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VOXI vs SMARTY: how coverage, speeds and benefits compare

SMARTY vs VOXI logos

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Should you join SMARTY or VOXI? Our guide compares the two providers' UK coverage, 4G speeds, plan prices and added extra perks. Last updated: 20th September 2022

In our VOXI vs SMARTY guide

Offer news

Mobile networks: VOXI vs SMARTY

Do VOXI or SMARTY have better coverage?

We compare each network’s 5G, 4G and 3G signal coverage

Mobile signal bars with SMARTY and VOXI logos

VOXI have better call signal coverage than SMARTY

by Vodafone network banner

What this means...

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

VOXI and SMARTY both piggyback off larger networks for signal. While VOXI use Vodafone’s network, SMARTY use Three’s, each having its strengths and weaknesses.

For call signal (2G/3G) and for most types of data signal (3G/4G) VOXI hold a clear advantage in coverage. And VOXI’s calling signal is broadcast on more ideal frequencies for getting indoors through building materials.

Both networks now have WiFi calling and 4G calling to help with signal coverage both indoors and outdoors. However, you’re more likely to get a 4G signal on VOXI, even in rural areas.

There’s virtually no difference between the two for coverage in large towns or cities. But SMARTY’s 4G signal is generally weaker in rural areas and small towns than VOXI’s.

Before going with either network we suggest using both provider’s network coverage checkers.

Useful link: Check local signal on both networks

SMARTY have 5G in more locations than VOXI

SMARTY's 5G is coming banner

Read 5G updates

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

5G comes as standard on every SMARTY and VOXI plan. This is definitely a good thing for SMARTY as their hosts Three have the largest 5G network (for sheer number of locations), while VOXI are on the smallest 5G network.

5G is available in 300+ towns and cities against VOXI’s 120+ covered locations. Not only do SMARTY cover more than twice the amount of locations, but have better coverage in those locations.

No network is able to totally cover their locations with 5G. But some networks are better at doing this than others, and SMARTY are better for keeping you connected to 5G on the go than VOXI.

But you should use their coverage checkers to make sure. One network might have 5G in your area while the other doesn’t. Which one has better coverage in your area is more important than the national picture.

Useful link: VOXI's 5G help section guide

SMARTY and VOXI’s's coverage maps

Check your local area and anywhere you’re expecting to need your phone

SMARTY's signal checker

SMARTY coverage checker

Use SMARTY's map

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

VOXI signal checker

VOXI coverage checker

Use VOXI's map

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

Our verdict on coverage:

Slight win for VOXI

"We think that having better 4G coverage and as few calling blackspots as possible are more important than 5G coverage. So we have to give VOXI the win here, even though SMARTY have the better 5G."

Compare pricing and deals

Are 4G speeds faster on VOXI or SMARTY?

Which network gets you the best data speeds?

VOXI and SMARTY logos with a speedometer

4G speeds are pretty similar between SMARTY and VOXI

VOXI 4G data

Read network FAQs

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

Before comparing VOXI and SMARTY against each other, we looked to see if either provider were slower than their parent network. In our tests we found no evidence of speed differences or limits on either.

Independent network testers Opensignal put VOXI’s speeds at an average of 21.6 Mbps and SMARTY's around 25.2 Mbps. Both are what you’d expect from mid-range home fibre broadband and aren’t massively different.

There’s a big variation in speeds on VOXI depending on location. In the sticks we went as low as 7 Mbps, but we got up to 100+ Mbps in urban areas. Read our review here to see how we conducted our tests.

On the other hand, SMARTY’s speeds seemed to suffer more in congested suburban areas, but got around 40 Mbps in rural areas. Either way we recommend testing both to see which one is better in your area.

Useful link: Full SMARTY review | Full VOXI review

SMARTY offer blistering fast 5G speeds

SMARTY 5G data

Read their 5G guide

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

Being on Three’s network has some big upsides for SMARTY, especially getting full access to their hosts’ superfast 5G. Their 5G is the fastest of any UK network, while VOXI’s 5G is just average.

Independent network testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla put average 5G speeds on SMARTY between 103.9 Mbps and a blistering 248.16 Mbps. Speeds on VOXI were between 73.3 Mbps and 133.54 Mbps.

We can’t explain the larger variation in speeds on VOXI. But we can say SMARTY’s speeds are considerably faster, even though both networks’ speed results have actually improved as their 5G networks grow.

You can see how we rate all the networks on their 5G here. Since Three have made 5G their main selling point in recent times, it makes sense that their 5G networks would be one of the best.

Useful links: Full SMARTY review | Full VOXI review

Our verdict on download speeds:

Win for SMARTY

"SMARTY’s 5G speeds make VOXI look average in comparison. And while VOXI may have higher peak 4G speeds, SMARTY’s typical 4G speeds tend to be a bit faster. A pretty clear win for SMARTY here."

Compare pricing and deals

Extra network features

What technologies do either network have to keep you connected?

WiFi calling icon with VOXI and SMARTY logos

WiFi calling and 4G calling standard on SMARTY and VOXI

VOXI's WiFi calling

Read WiFi calling guide

voxi.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Both networks used to be pretty weak in terms of added network features to help keep users connected, but both networks now have WiFi calling and 4G calling so we have little to complain about.

WiFi calling is almost essential for people with poor calling signal inside their homes or businesses (read our WiFi calling guide here). It can also help save battery when you’re out and about.

On the other hand, 4G calling (also known as VoLTE or Supervoice) also comes as standard on both networks. This improves coverage by letting you connect to calls with 4G and improves call quality.

But SMARTY have recently introduced access to WiFi on the Underground. We think this scheme is largely the same as their hosts’. VOXI used to offer this, but it was removed a while ago. So SMARTY hold one advantage.

Useful link: Our guide to providers with WiFi calling

Our verdict on extra network features:

Slight win for SMARTY

"WiFi calling and 4G calling are largely the same on both networks. While SMARTY’s WiFi hotspot scheme isn’t the best, it’s something that VOXI just don’t offer. A very small win for SMARTY here."

Compare pricing and deals

Benefits on SMARTY vs VOXI

How SMARTY and VOXI’s benefits compare

Here’s what else you get on each network

VOXI logo with greater than symbol and SMARTY logo

VOXI’s unlimited data for social media and even video

VOXI Endless Video

See covered apps

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

One of VOXI’s major selling points is that social media apps will not use your data. Apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat and all these can be used as much as you like without having to worry about data usage.

Take one of the plans listed below and you'll also benefit from Unlimited Video. This lets you stream YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and three more streaming apps without using up your data either:

These plans will give you Endless Video at no extra cost:

VOXI even let you tether your phone to tablets and laptops, which you can use to stream and still get the benefit (it doesn’t work for games consoles or TVs). And you don’t even have to pay extra to get it.

We think this will be VOXI’s main selling point for many, especially if you stream a lot and worry about data usage. The only way to get anything similar on SMARTY is their unlimited data plan.

Useful link: Full details and terms

SMARTY offer special plans that get you discounts for unused data

SMARTY data discount banner

How it works

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

It used to be the case that you’d get money off your next month’s plan on any of SMARTY’s deals - but they’ve changed this benefit somewhat over time.

These days, this scheme is only available on select Data Discount plans. For 1GB of data left over you will get £1 off next month's bill. They even work it out to the MB and penny.

Here are the plans that give you a discount for unused data:

While that sounds amazing, the plans that give you this benefit are worse value than SMARTY’s larger plans without it, so you’re probably better off just going with one of their regular plans.

Still, if your data usage varies per month this may be a way to make sure you’re not paying too much for your data plan without needing to change it every month.

Useful link: We review SMARTY's data discount

Our verdict on perks:

Win for VOXI

"SMARTY don’t give you any extra benefits on their regular plans, and their data discount benefit seems pretty tame compared to VOXI’s brilliant Social Media and Endless Video benefits. Easy win for VOXI."

Compare pricing and deals

Roaming on VOXI vs SMARTY

Are VOXI or SMARTY better for going abroad?

Globe icon with SMARTY and VOXI logo

SMARTY offer inclusive EU roaming on all plans

SMARTY roaming banner

Read full guide

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

SMARTY have also kept their EU roaming policy largely the same over time. They have changed their fair usage policy from 19GB down to 12GB, but calls and texts work the same as home.

For data, SMARTY’s roaming is far more limited than VOXI’s. When abroad we only got 3G data on SMARTY where VOXI can offer you 4G in most areas and even 5G.

What’s also a bit annoying is you have to turn roaming on in your settings before going abroad (here’s how). If you don’t then you could end up without data and unable to turn roaming on unless you find WiFi.

However, SMARTY do let you tether abroad now. This isn’t a particular advantage, as you’re still limited to 12GB and VOXI also let you tether. But we still think SMARTY are still a good network for roaming.

Useful link: All roaming costs on SMARTY

VOXI no longer include EU roaming

VOXI Endless EU roaming bannerExpired stamp

Read more

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

VOXI are the latest network to get rid of their inclusive EU roaming. You’ll now have to pay £2 a day to roam in the EU, or you can buy time-limited passes of £4 for 2 days, £8 for 8 days or £15 for 15 days.

That can add up quite fast. And while the longer passes are better value per day you might end up paying for days that you won’t actually use. If you stay 10 days you either have to buy an 8 day pass then a 2 day pass or pay for 15 days you won’t entirely use.

And despite the fact you’re paying to access your allowance, VOXI still limit you to 20GB of data while abroad. It’s frustrating to be restricted when it’s something you’re paying for, but it’s not too restrictive of a limit.

VOXI do actually have a leg up over SMARTY for going beyond the EU with their Global Roaming Extras. These give you a small allowance of mins, texts and data in their worldwide destinations for a limited time period.

But we think most users care more about EU roaming and for that VOXI’s scheme has got considerably worse.

Useful link: VOXI's roaming help section

Our verdict on roaming:

Win by default for SMARTY

"With VOXI getting rid of their inclusive EU roaming, SMARTY take this category by default. VOXI are better for going beyond the EU, but most people will want to travel to the EU, for which VOXI aren’t a great choice."

Compare pricing and deals

Pricing compared on SMARTY and VOXI

SIM only plans on SMARTY vs VOXI

Which networks offer the best phone contracts?

VOXI and SMARTY logos with a SIM card

Networks

Providers:

Three logo
ASDA logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
Honest logo
ID logo
IQ logo
Lebara logo
O2 logo
Plusnet logo
Sky logo
SMARTY logo
Talkmobile logo
Tesco logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo

Plan

Data: (0MB+)

Minutes: (0+)

Contract

Maximum length: (Any)

Added features

Special offers on SMARTY and VOXI

Compare promotions running on the two networks

Special offer ribbon with VOXI and SMARTY logos

Phone contracts on SMARTY vs VOXI

Which networks offer the best phone contracts?

Smartphone icon with VOXI and SMARTY logos

Only VOXI offer phone deals between the two

Screenshot of VOXI's phone range

See phone range

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

There’s no need to scratch your head wondering whether SMARTY or VOXI have the better phone contracts, because only VOXI offer them between the two (here’s their range of models).

They offer their phones on what are called “split contracts”. These split your monthly bill into one payment for your device and another for your usage plan (mins, texts and data).

VOXI essentially loan you a phone that you pay back in monthly instalments. The airtime part is exactly the same plans as VOXI's SIM only. Your overall monthly payment is the sum of these two plans.

This means you can change your usage plan or move to a different network while you’re still paying off your phone with VOXI. And finally they even let you pay lump sums to pay your phone off sooner.

Useful link: See VOXI's phone range

SMARTY don’t yet offer phone contracts

SMARTY phone contracts banner

Read blog post

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

While SMARTY have been claiming that they’ll introduce phone contracts for some time, they still haven’t brought them out.

When they do introduce phone contracts we think they’ll be similar to VOXI, with a flexible finance agreement covering the cost of the phone with the SIM only plan separate to it.

It would be interesting to see them introduce a scheme that would convert unused data into money off the cost of your device. It would give them a unique selling point at the very least.

Of course, we can only compare when there’s something to compare. When SMARTY finally release their phone contracts we’ll be able to judge them against VOXI’s here.

Useful link: SMARTY's latest news on phone contracts

Our verdict on phone contracts:

VOXI win by default

"Since SMARTY don’t offer anything of the sort, VOXI do win by default. But that takes nothing away from their generally strong phone contracts. We have to wait and see what SMARTY do for now."

Compare pricing and deals

More SMARTY guides

Other VOXI guides

Individual network reviews