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iPhone 4 (continued) Which carrier?

Following on from yesterday’s post about the costs associated with an early upgrade to iPhone 4, the next thing to be considered is which network to choose as my carrier.

I’ve been with O2 since the first iPhone was launched in the UK in 2007. This was not through choice but simply that O2 was the exclusive carrier at that time, just as AT&T is in the US. Prior to the iPhone launch, I had been a Vodafone customer since 1997. I found that Vodafone’s network coverage suited me - giving good signal pretty well everywhere I went. O2, however, does not. I have no signal at all in my home, even though I live less than quarter of a mile from a transmitter. I work at numerous locations within a 20 mile radius of home and reception is mixed. Mixed enough to necessitate me carrying a second mobile phone on the Vodafone network for reliable business calls. My Vodafone handset was a Sony Ericsson K750i, which was absolutely fine. When I upgraded my first generation iPhone to the 3GS, I had the first gen. unlocked and transferred my Vodafone PAYG sim to it to use for calls only, as Vodafone didn’t, at that time provide a calls and data iPhone package. It was immediately obvious to me that reception was significantly poorer with the iPhone than it had been with the Sony Ericsson. Many work locations cause unacceptable dropped calls. I can only assume that this is the fault of either the antenna in the iPhone, the aluminium enclosure of the first generation model, or a combination of both. When I upgrade to the iPhone 4, I simply want a phone that gives perfect coverage wherever I need to be. Not too much to ask, really. Since the iPhone was opened up to other carriers in the UK there are now four networks offering service plans, (Bizarrely iPhones in the US are still tied solely to AT&T). It had been my intention to switch to Vodafone as soon as my current O2 contract expires, now, I’m not so sure. There’s certainly no point switching to Tesco Mobile, as it is run on the O2 network. So, that leaves Orange. I’ve had no experience of Orange at all, so I may buy a PAYG sim from them and try it in my unlocked iPhone for a while to assess coverage and service quality. I certainly don’t want so sign up to a Pre-Pay contract for 18 to 24 months to find myself even more disappointed than I currently am with O2.

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