Orange vs O2: How good is the 3G network in Cardiff?

On Tuesday 10 November, the exclusivity deal that O2 has with Apple ends and the iPhone will be available with other operators. This is good because more competition in the markplace is usually good for the consumer. Unfortunately the prices Orange have announced for its tariffs are exactly the same as O2, with the exception of a 30 pounds/month contact which gives 150 mins/250 texts on Orange (double the equivalent on O2). This is good news, although I suspect O2 would match this if I went to them an threatened to move. This is based on a conversation with O2 where they said the could 'come to some arrangement when Orange released their tariffs'.

We all wanted a price war which just didn't happen - grrrr. Vodafone are making noises about getting the iPhone early next year, but I just don't like their logo: smug red inverted comma.

I am still not keen on staying with O2. Partly because they shafted me over the iPhone 18 months ago (the staff in store need much better training), but mostly be Orange have the best 3G network in UK. Ofcom have quoted O2 as having 85% of the country covered, while Orange have a cheeky spread of 93%. This extra 8% doesn't sound much but it will really help with the train journey to London and Liverpool.

Today I am going about some errands in Cardiff and will report on how good the the 3G signal on both operators is.

My tools:

2 Similar (but not identical) Sony Ericsson 3G phones. One with my O2 SIM and one with an old (but still functional) Orange SIM.

Check back for more excitement!

UPDATE: Have a look at the results blog entry to see which is my preferred network (complete with coverage map).