Some years ago when virtual networks appeared they piggy backed on the more established networks. The original I believe were Virgin Mobile which operated on One2One (None2One, the odds of getting a signal :P) then T-Mobile now part of EE, and Genie operated on BT Cellnet (now O2).
Anywhere Sim (Available from Argos) is a new kid in town who wants to end poor signal issues in the UK. The SIM Cards break new ground because they automatically check all 3 UK Networks (O2, Vodafone and EE) to see which has the strongest signal, then it will route your calls, text and data via that network. There currently isn’t support for 4g but 3g is available, they do claim LTE/4g is coming in the future.
Support for the Three Network is due on the 10th August 2016, and monthly plans soon after. I suspect with Three on-board that the high speed data will come soon after.
Its interesting that this appears to be possible due to EU Roaming agreements. Basically behind this is Manx Telecom who are based on the Isle of Man, but it has a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement with o2 which is a UK operator. This means they give you an o2 phone number, but you are a Manx TC customer. As a MT customer you are effectively “roaming” in the UK, so much like roaming in Europe you can move from network to network.
Anywhere Telecom is strictly pay-as-you-go for now, but much like other networks it has various plans, well 3 plans at least. These are Home, UK and EU, each has slightly different prices, surprisingly these prices aren’t too different.
Home Plan – You are essentially and o2 customer, which is the “home network”, the twist is, you can still receive calls and texts through the other 2 networks but not make calls. Calls are 5p per minute, Texts are 5p per text, and data is 5p per megabyte.
UK Plan – You get to use all 3 networks to make and receive calls, text and use data across them anywhere in the UK. Calls are charged at 10p, texts at 5p and data at 10p per megabyte.
EU Plan – You get to roam all over Europe, connect to any network with a roaming agreement with o2 or Manx Telecom. The price of this, is calls in the EU are charged at 12p per minute.
It looks like this could be a killer deal if you live in a bad coverage area, and I can see this becoming all dominating network since coverage will be astounding. It just needs to get the monthly deals, cheap mobile phones, and the high speed data sorted.
It were the EU “interfering” with mobile roaming charges, which has made this possible, its an exciting time to be a mobile phone user.
Virtual Operators in the UK
On a side note, some other Mobile Virtual Network Operators are…
Asda Mobile uses EE
BT Mobile uses EE
Freedom Pop uses Three Mobile
iD Mobile uses Three Mobile
Giff Gaff uses o2 Telecom
Lebara uses Vodafone
LycaMobike uses o2 Telecom
TalkTalk uses Vodafone
Tesco uses o2 Telecom
Virgin uses EE
There are about 60+ such MVNO’s in the UK alone.