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Fairphone 3- which mobile network provider works best?

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Hi all,

I recently purchased a Fairphone 3 (straight out), which will be shipping out to me mid-November.

In preparation, I’m thinking about which mobile network provider to go with.

It will be a sim only deal. I’ve done some looking and seen that giff gaff do some very good deals. However, I was wondering if people think that giff gaff would provide good signal to a fairphone 3? I saw an article written about the fairphone 1, which suggested that it they recommended going with the main big network providers, rather than ‘daughter’ companies.

I am currently with vodafone and so could just transfer across, if Vodafone would be better. Luckily vodafone are willing to offer me as good a deal as giff gaff, but giff gaff still seems a better option due to flexibility (ability to change deal each month).

In general, do people know if certain networks work best with the fairphone 3 or is any fine? Or perhaps it depends on your location?

I really appreciate any help anyone can offer on this. I really don’t know a lot about this issue.

Thank you!

Please note that the FP1 does not support LTE while the FP3 does. So the focus of networks for FP1 and FP3 differ: For FP1, you need a good 3G reception, for FP3, you need a good 4G reception.

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The Fairphone 3 supports LTE on bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 20, 26 . A table of bands used by different providers is found here . For best coverage, you want to tick as many of the bands of your chosen provider as possible. From first glance, the FP3 should give you good coverage with all UK networks. Only recently did they start venturing out into bands unsupported by the FP3 (bands 32, 38 and 40).
If you are interested in using Voice-over-LTE, contact your provider to see if they enable it for your future bring-your-own FP3. It looks like all four providers, and by extension all the MVOs too, should be able to make it work with your phone.

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Mine’s been working quite happily on EE in the UK.

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Off-topic for the FP3, but I didn’t have any issue using the FP1 with GiffGaff (or the few other MVNOs I’ve used).

Regarding the FP3, there is a note in the dual-SIM help pages that suggests there may be some issues using MVNOs in a dual SIM configuration, but that comment was so vague that I’m not sure whether that is a common issue, or only happens in some specific cases.

I don’t know which country you’re from, but I just read a provider test in Germany that claimed that the big providers aren’t allowed to treat SIM cards from third party companies that buy into their networks worse than their own SIMs. Differences only result from different plans - e.g. the minutes or data speed included. So, go with your areas best network and look for the best plan for your needs. First or third party shouldn’t matter.

In EU, it is going to work everywhere where LTE is.

An accurate answer requires you to state which country you are mainly using your FP3 in. Even that is still limited, as it does not include the locations you mostly reside, your commute, your travels. Basically, the places where you’d mainly use your FP3.

You do not have to share this information though. There are 4G maps on the internet which show exactly where cell towers are located. It showed that in my living location, 4G was exactly between 3 cell towers of my provider hence I had bad reception because all 3 were on the outer range. This caused some battery drain on FP2, but also this has recently improved a lot, plus I put 4G off whilst at home. On a FP3 I’d prefer to use VoLTE though, as it is more secure than 2G.

Hi everyone,

Thanks so, so much for all your replies and I’m sorry for the delayed response.

I really have limited technical knowledge, so I have looked up terms like ‘LTE’ and ‘MVNOs’ to understand your responses.

Good to know, TobiasF, that Fairphone 3 is about 4G reception. And that it should get good coverage with all UK networks, RSpliet. Thanks for explaining about the bands. Good to know yours is working happily on EE, Glassrat.

Thanks also for making me aware, mgkoeln and JeroenH, that I can look up online what networks provide the best service in my area (I’m from UK- sorry I didn’t make that clear). I’ve had a look and seen that where I live, vodafone and O2 (which supports giff gaff) offer the best service. This is also true for where I work and my parents’ town. So that’s great.

Good to know, Johannes, that you had a good experience with Giff gaff on fairphone 1. Also good to know, mgkoeln, that, at least in Germany, providers cannon treat third party companies differently.

That’s interesting what you say, Johannes, about the dual sim issue. I’ve had a look and don’t totally understand what they are saying, but I don’t think it matters as I’m not going to be using two sims.

Overall, I think that with what I have found, I am going to try giff gaff and see how it goes! I can always switch provider if it’s not working.

Once again, many thanks for all your very helpful responses!!