New UK Phone Network Helps You Piggyback Other People's Signal

By James O Malley on at

A new phone network is promising to keep you connected as much as possible because it will latch on to whatever signal is available, from any phone network.

The BBC reports on Anywhere SIM, which has set itself up as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), meaning that it leases network capacity from the existing networks rather than builds its own masts.

What's clever is that unlike, say, Tesco Mobile or Giffgaff, it gets around being locked into one specific network by technically having its network agreement with a company that is based abroad, which has its own roaming agreements with all of the major networks. (A bit like how whenever you go to France your phone will connect to a number of different networks).

The upshot of this is that it means more reliable signal for you, especially if you're in a more remote area that may only be served by only one of the major networks.

Apparently the basic "Home" service will cost 5p/min for calls, 5p per text message, and 5p per megabyte of data, all on Pay-As-You-Go.

Unfortunately, what you actually get is relatively limited: you can only dial out and use data when on the O2 network, with receiving calls only consistently working across all, unless you pay double the price for, umm, roaming.

Due to the way mobile phone networks work, you'll also not be able to seamlessly move between networks. If you start a call on O2, you won't be able to go out of O2 range and continue it on EE, for example.

Still, its an interesting idea and the first time a service like this has been aimed at consumers; it could certainly be extra piece-of-mind next time you go climbing a remote mounting or something. SIM cards will soon be available on eBay, Amazon and the Anywhere SIM website.