Which mobile operator is best in Escrick?

The simple answer appears to be Vodafone and O2, lagged some way by EE, and Three are not even in the game.

Both the technical theory and local feedback support this view.

The longer answer….

The first consideration is where they have masts:

  • Vodafone, O2 and EE all have masts on Stillingfleet Hill, but only Vodafone and O2 have masts much closer at the sewage works near the A19.

Contract type, WiFi calling and 4G calling:

  • EE, Vodafone and O2 all allow their pay monthly customers to make voice calls on their 4G network (sometimes called 'VoLTE' or '4G calling', providing the phone supports this feature). 
  • EE, Vodafone and O2 all allow their pay monthly customers to use 'wifi calling' - i.e. making calls via your home wifi network (providing the phone supports this feature).
  • However, they do not allow their PAYG customers to make voice calls on 4G or via Wifi calling. Whilst the phone will show a good signal strength and have good coverage for data use, these phones will switch back to 2G or 3G to make a phone call (3G having worse coverage due to using the higher 2100MHz frequency). This is particularly an issue for EE which relies most on 4G coverage for the village.
  • Similarly this feature is not available for all virtual network operators.


  • Not all handsets support VoLTE/4G calling and WiFi calling (indeed in some cases it depends where you bought the handset from). In some cases these features will need to be switched on from a settings menu.
  • If your reception appears much worse than others on the same network - it might be a limitation, or fault, with your handset.

Frequency ranges used:

  • Vodafone and O2 use 900MHz for 2G, this lower frequency performs better, particularly indoors, than the 1800MHz used by EE.
  • All operators use the same 2100MHz frequency for 3G.
  • All operators now use 800MHz frequency for 4G. Low frequencies like this travel better over longer distances and through walls/buildings.  


  • Finally it is worth giving some consideration to network congestion - you might have a strong signal, but if the network is congested, you might still get slow speeds.  Anecdotal evidence suggests this isn’t a problem on any of the 4G networks in Escrick at present.

What about others?

Other networks are essentially resellers, using capacity of one of the above four networks. Remember, however, they tend not to support 4G calling and WiFi calling, so may have worse performance in practice:


Used by


Asda, BT, PlusNet, Virgin Mobile


Tesco, Sky, Giff Gaff, TalkTalk


iD People, Superdrug


Talk Mobile, VOXI

But I used to be on O2, and it wasn't very good...

O2's mast at the sewage farm was only added around ~ 2015 - prior to then, coverage was noticeably worse than Vodafone.

But I used to be on EE, and it wasn't very good...

EE only migrated their 4G coverage to the 'better' 800MHz frequency in summer 2018 - prior to that coverage was poor. The move to 800MHz has significantly improved 4G coverage for those with suitable phones, but it still lags behind that provided by Vodafone and O2.

Outside of Escrick...

Most people want their phone to work in other locations too ....  whilst much will depend on precisely where you want to use your phone, and whether data is important ... generally EE tops the charts for best coverage nationally:  https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/mobile-phone-providers/article/which-phone-network-offers-the-best-signal

(This page is based on publicly available information as at December 2020 - inevitably things will change over time - so always check before you buy)

Related pages: Broadband in Escrick