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New research: EE offers the fastest 4G speeds in Great Britain

New research exploring which mobile phone network is fastest in Great Britain has revealed that EE comes up trumps – offering the highest speeds in eight out of 11 regions of Great Britain, including both Scotland and Wales. In the other three regions, EE’s speeds were matched by Three. The research, conducted by OpenSignal, explored mobile network speeds throughout the country in June and August.

It compared providers in Scotland, Wales and the nine official regional divisions of England. Find out more about how EE, O2, Three and Vodafone compare in our guide on which phone network offers the best signal[1].

The 4G battle in the east

While EE offered the highest speeds in most parts of Great Britain, in three regions it has competition from Three. In the north-east, East Midlands and the east of England, the speeds offered by Three are statistically equal to those offered by EE.

Three offers its fastest speeds in the north-east, where Open Signal found it offered average 4G speeds of 30Mbps. Its slowest speeds were found in London, where it reaches speeds of 14.5Mbps. EE is its best in Scotland, offering an average 4G speed of 30.3Mbps.

Its lowest speeds are in Yorkshire and the Humber, where it manages a still respectable 25.9Mbps. By comparison, O2 and Vodafone don’t manage EE’s lowest speed in any part of the country. O2 offers its best speed in the east of England, with 17.3Mbps, and Vodafone’s strongest showing is in the north-west of England with 22Mbps.

Use our infographic, below, to see how the providers stack up in your region.

Which is the best mobile phone provider?

Deciding which mobile provider is best doesn’t just come down to speed. Price and customer service should be considered too, as well as coverage in the areas you spend the most time. Use our mobile phone coverage map[2] to work out which is the best provider in your area.

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone aren’t your only options, though: there are also multiple virtual networks you can choose from. Virtual network providers use the infrastructure put in place by other networks but offer their own plans, and customer service. We’ve surveyed thousands of customers to see what they thought of 14 of the biggest phone providers, rating them on value for money right through to customer service.

Find out which came out on top by reading our overview of the best mobile networks[3].

References

  1. ^ which phone network offers the best signal (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ mobile phone coverage map (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ overview of the best mobile networks (www.which.co.uk)

Black Friday 2017: Best Amazon Echo, Google Home, Sonos One smart wireless speaker deals

If home automation’s high up on your tech to-do list, then there’s some great Black Friday deals to be had on Amazon Echo, Google Home and Sonos One speakers, on top of everything else that’s been announced so far[1].

Amazon Echo and Echo Dot

Both Amazon and Currys PC World have slashed the prices of its new Echo (2017 edition)[2] and Echo Dot speakers by GBP20 and GBP10 respectively, making getting set up with Amazon’s line-up of smart voice-activated assistant/entertainment hubs even cheaper. The Echo is designed to act as your main hub speaker and would sit in your living room or wherever you spend most of your time at home. The mini Echo Dots can be paired wirelessly via the Alexa app, so that tunes you stream on the main speaker can be piped through to other rooms, like your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom, or anywhere where you perhaps wouldn’t want, or space won’t allow a bigger speaker.

Read next: Apple HomePod vs.

Amazon Echo vs. Google Home: Smart Speaker Showdown[3]

Google Home

Thanks to its compatibility with Chromecast Audio, streaming music to speakers from your phone couldn’t be easier with Google Home[4]. Like Amazon’s Echo ecosystem, as well as big speakers, you can also pair your Google Home with Google Home Minis.

One key advantage Google Home has is that it can handle up to six different user accounts, giving different calendar information and playlists for each, as long as everyone has a phone with the Google Home app running. Currys PC World has a string of Google Home deals running throughout Black Friday, including one which sees a Google Home speaker bundled with a Google WiFi dual-band wireless range extender.

Sonos One

Sonos One[5] is not just a powerful wireless speaker in its own right, it’s also one of the few speakers on the market that’ll work with Amazon Alexa and (eventually) Google Assistant, making it an excellent bridge between two separate ecosystems. During Black Friday, Amazon’s selling the Sonos One in black and white with a 25 per cent discount.

References

  1. ^ on top of everything else that’s been announced so far (uk.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ new Echo (2017 edition) (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ Apple HomePod vs.

    Amazon Echo vs.

    Google Home: Smart Speaker Showdown (uk.pcmag.com)

  4. ^ Google Home (uk.pcmag.com)
  5. ^ Sonos One (uk.pcmag.com)

Death of the cashback card? Nationwide cuts cashback scheme

New customers to Nationwide’s Select Credit Card will no longer be offered cashback on purchases – while existing customers will see their rates slashed. But can you still benefit from cashback schemes? Nationwide has announced its cashback rate will drop from 0.5% to 0.25% for existing customers from 11 January 2018, and new customers will not be offered cashback at all.

The move follows new EU rules limiting the fees which retailers and card issuers can charge. Which? looks at other cashback deals on the market and why card issuers are winding down their cashback schemes.

What cashback deals are available?

Currently, the Nationwide Select Credit Card offers one of the more competitive cashback deals[1] on the market – but cutting the rate to 0.25% will move it to the bottom of the pack. A number of other providers offer cashback deals which pay 0.5% or above on purchases.

But bear in mind that benefits like cashback are only one element of choosing a card – you should also consider the APR, which shows you an annualised interest rate, and any card fees. The Santander card, for example, charges a ?180 fee.

Why is Nationwide cutting its cashback scheme?

Nationwide is just the latest in a long series of providers who have withdrawn cashback offers in recent years. CapitalOne ended its reward cards in April 2015, with RBS and NatWest ending their ‘YourPoints’ scheme a month later.

Santander withdrew its 123 credit card in October last year. In June this year, Barclaycard announced[2] it was ending its relationship with American Express, which offered a 1% cashback deal, and moving customers to a Visa card offering just 0.5%. In explaining its decision to curtail the cashback scheme, Nationwide pointed to the decrease in card fees that credit card issuers could charge, which made the program more expensive.

Previously, card issuers were entitled to charge retailers a fee for processing their payments – and this fee was often passed onto customers as a 2% to 3% surcharge. Since the end of 2015, card issuers have faced a cap on the fees charged retailers, currently 0.3% for credit cards. From 13 January 2018, retailers will also be banned from charging customers[3] a fee to use their cards online or in stores.

Both changes are part of a raft of EU regulation aimed at improving payment services. As a result, the cost of transactions has been rising for card issuers, who have begun scaling back on ‘perks’ – including cashback. Other card providers are likely to face similar financial pressures in coming months.

Should I get a cashback card?

When choosing a credit card, cashback deals can be a tempting money-making offer – but it’s important to look beyond the perks.

If you can’t clear your balance monthly, interest payments are likely to wipe out any rewards you’ve received. You may also have to shop at certain stores, or use certain airlines to get the most benefit – and these won’t always offer you the cheapest deals. The Which?

Money Compare credit card tables[4] let you search hundreds of cards from providers large and small to choose a great deal based on quality of service as well as cost and benefits. Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which?

Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which?

Money Compare are trading names of Which?

Financial Services Limited.

References

  1. ^ cashback deals (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Barclaycard announced (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ banned from charging customers (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Which?

    Money Compare credit card tables (moneycompare.which.co.uk)

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