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Have just switched from EE to BT and have found that the 4G is not as good as it was previously. Have been told that the network is exactly the same as BT now onw EE yet I do notice a marked difference in internet / data speed etc
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They are different MVNOs (mobile virtual network operator), and will have their own quality of service and signal levels, you cannot really make any direct comparison, as signal level is not directly related to the total transmitter output, it depends on how much is allocated to that MNVO, and how they choose to allocate it to their users.
There is a list of MNVOs here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Kingdom_mobile_virtual_network_operators
Not sure I understand - that list shows BT and EE as the same?
Not quite, you will see that there are lots of operators that use EE, and if you look at the entry for BT Mobile, you will see this.
With a totally digital network, its possible to allocate separate virtual paths to each operator depending on how much they are prepared to pay.
What you see as "signal strength", is really an indication of availability, so if EE decide to allocate more to their users, then the "signal strength" will appear to be greater.
As more users connect to a MNVO, this level will drop, meaning fewer new users can connect to that specific site. Its a form of traffic control.
BT Mobile is technically an MVNO but as they have since bought EE they are slightly different.
There’s no speed limit or network restrictions between EE and BT-M what it does lack is the frilly bits like data sharing, visual voicemail and some other iPhone services.
They also do not offer 5G handset plans and the current handset line-up is limited.
If you're on a standard BT Mobile package the speed is capped. If you have a HALO package on your landline and BT Mobile on the same account, you get a speed boost and the caps are removed. I get 150mbps on BT Mobile in Leicester.