

  4. Vodafone UK says:

    O2 , really ???

  5. Richard says:

    Everyone gets a prize, it looks like they do lol

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