Staying connected by telephone is nothing new. Back in the late 19th century, the phone network in the UK expanded at an impressive rate, giving rise to a new national icon: The Hello Girls. This female workforce would manually connect the caller with the receiver by plugging cables into the exchange board to forward the signal to the right destination. As technology advanced, the switchboards found themselves in the middle of an automation process that ultimately led to the end of human interaction on the telephone exchange. The lack of a human workforce meant that the process of connecting phone calls could now become fairly profitable.

With this progress, came the advent telecoms billing to ensure that customers were paying accordingly for the service they received.

The original billing systems were, quite naturally, a rudimentary process of manually counting the calls and posting a paper invoice to the customer. It wasn’t for a while until the itemised process was developed and separate charges could be made depending on the time of day the call took place. Moving forward a few decades; today’s systems are a completely different story. With so many different tariffs and add-ons in the mix, it takes some pretty powerful software to control the modern telecoms billing process.

Today’s Main Telecoms Providers in the UK

Some generations find it hard to believe that there was ever a wired landline in houses. The invention of the mobile phone drastically changed the landscape, physically and metaphorically, and as we head towards the controversial induction of 5G technology in our lives, it’s hard to imagine a time when there will be any more telecoms wires entering our houses at all.

The 4 providers of mobile networks in the UK are Vodafone, 3, EE and o2. You may have a contract with or have heard of several other companies, but these are virtual providers who rent or piggyback’ on the network of the 4 main players.


Vodafone operates in 26 countries and has around 20 million customers in the UK. They currently provide nationwide 4G coverage and will naturally be integral in the 5G network from its inception. They provide a vast array of mobile and fibre optic products for home and business users. VOXI, Talk Mobile and Lebara Mobile are all virtual networks that use the Vodafone infrastructure.

Three UK

Three have expanded at a rapid pace throughout the UK over the last decade. In addition to their UK activity, they are also present in 8 other markets around the world. The major networks tend to not necessarily be the cheapest, but they are generally more competitive in the unlimited data and calls they can offer as network providers compared to the smaller, virtual networks.


EE brought together the T-Mobile and Orange networks in the UK, and are part of the BT group. Their service is available to an impressive 99.6% of the UK and they also offer 4G+ internet connection.


O2 arrived in the early 2000s and have since become a name synonymous with telecoms providers in the UK. Giffgaff, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile and Lycamobile all use the o2 network to provide their services.