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1pMobile review 2024: easily our favourite network on EE

SIM card and 1pMobile's logoVisit 1pMobile.com

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We took out a test SIM card with 1pMobile to see if their 4G/5G coverage and speeds exceed the cheap price tag on SIM only and PAYG. Last updated: 19th September 2023.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates 1p Mobile as an excellent provider
 (4/5, excellent)

“Their branding might be a little cheap and rough round the edges but beneath the surface there’s quality to 1pMobile. They access the full 5G/4G/3G/2G EE network with WiFi calling and no speed caps.

From a network point of view, it’s essentially a parallel experience to being on EE directly. Only some more specialist features like call forwarding, visual voicemail and eSIM are missing.

You still get EU roaming included on 1pMobile and they’ve got customer service you can actually call. Both are becoming increasingly rare, especially for a low-cost player like 1p.

1p’s monthly SIM only pricing is reasonable and their pay as you go is the UK’s cheapest (but watch out for the 120-day top up requirement). Overall, we actively recommend giving 1p a go.”

The 3 best bits

1) Full speed 5G/4G via EE network
2) WiFi calling and 4G calling
3) Customer service you can call

The 3 worst bits

1) Minimum PAYG top-up requirement
2) Paying 1p per MB could add up fast
3) No real additional benefits

Who do 1pMobile piggyback on?

1pMobile use the full EE 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G network.

What is the catch with 1pMobile?

There is a requirement to top up with £10 every 4 months to keep your SIM active. This might be more than very infrequent users want to do. 1p per MB data isn’t actually that cheap either. 1GB would cost £10 at that rate, which is very easily beatable on pay monthly.

Does 1pMobile credit expire?

No. You can keep credit forever. You do have to top up once every 4 months though to keep the SIM active.

Does 1pMobile have an app?

No they don’t. Their online account system is pretty good though, with lots of the settings you’ll need.

Can I keep my number when I move to 1pMobile?

Yes you can. Just text the word PAC to 65075 from your old SIM and give the PAC to 1pMobile when you sign up or once your SIM arrives.

Information symbol We're a professional reviews website but we bought our 1pMobile SIM card to get a better view of what your experience will be if you go with this network. The contents of this review are a combination of our expert industry knowledge and what we experienced during our test.

Special feature: "Is 1pMobile legit?"

Our experience ordering a 1pMobile SIM card

1pMobile SIM pack delivery

We got our SIM the day after orderingOrder yours here

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

You may never have heard of the 1pMobile before. We originally only found out about them in the first place after seeing an advert on social media.

We can understand why you may be wary when deciding on a new network, especially one that relatively few people know about and doesn’t have the flashy branding of the larger providers.

So, we took out our own 1pMobile SIM card to see what’s what. We ordered at 4pm on a Wednesday and were pleased when our SIM was delivered the very next day by Royal Mail.

The letter the SIM came with was simple looking, but included everything we paid for. You get a SIM card with every size to fit any device. You just need to pop out the one that fits your phone and you’re good.

Useful link: About 1pMobile's SIM card sizes

How to set up your 1pMobile SIM

Photo of 1pMobile's welcome letter

All the info you need is in the packKeep your number

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Once you’ve popped your new SIM into your phone you have to activate it online. It’s a simple process, you just need to follow the information that 1pMobile put in their welcome email.

While their instructions say that your SIM should start working in 15 minutes, ours took 30 minutes to register to the network. To be fair they do say 24 hours at the worst, so don’t worry if it takes some time.

We tested our 1pMobile SIM directly against an EE SIM and found we got exactly the same number of signal bars. We were connected to mobile signal right away (but it took about 3 minutes for 4G to work).

So we can say with certainty that 1pMobile is not a scam, but a legit network. We hope that has put any worries you had to bed. Further on we go over the quality of their network and what other features they offer.

Useful link: Get a 1pMobile SIM card now

1pMobile's network

Overall coverage on 1p is the joint best of any network

1pMobile's coverage map

Signal is identical to EECheck coverage now

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

1pMobile have made a brilliant decision to partner with EE to use their network. In our experience, it offers the best overall mix of call and data coverage around the country. And we’re confident 1p signal is identical to EE.

You can still get 4G data (see 5G here) in some impressively remote places, which is useful as you travel around. And in towns and cities, we found there’s plenty of capacity to get you a good connection.

Indoor calling signal is beatable. The frequencies that 1pMobile use aren’t the most optimal for regular phone calls but you do get WiFi calling / 4G calling as standard on 1pMobile, which massively helps with this.

It’d be impossible to test every inch of the country, but we did manage to do some spot checks in different locations with our 1pMobile SIM. We compared signal bars to our EE SIM in the same phone.

We got an identical number of signal bars on our test 1pMobile SIM as we did on our EE SIM in the same locations.

It was practically impossible for us to find blackspots outdoors and call signal held up alright indoors. We did however find that quality could be a little flakey the further inside you are.

After testing, we can say that you’ll get identical coverage on 1p as you would on EE. They used to not get access to EE’s band 20 masts, which broadcast 4G in rural areas, but that’s no longer the case.

Overall, we’re happy to report that 1p is not an inferior experience to EE or any other network. It is always important to double check local coverage near you though. Don’t just look at home but everywhere you’ll use your phone.

Useful link: Check 1pMobile signal

Our rating:
★★★★★ (joint best choice)

Rank:
Joint 1st place
(out of 4 network operators)

As good as:
EE

Better than:
Three, O2, Vodafone
(and all providers that use them)

4G data speeds are another strength for 1p

Data speed table

1p list their expected and max speedsRead data speed FAQs

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Our testing found no in-built speed disadvantage on 1pMobile vs being on EE directly. In fact, while most of EE’s plans have speed caps as low as 10 Mbps, all 1pMobile’s SIMs are sold with the top possible speeds.

That’s handy given Opensignal’s latest report showed typical 4G speeds around 47.7 Mbps on 1p’s hosts EE. We’ve had speeds up to 130+ Mbps in the city on 1p and as low as 12 Mbps in the sticks.

If you’ve been on other networks, 1p will be noticeably faster. There are lows speed-wise but the typical connection is much more like being on decent home broadband than other provider in the UK.

Overall, 1pMobile benefit from being on EE’s network when it comes to 4G data speeds (see 5G below) and are technically even better due to the lack of speed caps on their plans.

Useful link: Read 1pMobile's guide to data

5G data’s being rolled out fast but is beatable on speed

1pMobile 5g SIM card

Get 5G on all plans and on PAYGSee biggest data plan

at 1pMobile.com
(opens in new window)

1pMobile offer full access to EE’s 5G. Their hosts currently sit in second place in our best 5G network rankings, with healthy speeds, lots of 5G live locations and great coverage in these 317+ UK towns and cities.

Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla’s reports show typical 5G speeds between 108.91 Mbps - 122.3 Mbps on 1p’s hosts, with peak speeds up to 272.22 Mbps. That’s like home fibre broadband and is impressive when you get it.

1p’s hosts are excellent at covering their 5G live locations, as they only declare one as live when 5G is available in 50% of its area. You can get 5G in locations not on their list, but coverage will be weaker.

You get 5G access for no added cost on pay as you go and on 1pMobile’s pay monthly plans. Getting access to the best network for 5G coverage with great speeds is brilliant on such low cost deals.

Useful link: Check 5G coverage near you

Our overall speed rating:
★★★★★ (best choice)

Rank:
1st

Same as:
EE and Three (and providers using them)

Better than:
All others

WiFi calling and 4G calling work really well

1pMobile WiFi calling

Make/take calls over WiFi or 4G signalRead full guide

at 1pMobile.com
(opens in new window)

WiFi calling and 4G calling are basically must have features at this point and 1pMobile offer both of them. You get these features on any SIM only plan or on Pay As You Go.

So if you run into issues getting call signal indoors, you’ll be able to connect to calls and send and receive SMS texts via WiFi signal instead.

We’re pretty sure 1p’s use EE’s WiFi calling technology for their feature instead of developing their own. WiFi calls had similar audio quality on 1p and EE and it worked on the same phone models on both networks.

You do need to be on a compatible device to get it working. Most modern smartphones should work fine, but if you’re on a cheap £19.99 Nokia style device then these features might not work.

Useful link: 1pMobile's own guide to their WiFi/4G calling

Advanced network features are a bit sparse on 1p

O2 logo

O2 offer lots of free WiFi hotspotsRead our guide

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

Mobile networks add extra features as a way of helping customers get the most use out of their phone or SIM card. But, as a budget network, 1pMobile don’t offer a lot of these:

You can tether your data signal to non-data devices on any 1pMobile plan without limits. It’s like using your phone as a personal hotspot to keep devices like laptops connected while you’re on the go.

You can’t get an eSIM on 1pMobile, you can’t divert incoming calls to another number and you don’t get visual voicemail. But most budget networks don’t offer these, so it’s no shock 1p are thin on the ground here.

You can’t get an eSIM on 1pMobile, you can’t divert incoming calls to another number and you don’t get visual voicemail. But most budget networks don’t offer these, so it’s no shock 1p are thin on the ground here.

Useful link: 1pMobile's About Us page

1p Mobile benefits

Inclusive EU roaming is an excellent benefit

A free month for you and a friend of SMARTY

Use your SIM in 46 EU destinationsSee all the countries

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Lots of UK networks have removed inclusive EU roaming from their plans, but 1pMobile are not one of them (see all the networks that still include EU roaming here).

That means you can use your regular UK mins, texts and data in these 46 EU roaming destinations. You will be limited to 14GB while there, but we think that’s enough for most users on a trip away.

Roaming is turned on by default on 1pMobile, so you don’t have to worry about arriving with no way to connect to data. And if you’re on PAYG you get the same 1p rates in the EU as you would at home.

1p don’t offer inclusive roaming beyond the EU, however. But it’s great that they’ve kept EU roaming in place, putting them way ahead of all the networks that have removed EU roaming. Overall, their scheme is good.

Useful link: All about roaming on 1p Mobile

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Rank:
TBC

As good as:
TBC

Better than:
TBC

Nice rewards for bringing friends onto 1pMobile

1pMobile refer a friend

£5 credit for each friend you bringRead full details

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

1pMobile offer extra rewards for bringing friends onto their network. You get £5 free credit every time you bring a friend or family member onto 1pMobile.

You have to already be on 1pMobile to get it to work. All you have to do is send your friend a special code or tracked link. After they’ve taken their new SIM you’ll both get your rewards.

Both you and your friend get £5 credit, but you’ll only get it if your friend stays on 1p for at least 30 days. You can refer as many friends as you like, meaning you can get some serious value out of this scheme.

We think the scheme would be better if you just gave you money back, but it’s still a nice reward for your loyalty.

Useful link: Our guide to the best mobile network loyalty schemes

1pMobile’s other smaller benefits are also useful

A table of 1p Mobile's rates between UK and France

Good value calls to lots of countriesSee their rates

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

1pMobile offer all their SIM only plans on flexible 1-month deals. There are no contracts, meaning you can switch or leave your plan whenever you need and you don’t need to pass a credit check to join them.

Firstly, 1p’s extra data add-ons are good value. Last time we checked you can add 1GB for £3 or 4GB for £6. That’s good if you just need a bit of extra data to tide you over till your next month.

International calls are also good value on 1pMobile, with calling rates to North America, Australia and New Zealand in particular being much lower than on most networks. But calls to Europe aren’t great value.

It’s good to know that you’re getting great value out of your pay monthly deal or PAYG tariff and also getting good value outside of that with 1pMobile.

Useful link: Our guide to the best international calling networks

Some other networks do certain things better

Endless Video

Free data streaming on VOXISee all apps

at VOXI.co.uk
(opens in new window)

You don’t get data rollover on 1pMobile, which usually lets you hold onto your unused data for your next month (even their data boosts expire after 30 days). Low cost rivals iD Mobile include this on all plans.

The money you save from going with 1pMobile may even free you up to pay for these otherwise “free” subscriptions anyway, but for many the lack of data rollover and worldwide roaming may be hard to get over.

There is no inclusive worldwide roaming on 1pMobile. There are also no free subscriptions, 1pMobile don’t have a rewards app (like O2 Priority) and there are no benefits for adding multiple SIMs to your account.

Overall, 1p are a low-frills network, so we’re not shocked that they miss out on these sorts of benefits. It’s the trade-off you get for lower prices, so if you don’t mind that then they’re still a great choice.

Our data rollover rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Not as good as:
Most networks

Better than:
N/A

1p Mobile deals and plans

Networks

Providers:

1p Mobile logo
Three logo
ASDA logo
Boshhh Mobile logo
Coop Mobile logo
EE logo
Genius logo
giffgaff logo
Honest logo
ID logo
IQ logo
Lebara logo
Lycamobile logo
O2 logo
SMARTY logo
Sky logo
spusu logo
Talkhome logo
Talkmobile logo
Tesco logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo

Plan

Data: (0MB+)

Minutes: (0+)

Contract

Maximum length: (Any)

Added features

1p Mobile's special offers

An overview of promotions running on 1p Mobile

Their Pay As You Go tariff is the best in the UK

Rates of only 1p per min, text and MBSee all other costs

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Traditional Pay As You Go SIMs are rarer than ever these days. But 1pMobile fill in the gap by offering the UK’s best Pay As You Go tariff in our eyes, with the lowest rates of all networks:

If you want a second SIM card for a dual SIM phone then 1pMobile are a great option as you get low cost minutes and texts while benefiting from EE’s network. And you can use your SIM for things like sat-navs too.

But this scheme won’t appeal to everyone. Very infrequent phone users won’t like the minimum £10 top-up requirement every 120 days. And their pay monthly plans give you much better value for your data.

Still, if you’re set on paying as you go, 1pMobile are one of the best choices out there.

Useful link: Order a 1pMobile SIM card

We like that credit never expires if you keep topping up

Topping up on 1pMobile

£10 minimum top up every 120 daysHow to top up

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

If you only use your phone now and again, then you’ll like that your credit never expires. There’s no rush to use up your credit. But you will have to top up with at least £10 every 120 days to keep your SIM active.

That’s an average of £2.50 a month you have to top up with to keep your SIM active. If you use your phone very infrequently then you might just start piling up credit that you’ll have no chance of getting through.

1pMobile also have some SIMs that give you a year’s worth of credit. These can be quite handy as you won’t have to remember to top-up until your year is over. You can find their annual SIMs on their website here.

Infrequent phone users might be turned off by the top-up requirement. But 1p let you set up an automatic top-up when you’re low on credit. And topping up is easy enough to do online or by text.

Useful link: All methods of topping up on 1p Mobile

Our PAYG rating:
★★★★★ (excellent)

Rank:
1st

Better than:
All others

Same as:
Talk Home

1p Mobile customer service

It’s nice having over-the-phone service on a budget network

1pMobile customer service review

It was quick to get in touch with themWhere to get help

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

It’s sometimes the case that joining a budget network means you can only get customer service online, which isn’t ideal for everyone. However, 1pMobile are a low-cost network you can actually call!

You’ll be put through to a real, UK-based agent on the phone (see their customer service numbers and opening hours here). This is great for customers who’ve had to deal with poor customer service in the past.

We called their customer service number and we put through to an agent impressively quickly. This might be due to their low number of customers, but still it was a pleasant surprise.

When we called them up we were put straight through to their call centre, just like if someone was in an office waiting to pick up the phone. We didn’t have to navigate a finickity menu or hold either.

So we tried emailing them and were pleasantly surprised to see they responded in just 3 minutes. Their online chat was also good, but it can take around 10 minutes at the very worst to get help this way.

In all, other budget networks should be using 1pMobile’s customer service as an example of how to do it right. Whichever way we tried to contact them we got through to a real person easily.

The main downside of 1p’s customer service is that if you call them as a Pay As You Go customer you will be using up your credit to do so. Most other networks let you call them for free, so this is a big issue.

But, if you’re a pay monthly customer, calls to their service line are included in your unlimited allowance, so not an issue. 1p’s small customer base means getting help is quicker in our experience.

Useful link: Visit 1pMobile's online help section

Our customer service rating:
★★★☆☆ (best choice)

Rank:
11th

Worse than:
All others

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