Vodafone, EE and Three miss out as best UK mobile network revealed

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The latest Uswitch Awards have been announced and you might be surprised by the winner of this year’s highly sought-after Mobile Network of the Year. Instead of going to household brands like EE, Vodafone, Three or Sky, the 2021 gong went to giffgaff with Tesco Mobile taking second place.

giffgaff was commended for its no-nonsense business model, which allows smartphone owners to be more flexible with their contracts. Rather than sign-up to lengthy contracts, giffgaff customers can pick and choose how much data, call minutes, and text messages they’ll need each month. So, as we’re all spending more time at home right now… they can reduce their monthly bills in a few clicks, rather than being tied to £50 direct debits for unused 5G data and international minutes.

Other surprise winners include Asda Mobile, which picked up the award for Best Network for Customer Service and SMARTY who won Best PAYG Network. Of course, there are also some less surprising results with EE winning Fastest Mobile Network, Three getting Best Network for Roaming and Sky taking home the prize for Best Pay Monthly Network. Vodafone and O2 also won gongs for Best SIM Only Network (Vodafone) and Best Network Coverage (O2).

Other awards went to Apple, which beat Samsung to be named as Manufacturer of the Year and also scooped Handset of the Year for the iPhone 12 Pro Max — the top-of-the-line model in the company’s first series of 5G-capable devices.

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Samsung was honoured with the Telecoms Innovation Award for the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, its folding phone with a tablet-like 7.6-inch screen that improved upon its predecessor.

Uswitch says its awards were voted for by more than 17,000 consumers as well as a judging panel of experts in the fields of technology, consumer affairs and personal finance.

Here are all the winners:

Network of the Year • giffgaff

Best Network Coverage • O2

Best Network for Customer Service • Asda Mobile

Best Network for Data • Three

Best Network for Roaming • Three

Fastest Mobile Network • EE

Best Pay Monthly Network • Sky Mobile

Best PAYG Network • Smarty

Best Retailer for Customer Service • John Lewis

Best SIM Only Network • Three

Best Value Pay Monthly • Sky Mobile

Best Value SIM Only • Lebara

High Street Retailer of the Year • Apple

Manufacturer of the Year • Apple

Handset of the Year • iPhone 12 Pro Max

Mobile Reseller of the Year • A1 Comms

Most Popular Mobile Network • Three

Speaking about the awards, Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com said: “giffgaff has won a place in consumers’ hearts with its no-nonsense business model, and it fully deserves its Network of the Year award.

“Once again Apple has taken home the Handset of the Year award, with the iPhone 12 Pro Max showing off a quality camera, stylish design and 5G for the first time. The absence of one provider sweeping the board at our awards this year shows how competitive the UK mobile market is, and also demonstrates what each network has to offer in the various categories.”

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