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SMARTY vs 1pMobile: which network's best for your needs

1pMobile vs SMARTY

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We look at everything you do and don't get on 1pMobile and SMARTY to see which has the better coverage, speeds and benefits. Last updated: 16th April 2024.

In our 1pMobile vs SMARTY guide

Latest offer news

1pMobile and SMARTY’s networks compared

Coverage on SMARTY vs 1pMobile

Which provider has the more widespread 5G/4G/3G?

1pMobile and SMARTY logos with mobile signal bars

1pMobile’s 4G coverage is wider than SMARTY’s

1pMobile coverage statement

Check signal here

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Both 1pMobile and SMARTY are smaller providers that piggyback off larger networks for signal. SMARTY are a sub-brand of Three and use their network, while 1pMobile use EE’s network for signal.

Coverage for calls is a bit more widespread on 1pMobile. They’re on the second-largest network for calls while SMARTY are on the smallest. Indoor call signal can be a weakness on either due to the frequencies they use.

For 4G data signal it’s advantage 1p too (see 5G below). 1pMobile are on the biggest network for 4G by far, but SMARTY's 4G data coverage has massively improved in recent years.

1pMobile come out as the overall winner for mix of 4G data and call signal. But it’s still worth using both networks' coverage maps below as you might get better signal on one than the other in your area.

Useful link: See 1pMobile’s map | See SMARTY’s map

SMARTY provide 5G in more areas than 1pMobile

SMARTY 5G ready

Read more

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

While SMARTY fall behind for call and 4G data signal, the same can’t be said for their 5G. They have 5G live in a massive 580+ UK towns and cities, while 1pMobile have it in 336+ locations.

In fairness, 1pMobile's hosts EE only declare a location as covered once 5G is available in 50% of its area. So the actual number of 5G live locations is probably a lot closer between them than suggested.

It also means that 1pMobile typically provide better 5G coverage within their declared locations, but this does depend. SMARTY have got better at spreading their 5G beyond just small pockets of towns and cities.

But in any case, it’s worth using both networks’ signal maps to check how well either of them cover your local area. While SMARTY generally win nationally, it’s more important to get good 5G in places you’ll actually use it.

Useful link: Our guide to the best 5G networks

Coverage checkers for SMARTY and 1pMobile

Check everywhere you’ll use your phone

SMARTY’s network map

SMARTY coverage checker

Check SMARTY signal

using their official map
(opens in new window)

1pMobile network map

1pMobile coverage checker

Check 1pMobile’s map

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Alternative coverage checkers

Independent coverage checkers

Use OpenSignal checker

Our verdict on coverage:

Win for 1pMobile

"While SMARTY just win out for 5G coverage, it’s more important for a network to provide better call and 4G data coverage as those are the types of signal you’ll use more often. For that, 1pMobile take the win here."

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Data speeds: 4G/5G on 1pMobile vs SMARTY

Which provider has the faster 4G and 5G data speeds?

1pMobile and SMARTY logos with speedometer icon

4G data speeds are faster on 1pMobile than on SMARTY

Data speeds table

Read data speed FAQs

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

To see which networks provide the fastest typical 4G data speeds, we use independent network testers Opensignal’s speed results. They take measurements from millions of volunteer phones up and down the country.

They measured typical 4G data speeds of 34.5 Mbps on SMARTY’s hosts, Three and 44 Mbps on 1pMobile’s hosts, EE. The gap has been gradually closing between the two, so what does this mean in real life?

We tested both networks in the city centre and in the countryside. On SMARTY speeds went as low as 7 Mbps and as high as 70 Mbps. On 1pMobile speeds went as low as 5 Mbps but as high as 130+ Mbps.

There’s a huge variation in speeds depending on where you use your phone on both. But 1pMobile come out as the faster network fairly consistently. It’s only in rural areas that you might see a bit more slowdown.

Useful link: Read 1pMobile’s data speed FAQs

5G speeds are much faster on SMARTY than on 1pMobile

Powered by Three

Read more

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

Like for 4G speeds, we look at results from independent network testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla to see how typical 5G data speeds look on each network.

They measured typical 5G speeds between 99.5 Mbps - 108.91 Mbps on 1p’s hosts with peak speeds of 272.77 Mbps. But SMARTY’s hosts provided typical speeds between 205.5 Mbps - 286.27 Mbps with peaks of 696.73 Mbps.

From the numbers alone it’s clear to see who wins here. Speed results on 1p’s hosts have gone down drastically over time while they’ve generally gone up and up on SMARTY’s hosts, putting them in first place for 5G.

If you only use your phone for social media browsing you won’t notice a huge difference. But if you want the fastest speeds for gaming or any other data heavy activity then SMARTY are clearly the better choice here.

Useful link: Our guide to the best 5G networks

Our verdict on data speeds:


"This is a tough one to call. On the one hand, 1p’s better 4G speeds will be more useful more often than SMARTY’s better 5G speeds. But the gap is closing between them for 4G speeds and the advantage SMARTY hold over 1p for 5G speeds is huge. We call this one a draw."

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Extra network features on 1pMobile vs SMARTY

What features do either network offer to help keep you connected?

1pMobile and SMARTY logos with phone

Better WiFi calling on 1p, but SMARTY offer WiFi hotspots

WiFi calling is here

Check supported phones

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

You may struggle to get indoor call signal on both networks. This is where WiFi calling and 4G calling come in handy, by letting you connect to calls using WiFi and 4G signal. Both networks have these features.

Between the two, you’re more likely to get WiFi calling working on 1pMobile. They have a longer list of supported devices (see 1p’s list here and SMARTY’s list here). But other than that their schemes are very similar.

One thing SMARTY have over 1p is their free WiFi hotspots on the London Underground. This is really handy for staying connected where you’d otherwise get no signal and pairs well with their WiFi calling.

On top of that, SMARTY offer call forwarding while 1pMobile don’t. This lets you forward incoming calls to another number. In all, while their WiFi calling isn’t quite as good, SMARTY offer just a bit more than 1p here.

Useful link: Our guide to the best WiFi calling networks

Our verdict on extra network features:

Slight win for SMARTY

"If you’re on an older Android device you might have a bit more luck getting WiFi calling to work on 1pMobile. But SMARTY offer just a bit more here with their WiFi hotspots and call forwarding, so we just give them the win here."

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Perks and benefits

Roaming on SMARTY vs 1pMobile

Which provider is better for taking your SIM abroad?

1pMobile and SMARTY logos with a globe

1pMobile’s inclusive EU roaming is excellent

1p mascot saying hello in different languages

See EU countries

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Lots of UK networks have removed inclusive EU roaming from their plans, so it’s good to see that 1pMobile have kept theirs in place. You can still use your UK mins, texts and data in these 46 EU countries.

While there you can use up to 14GB of your data allowance. That’s a flexible amount and should be more than enough for most people on a short trip. If you do go over that you can pay per MB at these rates.

They don’t include any roaming destinations beyond the EU. For that you’ll have to top up and pay for your usage at these fairly steep rates. You’ll get through your credit fairly quickly, so it’s best to limit your usage while there.

But we wouldn’t expect a smaller network to offer inclusive worldwide roaming anyway. 1p’s EU roaming is really good considering their low prices and is a lot better than what many more expensive networks offer.

Useful link: Our guide to the best roaming networks

SMARTY’s EU roaming is a little bit less flexible

Travelling in the EU

How to activate it

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

SMARTY have also kept their inclusive EU roaming in place. You can roam in these 34 EU/EEA destinations at no extra cost on every SMARTY plan.

The main difference between their scheme and 1p’s is that SMARTY let you use 12GB of data instead of 14GB on 1p. Realistically this won’t affect most people. But you do have to turn on SMARTY’s roaming manually.

Remember to do this before going abroad as otherwise you could be stuck with no way to turn it on until you find some WiFi. It’s not hard to turn it on, it’s just a fiddly detail you have to be aware of.

Just like 1p, SMARTY don’t offer any inclusive roaming beyond the EU. For that you’ll have to top up with credit and pay at these hefty rates. SMARTY and 1p’s roaming schemes are similar, but 1p just come out ahead.

Useful link: How to turn on roaming on SMARTY

Our verdict on roaming:

1pMobile just win

"Honestly, both networks are brilliant choices for EU roaming. But you can use a bit of extra data before having to pay for it on 1pMobile than SMARTY and you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn it on beforehand. A very small win for 1p here."

Compare pricing and deals

1pMobile’s better benefits

What do 1pMobile give you that SMARTY don’t?

1pMobile and SMARTY logos with a greater than symbol

Cheaper international calling rates on 1pMobile

International calling rates

See their rates

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

If you call abroad often, 1pMobile will be the better choice of the two. They tend to offer cheaper rates than SMARTY across lots of different countries and offer good rates to some surprisingly remote locations.

Calls to Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia are 9p per min on 1pMobile. Calls to those same countries on SMARTY are 19p per min. Calls to South Africa and Nigeria are 20p per min on 1p and 30p per min on SMARTY.

And that 20p per min rate applies to some very remote countries where calls to these countries on SMARTY would be almost unusably expensive. For most countries, 1p work out cheaper.

1p are far from the cheapest network for making calls abroad, but they’ll usually work out as the better option for international calls than SMARTY.

Useful link: Our guide to the best international calling networks

1pMobile’s customer service is also better

1pMobile contact us page

Get in touch

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Most budget networks are able to keep their costs low by not having call centres. But 1pMobile don’t do this. They give you both low cost prices and good over-the-phone customer service.

You can call them up between 9am - 5pm any day of the week. That’s flexible enough to fit around most schedules. But if you’d rather not call, 1p have an online chat agent that’s a handy way of getting help.

The only real downside is that calling their customer service will use up your credit on Pay As You Go. But on pay monthly it won’t cost anything extra. SMARTY don’t offer over-the-phone service at all.

1pMobile’s customer service is pretty good considering the low cost of their plans and is excellent if you're not tech-savvy enough to sort things out yourself. It’s a big advantage they have over SMARTY.

Useful link: Our guide to the networks with the best customer service

SMARTY’s better benefits

What do SMARTY offer that 1pMobile don’t?

SMARTY and 1pMobile logos with a greater than symbol

SMARTY’s family plan discounts are genuinely brilliant

Save 10% with friends and family

How it works

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

If you want to put your kids onto their own SIM only plans or have a close-knit group of friends, you can get some good money off by setting up a group plan on SMARTY.

To get it working you need to take out a SMARTY SIM only plan and then add extra SIMs onto your account. You get 10% off each plan you add to your account, which can save you a nice bit of money overall.

You can add up to 7 extra plans and each user on your account gets to choose the plan they want. And having all your plans in the same place makes it easier to manage parental controls and extra spending.

This is something that 1pMobile don’t offer, meaning SMARTY are the better value option if you need to take out more than one plan. You don’t get a discount on your own plan, but still this can save you quite a lot.

Useful link: Our guide to the best family plan schemes

SMARTY’s data add-ons are the cheapest of all networks

On a mission to make mobile simple and honest

See their add-ons

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

If you’ve ever gone over your monthly data allowance, you’ll know how painful it is to have to shell out for just a bit of data to tide you over. Thankfully, SMARTY have the cheapest data add-ons of any network.

Most of their add-ons are worth £1 per GB. And some of their larger add-ons come at even better value than that. On 1pMobile it’s £3 per GB, which isn’t awful but is a lot more than you’d spend on SMARTY.

What’s even better is that their add-ons never expire (unless you change plans). So if you’ve haven’t used up your extra data at the end of the month it will be added on top of your new monthly allowance.

It’s a really fair scheme that means you don’t have to worry too much about going over your allowance. It’s still best to take a plan that suits your needs.

Useful link: The best value data add-ons of all networks

Our verdict on better benefits:

Depends what you want

"Whether you prefer the added benefits you get on SMARTY or 1pMobile really comes down to what you want out of your plan. We would say SMARTY’s family plan discount and cheap data add-ons makes them great for parents. But it’s really up to you."

Compare pricing and deals

Comparing pricing, offers and deals

SIM only plans on SMARTY vs 1pMobile

Which network offers better value on SIM only plans?

1pMobile and SMARTY logos with SIM card



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Special offers on SMARTY and 1pMobile

Here are the current promotions either network has this month

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