Best business mobile phone plans 2022: top 6 for small businesses

Looking for the best business mobile phone contracts and suppliers? Read on to find out more about the best plans and prices available.

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A business mobile plan can provide a welcome perk for your staff, ensure that your team uses the best tech, and even save your business money – provided you choose the right contract.

  • We think the best mobile provider for small businesses is Vodafone, thanks to its excellent customer service and huge variety in plans.
  • If you want a speedier network, you're better off choosing EE, which has the best 4G and 5G coverage in the UK.
  • For the fairest payment plans, and the most generous rewards system, we think O2 is the best option for SMEs.
0 out of 0
Best handset deal
Best SIM only deal

Google Pixel 5

Apple iPhone 13

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

  • Vodafone £25 per month
  • EE £43 per month
  • O2 £36.81 per month
  • Vodafone £43 per month
  • EE £47 per month
  • O2 £48.98 per month
  • Vodafone £38 per month
  • EE £65 per month
  • O2 £52.99 per month
  • Plusnet £6 per month
  • BT Mobile £13 per month
  • Virgin Mobile £8 per month
  • Plusnet £6 per month
  • BT Mobile £13 per month
  • Virgin Mobile £8 per month
  • Plusnet £6 per month
  • BT Mobile £13 per month
  • Virgin Mobile £8 per month

There are lots of different factors which business owners need to consider when purchasing a mobile contract.

Particularly post-Covid, as the world welcomes a remote working model, it's important to make the right choice, so you can stay connected with your workers, clients, and customers.

But while the best plans can improve your company's efficiency by giving you a bounty of essential features and generous allowances – the wrong choice could equally lose you money and create a negative customer experience.

So which is the best mobile phone provider for your business? In the below guide, we'll break down the top 6 contract providers in the UK, and tell you everything you need to think about before purchasing.

If you're in a hurry, don't worry! We've been helping SMEs for two decades and we know how time-consuming research can be.

That's why we've designed a clever online tool for you to compare costs quickly and easily, and find the best mobile phone provider for your business instantly.

Save money and compare business mobile plans now Do you already have a business mobile plan? Compare quotes in just one minute

Best business mobile phone providers

Our extensive testing found that bigger doesn’t always mean better. That’s why our top 6 business phone plan providers includes not only the most impressive of the big players – such as EE and O2 – but also some more business-oriented options which you won’t want to miss out on finding out about.

To create our list of the best business mobile phone providers, we focused on what our start-up entrepreneurs told us are the three most important factors for small businesses. They were:

  • Value for money – While you’re still growing your business, you need to keep the bills in check. We looked at value for money as a more important factor than price, as we considered all the deals and discounts offered by each provider.
  • Coverage & speed – As a small business owner, you’re definitely busy, and you likely don’t have time to hang around for slow download speeds, or risk a new client call not getting through. Below we even explain how to check your coverage for different providers before you join them
  • Customer support – With a great business phone provider on board, you shouldn't have much to worry about. But when we're talking about your business, you need to know you can get started and setup with your new phone easily and without delays.

Vodafone

Vodafone
4.5
Best mobile phone provider for small businesses
  • Great SIM only deals
  • Fantastic coverage across the whole of the UK
Summary Vodafone are hard to beat when you consider the huge range of business mobile plans and packages on offer. Their rewards system and business customer expertise also make them stand out. With the largest number of UK based stores, and an active customer service team to rival most others, we think they're the best mobile phone provider for small businesses.
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Pros
  • Generous Rewards scheme for pay-as-you-go customers
  • Easy to get help from business mobile experts thanks to Vodafone's 500 UK stores
Cons
  • Slightly lower Ofcom customer satisfaction rating than rivals (but with help readily available)
4.5 out of 5
  • Value for money
    4.5
  • Coverage and speed
    5
  • Customer support
    4

Value for money

Vodafone offers good value for money, and has a vast mix of pay-monthly offers for business use. Plus, it offers tons of trials and discounts so you can try before you buy, reducing the risk of you spending money on the wrong product plan.

Its customer reviews speak for themselves – in 2020, Vodafone won Best Network Provider at the Trusted Review Awards.

Plus, if you're not sure how much data you need and don't want to risk overspending, Vodafone will let you Data Test Drive. This means you get to enjoy unlimited mobile data for the first two months, and you can update your bundle to whatever amount works best for you.

Small business phone plans

Small business owners are well taken care of by Vodafone with a range of plans to suit most budgets and needs. The most popular ones are:

  • Vodafone Business Evolve – a flexible option that is great for SMEs. If you're undecided about what you want from your plan, it's no worry. This option will let you change your mind about data allowances or devices whenever, so you can alter your plan based on how your business grows.
  • Vodafone Business Advance – if you're a growing team and need access to a large number of resources, then this plan is the best choice as it offers employees unlimited data, texts and calls.
  • Vodafone Business Optimiser – plans can change. If you want to avoid nasty surprises on your phone bill, this clever solution will automatically adapt to the amount of data or calls you're carrying out, so you'll never pay more than you need to.
  • Vodafone Business Freedom – for SMEs making international calls or business trips, this plan lets you manage usage so you won't incur hidden travel fees.

You can also personalise your plan with add-ons including Device Support and Rapid Insurance, so whatever you want to prioritise as a small business owner – the choice is yours.

SIM Only Deals

Vodafone's SIM only plans are a great option if you want to keep your existing phone and save on minutes, texts and data.

The SIM only data plans are ideal for companies with fewer than 50 employees, and start from a tidy £11 a month rising to £22 per month after 6 months.

Pay-as-you-go

Pay-as-you-go customers also get some nice perks and freebies – like the Freebie International Minutes plan which gives you more free international minutes the more you top up. You can flick through Vodafone's pay-as-you-go phones here.

There's also a generous Rewards loyalty scheme available, where you'll get points for every top-up that you can put towards more calls and data, or even your next smartphone.

Coverage and Speed

As one of the UK's biggest mobile providers, Vodafone runs its own network, offering 2G, 3G and 4G coverage across the UK.

In 4g.co.uk's 2021 ranking of the top providers for mobile coverage in the UK, Vodafone came second behind EE, boasting 99% population coverage for 4G.

5G availability

According to its online directory, Vodafone offers 5G in 124 UK towns and cities. This is not the most extensive list on the market (for comparison, Three caters for over 300 towns and cities.)

However, the network is currently rolling out to more locations across the UK and Europe, to increase availability for customers. In November 2021, it also announced a new deal with CityFibre and Openreach to expand its broadband network in the UK.

Ernest Doku, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, commented on the partnership: “Vodafone is trying to raise the stakes in the battle for winning broadband customers and the race to full fibre. The plans will make it Britain’s biggest full fibre provider, bringing the service to eight million homes across the country.

“This won’t just improve choice for customers, but should also inject extra competition into the market. Partnerships like this also spur greater investment in Britain’s broadband infrastructure by challenger networks like CityFibre.

“Rather than laying its own cables, Vodafone, which is already the biggest broadband provider in Europe, takes advantage of the UK’s existing broadband infrastructure. By striking deals with both BT’s Openreach and doubling down on its existing relationship with the CityFibre network, its plan will make blisteringly fast ‘full fibre’ broadband available to more homes than ever.”

Customer Support

Where Vodafone scores less well is in its complaints dealing. In its 2021 report into mobile and landline customer service, Ofcom found that Vodafone scored a fairly average complaint satisfaction rating of 55%.

That said, it's one of the easiest phone companies to get help from if things ever go awry, or you need support with setup. They've got 500 shops all over the UK, so there's bound to be one near you. You can find your nearest Vodafone store easily on their UK store finder.

Plus Vodafone offer a whole 30 days to try out your phone and coverage, and if you're not impressed you get a full refund. That's well above the typical 14 days most other companies will give you.

Want to find out more about how our top rated business mobile plan provider stands up against its rivals? Use our online tool to compare Vodafone's business mobile deals today.

EE

EE
4.3
Best business mobile phone provider for speed and coverage
  • Best 4G and 5G coverage in the UK
  • Shared family plans available
Summary EE is the biggest mobile network provider and has the best coverage for UK customers, hands down. This makes them the ideal choice for the busy small business owner, who doesn’t have time to lose. However, you can expect EE's rivals to offer more competitive prices.
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Pros
  • UK-based customer service
  • Top 4G speeds and most reliable coverage in UK
  • Free replacement for 24 months,
Cons
  • Shaky customer service
  • Less budget-friendly than competitors
4.3 out of 5
  • Value for money
    3.5
  • Coverage and speed
    5
  • Customer support
    4.5

Value for Money

EE is unlikely to appear on any budget-topping lists, but if you value good coverage for your business needs, they’re unrivalled.

The top business mobile phone plans from EE start at £15 a month for a SIM-only contract, but their rates are more competitive when you add in the cost of a mobile device.

SIM only plans

Small business owners can choose between EE's Essential plans or Max plans. They start at just £15 a month, and include access to 5G roaming, if your chosen mobile device is compatible.

Coverage and Speed

EE pioneered 4G (super-fast wireless internet) and still offers the best download speeds and coverage.

According to OpenSignal's September 2021 report, EE's download speed was the fastest in the UK, and 74.5% faster than runner up Three.

5G availability

EE offers 5G for customers in 162 towns and cities across the UK. It's currently the best provider on the market for 5G in terms of coverage – users had the fastest overall speed on EE, with scores of 109.5 megabyte per second for Download Speed Experience.

You can check if your area is covered using the EE online tool.

Customer service

EE doesn’t have a leading reputation for top customer service. But we found that in the 2021 Ofcom customer service report for mobile phone providers, they scored highest for resolving complaints on the first go, with 50% of all customer issues being fixed immediately.

On top of that, with more than 500 stores up and down the country, EE is one of the biggest phone providers, so they’ll be there should your small business need them. They even offer free phone replacements if anything goes wrong in the first year, the My EE Bill Analyser helps you stay on top of your bills.

Want to save time? If you’d like a simpler way to compare phone plan providers, we've designed a simple online tool which you can use to compare mobile contracts for your business. It's free of charge and gives you expert advice instantly.

O2

o2
4.2
Best small business mobile phone provider for fair payment plans
  • Flexible tariffs for fair payment plans
  • Great rewards system
Summary O2’s strength is their customer service – and as a big provider, you can expect great coverage to boot. Plus, every new plan comes with a six-month free trial of add-on Extras such as Disney+.
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Pros
  • Fair payment options
  • O2 priority perks
  • Business apps available
Cons
  • Helpline waiting times can be lengthy
4.2 out of 5
  • Value for money
    4.5
  • Coverage and speed
    4
  • Customer support
    4

Value for money

O2 welcomes small businesses with open arms via their dedicated Small Business Plan. You can choose between SIM only, SIM+phone and pay-as-you-go deals, all of which are competitively priced.

A particular bonus of O2's plans is that they have great data allowances. For just £18 per month you can access 20GB of data – more than enough for most small business owners.

As an indicator of O2's competitive costs, the new Apple iPhone 13 (launched in September) costs £42 per month for 250GB of data. In comparison, the same model and data allowance from Vodafone costs £50 per month.

O2 SIM only plans

O2's 12-month SIM-only tariffs start from just £12 a month for 1GB (or £14 with VAT), but their most popular offer for small business owners is 20GB (of 4G data) a month from just £18 (£20 with VAT).

Coverage and speed

O2 has its own network and offers 2G, 3G and 4G coverage. Coverage experts OpenSignal, in their September 2021 report, found that O2 customers got a 4G signal 83.6% of the time – just behind Vodafone and EE (with 86.4% and 93.6% access, respectively).

5G availability

O2 currently provides 192 UK towns and cities with 5G (you can check whether you're covered using their up-to-date online tracker).

O2 also allows business customers to create their own private 5G network to ensure reliable connectivity and enhanced security. If you're an SME working with advanced technologies such as robotics, you can enquire about a private 5G network online.

Customer support

As one of the UK's largest mobile phone providers, customers can reach the network from one of their hundreds of high street stores, where you’ll benefit from the expertise of the company's ‘O2 Gurus'.

O2 even aims to treat their customers like stars. With O2 Priority, you can expect many a perk like pre-sale tickets – and there’s also O2 Rewards which gives PAYG customers a percentage of your spend on credit.

Then there’s O2’s happy customers – according to Ofcom's 2021 market report, O2 reported the highest customer satisfaction by a country mile with 62% of customers saying they were happy with the way their complaint had been dealt with.

How much data do you need?

Many small business owners spend most of their days hooked up to their Wi-Fi, so data usage may be less than you’d expect. Unless you’re streaming daily films for your commute (remember you could always pre-download them over Wi-Fi), you’re unlikely to be a heavy user.

10GB to 15GB mobile data is usually plenty for most small business owners and entrepreneurs.

BT Mobile

BT Mobile
4
Best small business mobile provider for customer helpline
  • Free trial? Any payment plans come with a free BT Sport subscription
  • Great integrations for existing BT customers
  • Good flexible payment options for growing teams
Summary 15 years after selling its mobile division to O2, BT Mobile got back in the game in 2015. Today, they are one of the most popular networks, and rank highly for customer help and support.
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Pros
  • Great coverage
  • Good variety of business plans, including shared employee plans
  • Unlimited BT WiFi access
Cons
  • No walk-in stores
4 out of 5
  • Value for money
    4
  • Coverage and speed
    4
  • Customer support
    4

Value for money

On the surface, BT aren’t the cheapest providers of business mobile plans. But we found out that if you have your broadband, TV, landline and mobile services with them, you can save quite a few bob, as users save £5 per month if they have an existing BT contract. If you have BT Halo, you can also add data to your plan.

BT Mobile mostly offer SIM-only deals that you can pair with your existing handset, but you can also find some of the smartphone contracts on their books.

SIM only plans

BT's SIM only plans are some of the cheapest around, starting at just £8 a month. Plus if you're keen to add any colleagues, you save 20% on each extra SIM you add.

On top of these deals, small business owners can also build their own plans, and if you have 5 or more employees you can take advantage of these tidy packages:

  • Mobile Sharer – Create a personalised plan of unlimited UK minutes, texts and data for all your devices
  • BT One Phone Professional – Get the horsepower of an office phone with the freedom of a mobile packed with business features

Coverage and speed

As a virtual provider, BT Mobile doesn’t have its own phone network, but you can expect good 4G, 3G and 2G coverage because it’s hooked up to EE’s solid infrastructure – the provider with the fastest speed and coverage on this list reaching 90Mbps in many locations.

Customers can also make free use of BT's five million wi-fi hotspots and can avoid nasty bills by capping their monthly spending.

5G capability

When BT Mobile originally launched 5G in 2019 it boasted just 71 locations. Now that's it's joined with EE's network, you can get 5G access in 162 UK towns and cities.

Customer support

BT keeps its prices low by not having its own stores. But their staff are on hand if you need them on 0800 800 150 (or 150 from your BT Mobile) or through their website.

Their response time is usually very quick, with an average wait time of 2 minutes and 53 seconds according to Ofcom's September 2021 report.

That's 46 seconds longer than the average, but still a way above rivals like Virgin Media, which has a whopping average wait time of 8 minutes 51.

Plusnet

Plusnet
4
Best small business mobile phone provider for affordability
  • Great value fibre broadband
  • Good coverage from EE network
Summary You probably know Plusnet as a broadband provider. But did you know they also offer SIM-only mobile phone deals? Plusnet is a great value option, especially if you are already a Plusnet broadband user.
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Pros
  • Value for money
  • Flexible packages
Cons
  • Virtual provider, can be tricky to contact
4 out of 5
  • Value for money
    4.5
  • Coverage and speed
    4
  • Customer support
    3.5

Value for money

Plusnet customers rave about its value for money, with the network's lowest-tiered SIM-only plan costing just £6 per month for unlimited texts and minutes, as well as 4GB of data.

They don’t sell handsets, but their packages are all rolling contracts so they can be cancelled or restarted after just 30 days. This means they’re ideal for small business owners who often need to adapt to a changing business landscape – as the past 18 months has only served to highlight.

Plusnet also uses a bill-capping tool called Smartcap, so you can wave goodbye to any shock charges on your monthly statement. This can be particularly useful if you wanted to add any employees to the scheme.

Coverage and speed

As a virtual provider, Plusnet uses EE's phone network – and offers 2G, 3G and 4G coverage. This means they have 99% population coverage and you'll be hard pressed to find an area in the UK without service.

5G capability

Since Plusnet uses EE's network, it could theoretically launch in any of the former's 162 towns and cities across the UK. However as it's positioned as a budget network, it's unlikely that Plusnet will begin offering a 5G option anytime soon so as to keep the cost of its payment plans down.

Customer support

Plusnet doesn’t have its own stores, so they can be that bit trickier to pin down. But if you need any help or advice, you can always reach them online or over the phone.

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile
3.8
Best small business mobile phone provider for customisation
  • 250,000 WiFi hotspots across the country
  • Mobile sharer plan offers SMEs good flexibility
Summary Virgin Mobile gets top marks for customisation, as Virgin's wide range of products means you can work with the network to design the best plan for your small business' specific needs.
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Pros
  • Extensive coverage from Vodafone network
  • Access to Virgin Media Wi-Fi hotspots
Cons
  • Small range of plans
  • Fewer stores means less access to expert advice
3.8 out of 5
  • Value for money
    4.5
  • Coverage and speed
    4
  • Customer support
    3

Value for money

Virgin Mobile offers small businesses a variety of plans. The most popular is their Unlimited option, which (as the name suggests) boasts unlimited calls and texts, as well as 5G integration.

You can also select a mobile sharer plan, if you want something that caters for multiple employees, at an optimal cost. This package is tailored to you specifically, so you can enjoy less admin and lower costs.

To get started, you just need to let Virgin Mobile know how many SIMs and how much data you need in your plan – but it also means you’ll need to contact them separately for a quote.

Virgin SIM only plans

Virgin’s business mobile SIM plans all come with 5G as standard. But what we like most about these plans is that they work with you. You can choose between a plan with texts and minutes, or go for a data-only option for just £4 per month.

Coverage and speed

In 2021, Virgin Mobile moved from BT and EE's network to use Vodafone's coverage. Thanks to this partnership, Virgin Mobile users benefit from Vodafone's excellent 99% population coverage for 4G. Plus, you'll have exclusive access to 250,000 Virgin Media WiFi spots.

5G capability

While Virgin Mobile uses Vodafone's 4G network, this doesn't mean access to the latter's impressive 5G capabilities. 5G is currently only available for Virgin Mobile users in 100 towns and cities across the UK, easily the lowest amount in this list – although they are investing in more locations.

Customer support

The biggest downside to Virgin Mobile is their customer satisfaction.

Ofcom’s unbiased survey from September 2021 shows Virgin Mobile’s customers report the lowest levels of overall satisfaction with their broadband service – at just 88%. They also report one of the largest percentages of customers with a reason to complain, with 13% of users reporting faults with their plans.

What's the best business mobile phone?

Some of the best business mobile phones in 2021 are:

  • Apple iPhone 13 – the best business phone from Apple; offers all-day battery, durable handset, and powerful processing
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – top chipset, powerful camera and a super high-res screen make this a great choice for running your business on the go
  • Google Pixel 6 – fantastic integrations with (you guessed it) Google drive, this is the search giant's first attempt at an ultra-high-tech phone and it's certainly a success
  • Motorola Defy – it's water, dust and dirt proof, offering excellent protection from everyday wear
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra – another in the Samsung Galaxy family, this model sets itself apart from other Samsung offerings with incredibly fast 108MP processing power and top display

The above list is a good place to start if you're looking for a reliable, effective business mobile phone. If you're looking to keep costs down, take a look at our list of best budget smartphones for business.

Save money and compare business mobile plans now Do you already have a business mobile plan? Compare quotes in just one minute

How do you choose the best business mobile phone provider?

There are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself to help you pick the best business mobile phone provider for you. Let’s start with the easy ones:

  • Who needs the phone? – Maybe you're a sole trader, or maybe you're looking to add several current or future employees onto the plan. Networks like BT can offer special rates for growing companies.
  • Is my business growing or pretty stable? – If you think you might benefit from being able to mix up your bundles, be sure to opt for a more flexible plan like Vodafone's commitment-phobe packages.
  • Who is my current broadband provider? – With BT, Plusnet and Virgin Mobile, you can save on your monthly bills when you combine your business broadband with your mobile phone plan.

Still don’t know which is the right business mobile provider for you? Let us help. Simply make use of our specially-designed online comparison tool questionnaire and we’ll match you with the most suitable providers for your needs.

Which business mobile plans offer the best coverage?

Uswitch is one of the most well-known comparison markets for a range of products including broadband, landline and energy services. According to its 2021 review, EE gets the trophy for coverage. Their network pioneered 4G (faster internet speeds) and they cover 99% of the whole of the UK.


What's next?

Now you have a better idea of what the mobile phone network providers are really like, the next step is to find out which ones are offering the best deals for the mobile phone you're interested in.

Here at Startups.co.uk, we're here to help. Our 20 years experience providing advice and guidance to UK small businesses can help you to save time and money by comparing quotes from leading suppliers today.

Let us do the work for you, and complete our 2-minute questionnaire to be paired with the supplier most suitable for your business.

Save money and compare business mobile plans now Do you already have a business mobile plan? Compare quotes in just one minute

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Helena is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has previously written for a popular fintech startup covering everything from money-saving tips to cultural reviews.

She is particularly interested in project management software and the films of Peter Jackson.

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