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Cellular Networks: If you knows a better hole

 Old Bill, Bruce Bairnsfather
Old Bill, Bruce Bairnsfather’s war-weary soldier, knew a thing or two about alternative holes to go to.

For the past few years I’ve been a loyal customer of Vodafone, both for my iPhones and iPads. In the past year, though, I have been plagued by blackspots in the service. Here in my own area of west London I have two frequently visited locations where there is no 3G signal. This is a pain, made worse because both my SIMs are with Vodafone: It’s a case of one out, all out.

Other networks could be just as patchy; you never know until you’ve used them for a month of two. Indeed, when it comes to cellular coverage I am put in mind of Bruce Bairnsfather’s famous World War I cartoon character, Old Bill, hunkering down with a fellow soldier in a godforsaken shell hole: “If you knows a better hole go to it.” So it is with cellular networks. But you never knows until you tries.

Today I called at my local EE shop and walked out with a 4G SIM for the iPad mini. Until recently monthly plans had not been available, but EE has just introduced a range of tariffs starting at £15.99 per month (first month free) for 5GB of data. Previously I had been paying Vodafone £12.50 for 2GB of data, so the EE deal, bearing in mind it offers the faster LTE service in major cities, is very reasonable. The extra £3.50 would be worth it for the 4G, so the additional 3GB of data is a bonus.

The mini is now up and running and I will report more on my experiences when I have had a good play. At least, now, I have different service providers on iPhone and iPad so, with luck, I will have fewer instances of total lockout.

by Mike Evans, 21 December 2012