Tesco Mobile 4G LTE has launched at a staggering £2.50 ($4.03/€2.94) in an attempt to rival ‘The Big Four’ main mobile networks in the UK comprising of O2, EE (which includes Orange and T-Mobile), Vodaphone and Three.
The price is on top the usual monthly contract, but is one of the cheapest 4G LTE tariffs to come to the UK market since EE launches their network a year ago. EE then had a monopoly on the market till O2 launched their own 4G network in September. As a result of the ten month monopoly, EE has expanded it’s network to include 117 towns and cities, where as O2 and Vodaphone only cover eight and six respectively.
Tesco Mobile is what is known as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), or more commonly known as a piggy-back network as they don’t own any cell towers, but uses bandwidth from O2, so Tesco Mobile 4G LTE will be limited to the eight towns and cities that O2 are currently in, currently London, Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool and Sheffield with Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow being added by the end of the year.
The Tesco Mobile 4G LTE tariff are part of Tesco’s Flexy-Bendy service, which means that you get to choose as and when you use 4G on a monthly basis and increase or decrease your Data limit (up to 8GB a month).
As an example of the disparity of tariffs between Tesco Mobile 4G LTE and it’s network partners O2, you can get an HTC One with the following
Tesco Mobile 4G LTE:
- Free upfront handset cost
- 250 minutes/Month
- 5000 texts/Month
- 1GB data/Month
- £23/Month phone cost
- £7/Month tariff cost
- £15/Month cap
- Anytime upgrade
- Free P&P
This all adds up to a £35/Month Contract and no upfront costs for an HTC One on a 4G tariff for 24 Months.
O2 4G Refresh:
- No upfront Handset costs
- Unlimited Texts
- Unlimited calls
- 1GB Monthly data
- £20/Month Phone costs
- £22/Month Tariff costs
- No cap
This adds to a total of £42/Month Contract and no upfront costs for an HTC One on a 24 month contract.
It’s clear that these two deals, despite using the same network, a very different. They were as close as I could get for the comparison. If you’re a heavy user, it’s clear that maybe the O2 tariff is better suited to you, as you won’t have to worry about talking or texting too much. If, however, you don’t talk or text much, and are often at home with a router, then a 1GB tariff from Tesco Mobile 4G LTE would be a better bet for you. You still get an HTC One, you still get 1GB/Month data usage, and you even get to cap your spending so if, for example, your router goes down for a couple of days and you end up streaming a load of video on your phone, you won’t get shocked by the next months bill.
Just to add confusion in to the mix, Three are yet to launch their 4G LTE network, expected by the end of the year, and have made bold statements that they won’t be charging anything more for 4G tariffs ontop of their 3G tariffs.
It looks like the 4G LTE market is set for a battle royale between all the UK networks and Piggy-back networks to see who can offer the lowest tariff. What are your thoughts? Do you think the Tesco Mobile 4G LTE deal is good? Will you be changing or are you waiting to see what Three offer when they launch their network? Leave a comment in below.