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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: 9th November 2021

In our VOXI vs SMARTY guide

Offer news

Mobile networks: VOXI vs SMARTY

Do SMARTY or VOXI have better coverage?

We look at their 5G, 4G and 3G networks

Mobile signal bars with SMARTY and VOXI logos

VOXI’s signal is more widespread than SMARTY’s

by Vodafone network banner

What this means...

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

Both SMARTY and VOXI are virtual operators, meaning they use the network of larger providers to bring their customers signal. For VOXI, this is the Vodafone network while SMARTY use Three’s network.

In terms of sheer geography, VOXI cover more of the UK than SMARTY. That goes for call signal (2G/3G/4G) and data signal (3G/4G/but not 5G). Generally VOXI’s 3G signal is better at getting through building materials making it more consistent indoors.

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.

In big towns or cities the differences in coverage between the two become basically unnoticeable. It’s only in more rural areas that you’ll notice the effects of SMARTY’s patchier coverage.

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

Useful link: Check local signal on both networks

SMARTY have more widespread 5G coverage

SMARTY's 5G is coming banner

Read 5G updates

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

SMARTY now offer 5G as standard on all plans. This means they benefit from the biggest and fastest 5G network in the UK (by location count). VOXI, on the other hand, are hosted by 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.

If you didn’t know, 5G coverage is still very much on a street by street basis. You won’t get 5G everywhere in a declared location, but SMARTY generally cover theirs slightly better than VOXI do.

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

VOXI and SMARTY's coverage maps

Don't only check at home. Check everywhere you'll use 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

"This is a tough one to call, but VOXI have the edge due to their better 4G and call signal coverage. SMARTY’s 5G coverage is better but not universal making 4G coverage more important in our eyes."

Compare pricing and deals

Are 4G speeds faster on SMARTY or VOXI?

How each provider measures up in real-life

VOXI and SMARTY logos with a speedometer

You’ll see similar 4G speeds on SMARTY and VOXI

VOXI 4G data

See our comparison

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

We compared VOXI and SMARTY with their parent networks by doing spot checks with one of their SIMs in the same test phone. We tested speeds and found each was as fast as their parent networks with no evidence of speed caps.

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

Speeds will vary per location, especially on VOXI. We got speeds as low as 7 Mbps in rural areas on VOXI and up to 80 Mbps in more populated areas. You can read our review here to see our findings.

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.

5G speeds are much faster on SMARTY

SMARTY 5G data

Read why

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

SMARTY benefit greatly from using Three’s network when it comes to their 5G speeds. Three have the fastest 5G speeds of all the UK networks, while VOXI’s hosts are only about average.

Independent network testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla put average 5G speeds on SMARTY between 103.9 Mbps and a blistering 221.8 Mbps. Speeds on VOXI were between 73.3 Mbps and 149.9 Mbps.

We can’t really say why there’s such a variation between VOXI (Vodafone)’s results. What we can say is that you’ll likely get much faster 5G speeds on SMARTY than on VOXI.

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

"VOXI’s 5G speeds are a little disappointing, even if their top 4G speeds are better than SMARTY’s. The stats show that on average round the country, SMARTY are just ahead."

Compare pricing and deals

Extra network features

Other technology on SMARTY and VOXI to keep you connected

WiFi calling icon with VOXI and SMARTY logos

Both SMARTY and VOXI now have WiFi calling and 4G calling

VOXI's WiFi calling

Read WiFi calling guide

voxi.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Our main criticisms of VOXI and SMARTY in the past revolved around them lacking extra network features, but now that both have WiFi calling and 4G calling we have little to fault them on this.

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.

You’re also getting 4G calling technology (sometimes known as VoLTE or Supervoice) on both, giving you better call coverage (by letting you use 4G signal instead of just 3G/2G) and HD call quality.

Vodafone have recently cut support for their Underground WiFi hotspots, so both VOXI and its parent currently have no WiFi hotspots. SMARTY are also deprived of this, even though Three do provide them.

Useful link: Our guide to providers with WiFi calling

Our verdict on extra network features:

Neither win

"Both networks now have basically the same network features and in both cases they work just as well as their parent networks. There’s nothing to separate them here."

Compare pricing and deals

Benefits on SMARTY vs VOXI

How VOXI and SMARTY's benefits compare

Here's what each provider has to offer

VOXI logo with greater than symbol and SMARTY logo

VOXI's offer Endless Social Media on all plans and Endless Video on some

VOXI Endless Video

See covered apps

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

VOXI have always given you Endless Social Media on all of their plans. This means that when apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat and more listed here won’t eat into your data allowance.

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

Endless Video is included with each of these plans as standard:

You can even tether to devices with larger screens (tablets/laptops but not games consoles or TVs) and you’ll still benefit from the scheme. All of this without any added costs in the UK.

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 discount next month for unused data on select plans

SMARTY data discount banner

How it works

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

SMARTY were set up with a key selling point in mind - that the cost of anydata you don’t use will be discounted on your next month’s plan.

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.

Get a £1 discount per unused GB data on any of these SMARTY plans:

It sounds great on paper, but these discounted plans are now more expensive than SMARTY’s other plans, which means you could be getting a better deal for more data on a normal plan.

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

"We'd say VOXI's Endless Video and Social Media give you more value for your data, where SMARTY’s discounts will only save you money if you use very little data."

Compare pricing and deals

Roaming on SMARTY vs VOXI

Which network is better for going abroad?

Globe icon with SMARTY and VOXI logo

SMARTY offer free EU roaming as standard

SMARTY roaming banner

Read full guide

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

SMARTY are one of the networks that have kept their EU roaming policy in place. You can roam in these EU destinations and use your regular UK allowance for no added cost (but you’re limited to 12GB while there).

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.

Another thing that was a bit irritating is that you’ll have to turn roaming on yourself before going abroad (here’s how to do that). If you don’t then you could end up without a way to turn it on unless you find some free 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 have got rid of free EU roaming

VOXI Endless EU roaming banner

Read more

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

We used to praise VOXI for keeping their EU roaming, but these days that’s no longer the case. If you join VOXI from the 23rd May 2022 onwards you’ll no longer be able to roam in the EU for no added cost.

Unfortunately, VOXI’s Endless Social Media or Video don’t work while you’re in the EU either. The data those apps use will now come out of your allowance while roaming. So there are now more chances to rack up extra expenses abroad.

Outside of their EU destinations you’ll have to top up with credit and pay as you go at these rates to make calls and use data. And they’re not the cheapest for this. But, they do have roaming passes that will work out a lot cheaper.

So, VOXI’s roaming is a lot weaker than it used to be. At the very least they’re a bit better than SMARTY for worldwide roaming, but you’re spending extra to roam in the EU on VOXI that you don’t have to pay on SMARTY.

Useful link: VOXI's roaming help section

Our verdict on roaming:

Win for SMARTY

"Only SMARTY offer free EU roaming between them. VOXI are the better option for worldwide roaming, but most people will care about EU roaming. A win for SMARTY here."

Compare pricing and deals

Pricing compared on SMARTY and VOXI

SIM only plans on SMARTY vs VOXI

Here's how VOXI and SMARTY's current deals stack up

VOXI and SMARTY logos with a SIM card

Networks

Providers:

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

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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 VOXI vs SMARTY

Compare pricing on popular models between VOXI and SMARTY

Smartphone icon with VOXI and SMARTY logos

Between the two only VOXI offer phone contracts

Screenshot of VOXI's phone range

See phone range

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

If you were looking to choose between SMARTY and VOXI for a phone deal your choice has been made for you. SMARTY still offer no phone deals where VOXI do (see their range here).

Their phone deals are on what we call split contracts. That means you have two separate contracts, the payment for your phone and your monthly payment for your calls, 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 gives you the freedom to move your SIM only plan to another network or change it while keeping your phone with VOXI. You can also pay lump sum amounts to pay off your phone early.

Useful link: See VOXI's phone range

SMARTY still yet to release their smartphone contracts

SMARTY phone contracts banner

Read blog post

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

SMARTY have been promising to bring out smartphone contracts for a couple of years now. We have yet to see anything come of this.

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.

We could also see SMARTY will build in a way to use money saved from unused data to pay towards the cost of your device too.

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

"VOXI simply win by actually offering phone contracts. Until SMARTY offer something, VOXI will take this category by default."

Compare pricing and deals

More SMARTY guides

Other VOXI guides

Individual network reviews