More than ever, choosing a network depends on the reliability and speed of its 3G coverage as well as its range of handsets and tariffs. Our winner won your votes for all of the above, and then some.
WINNER Vodafone One of the UK's Big Four networks, Vodafone is home to many a satisfied customer, as over 60% of its users attested to. Its network coverage was rated excellent or very good - and no wonder. Along with a stated 2G coverage of 99% and a 3G coverage of 85% of the population, Vodafone also offers Sure Signal, a booster box for people living in the countryside or older buildings with thick wall, ensuring you'll get those calls, texts and emails no matter where you go. It's one of the top networks for smartphones whatever your budget too, with a range that includes all the popular superphones as well as its recently launched own-brand series of low-end, high-value smarties. Of course, it helps that in our increasingly online existence, Vodafone's website is a well-designed, easy portal for managing your bills and accounts, and even phone and tariff upgrades.
Shortlisted Runner up O2 Last year's winner nearly held on to its crown, and the original exclusive carrier of the iPhone is still a well rated network. Its SIM-only Simplicity tariffs continue to be a hit for no-strings-attached value seekers, while its contract handset range is excellent, offering a ton of the latest phones on a huge variety of tariffs. O2 lays claim to 99.9% 2G and 84% 3G coverage of the UK, and it looks like that's working pretty well for many of you.
T-MobileAfter joining up with Orange last year to form Everything Everywhere, T-Mobile entered the Best Network shortlist this year. It gets to share Orange's bandwidth so that wherever T-Mobile encounter low coverage on their home network, their phones automatically switch over to the citrusy operator. Makes sense then, that over half of the 2,400 readers on T-Mob rated its coverage as very good or excellent.
Tesco MobileAppearing in our shortlist for the second year running, Tesco Mobile is still the only network offering the iPhone 4 on a 12-month contract - no mean feat considering it's actually a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) running off O2's network. Its tariffs clock in just that much lower than its major-network competitors because hey, every little counts.
ThreeThe UK's smallest major network is its hardest working, with its 3G coverage stretching over 97.5% of the population, and a pedal-to-the-metal mast building strategy. Three also claims to be the best network for the iPhone, but with insanely good value deals such as truly unlimited data on a £3 top-up, we reckon it's a pretty great choice for any smartphone at all.