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VOXI vs SMARTY: how their 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. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 21st October 2020

In our VOXI vs SMARTY guide

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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

Overall coverage on VOXI is better than SMARTY

by Vodafone network banner

What this means...

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Both SMARTY and VOXI are virtual operators that use other networks for signal. VOXI is owned directly by Vodafone and use their network. SMARTY is owned directly by Three so use theirs.

Looking at the entire physical landmass of the UK, VOXI have more of it covered than SMARTY. That goes for signal used for calls (2G/3G) and for data (3G/4G/5G). VOXI have an advantage for indoor calls too.

The differences matter much less if you live in a big city or town and will mostly use your phone there. SMARTY can go toe-to-toe with VOXI in places people live for 3G and 4G (just not more-rural places).

The real key is to think about where you'll actually use your phone (not just at home) and use both providers' coverage checkers to see their predicted signal strength there, to make sure you're happy.

Useful link: Check local signal on both networks

Only VOXI offer 5G data, SMARTY don't have it yet

SMARTY's 5G is coming banner

Read 5G updates

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Out of the two, only VOXI currently offer 5G data. They're our best pick for a 1-month 5G SIM in the UK. SMARTY don't yet offer it, despite their parent network Three offering 5G for some time (more details here).

Not every plan on VOXI gets you 5G, see under the dropdown below to see the current 5G-enabled ones. These get you faster data in the same 54 towns and cities as Vodafone:

Each of these comes with 5G data:

SMARTY also say they will offer 5G, although the timing of this isn't yet clear. And they've been saying it's coming for quite a long time now. We'd expect them to offer it at no extra cost when it does launch.

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

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VOXI signal checker

VOXI coverage checker

Use VOXI's map

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Our verdict on coverage:

Win for VOXI

"On a national level VOXI have an advantage over SMARTY for coverage, although people who live in cities and large towns are unlikely to notice a big difference. Checking both near you will help you decide."

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

Expect similar 4G speeds on SMARTY and VOXI

VOXI 5G data

Read 5G difference

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We've done some spot checks with a VOXI and SMARTY SIM card, to see how they compare with their parent networks (Vodafone and Three) for speeds and couldn't find any built-in speed caps or differences.

So to get a broader national picture, we can look at Vodafone and Three's results with independent speed testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla, who take millions of measurements up and down the country.

They expect Vodafone's typical download speeds to average out at 21.15 - 25.1 Mbps and Three's at 21.60 Mbps, a difference unlikely to be noticeable. Both scores are like a mid-range home fibre connection.

Those speeds will comfortably support things like watching HD videos without buffering. But remember they're an average, so sometimes will be lower (6 - 8 Mbps) and higher (up to 58 Mbps on VOXI or 42 Mbps on SMARTY).

Useful links: Full SMARTY review | Full VOXI review

Our verdict on download speeds:

Minor win for VOXI

"Both VOXI and SMARTY deliver healthy 4G download speeds and we don't think people will be unhappy with either. But VOXI probably do offer higher peak speeds than SMARTY."

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

Neither SMARTY nor VOXI have WiFi calling or 4G calling

Three's WiFi calling

Read WiFi calling guide

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Even though both SMARTY and VOXI are both owned by main networks, there are a few differences built in to the network technology you can access with them both.

Notably, WiFi calling doesn't work on VOXI or SMARTY, which lets your phone tap into WiFi to make and take calls when you're somewhere conventional mobile signal is weak (read our WiFi calling guide here).

You also don't get the similar 4G calling technology (sometimes known as VoLTE or Supervoice) on SMARTY or VOXI, which improves audio quality and calls coverage by using 4G signal instead of just 2G/3G.

You can however use Vodafone's access to free WiFi on London's TFL network when you join VOXI. You connect using the instructions here on Vodafone's website. We've tried it ourselves for real and it does indeed work. SMARTY don't offer this, even though Three do.

Useful link: Our guide to providers with WiFi calling

Our verdict on extra network features:

Neither win

"You don't get any of the advanced network features on VOXI and SMARTY that you'd get with their parents. So there's no difference between them for this. You'll have to decide how important they are for you."

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 Unlimited data for video streaming and social media

VOXI Endless Video

How it works

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Every plan on VOXI has always given you Endless Social Media, a separate unlimited data allowance for using apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat and more listed here. But things have got even better:

Take one of the plans in the dropdown below and you'll also be able to watch YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and three more streaming apps without them using up your data either - watch as much as you like.

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

They've not raised their prices to include this. And you can even tether to larger devices to watch on and it still works(tablets/laptops but not games consoles or TVs). There's no excuse to be bored on a long journey again.

We think this is a really strong reason to join VOXI, if you know you'll get your money's worth out of those included apps. SMARTY have got nothing similar, unless you go for their full-on unlimited data plan.

Useful link: Full details and terms

SMARTY will pay you back for unused data on some plans

SMARTY data discount banner

How it works

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SMARTY were launched with a key unique selling point - that they'd pay you back the cost of any data you haven't used up, in the form of a discount off next month's plan.

On any of their data discount plans, 1GB data costs £1 to buy as part of your bundle. So 1GB gets you a £1 discount off next month's bill. And they'll work it out to the MB and penny.

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

If you're someone whose data usage varies month-to-month but can't be bothered to monitor and change plans all the time, this is an excellent system, because it all just takes care of itself. You'll never be out of pocket.

Useful link: We review SMARTY's data discount

Our verdict on perks:

Depends what you're into

"We'd say VOXI's Endless Video and Social Media data are worth more on a monetary basis than SMARTY's data discount and will help you get more out of your phone."

Compare pricing and deals

Roaming on SMARTY vs VOXI

How does going abroad compare on VOXI and SMARTY?

Globe icon with SMARTY and VOXI logo

VOXI have a few advantages for roaming

VOXI Endless EU roaming banner

Read more

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Your monthly VOXI plan can be used at no extra cost when you're abroad in any EU country, including anywhere up to your whole data allowance (or 25GB if you have VOXI's unlimited data plan).

We like the fact that you'll get 4G data speed wherever it's available abroad on VOXI and their Endless Social Media data benefit works in EU countries too.

If you're going further afield, there's no inclusive worldwide roaming on VOXI. You have to top up with credit and pay as you go at these rates out of it.

Roaming in the EU just works out-of-the-box on VOXI. There's nothing extra you have to do manually, so it's a bit slicker than SMARTY.

Useful link: VOXI's roaming help section

SMARTY also include EU roaming at no extra cost

SMARTY roaming banner

Read full guide

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Like practically every other network and VOXI, SMARTY too offer inclusive roaming in the EU, where you can use your unlimited calls and texts back home and up to 20GB of your data allowance.

There are a couple of irritations with roaming on SMARTY though. You'll only get 3G data speeds while you're abroad - they don't offer 4G roaming like VOXI do.

You also manually have to turn on roaming in your account before it works (follow SMARTY's instructions here). If you forget to do this in advance, you could end up abroad without being able to use your phone.

Lastly, you won't be able to personal hotspot (also known as tethering) while you're abroad. SMARTY block it.

Useful link: All roaming costs on SMARTY

Our verdict on roaming:

Win for VOXI

"Even though you get EU roaming on both, we'd say VOXI's 4G speeds and Endless social media data there give them the edge over SMARTY."

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



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Added features

Special offers on Vodafone and Three

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 Vodafone and Three

Smartphone icon with VOXI and SMARTY logos

Only VOXI currently do smartphone deals

Screenshot of VOXI's phone range

See phone range

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If you're looking for a phone contract, the choice is pretty easy between VOXI and SMARTY, because only VOXI currently offer them (see their range here).

VOXI's phone deals are on what's known in the industry as split contracts. That means you have two separate agreements, one for your phone and another for you monthly minutes, texts and data (airtime).

The phone agreement on VOXI is based on finance (essentially a loan), for the cost of your phone. The airtime part is exactly the same plans as VOXI's SIM only. Add them together and that's your overall deal.

All this has the advantage of flexibility. You can move your plan to another network and keep your phone with VOXI. You can change plans. Or upgrade early by paying the phone off.

Useful link: See VOXI's phone range

SMARTY are working on launching phone contracts

SMARTY phone contracts banner

Read blog post

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You can only currently get a SIM only plan from SMARTY but they do say they're working on bringing phone contracts to their network too.

We think they'll offer phone contracts on a similar basis to VOXI, where you have a flexible finance agreeement covering the cost of the phone, plus a SIM only plan attached to that.

It's also looking like SMARTY will build in a way to use money saved from unused data as a way of paying towards the cost of your device too.

Once SMARTY do start offering phone contracts, we'll take a look and give our opinion on how the compare with VOXI's here.

Useful link: SMARTY's latest news on phone contracts

Our verdict on phone contracts:

VOXI win by default

"Only VOXI actually currently offer phone contracts out of the two, so they win by default for the time being."

Compare pricing and deals

More SMARTY guides

Other VOXI guides