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Honest Mobile review: is the Carbon Negative network any good?

Honest Mobile logo with a SIM cardVisit honestmobile.co.uk

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Here's our verdict on whether Honest Mobile are worth joining for reasons other than sustainability, like basic coverage, speeds and benefits. Last updated: 29th April 2022.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates Honest Mobile as good ★★★☆☆ (3/5, good)

"Honest Mobile come top in our guide to the best sustainable mobile networks. There’s no doubting their environmental credentials. But our review does need to cover everything they offer.

The launch of 5G via the superfast Three network and extra features like WiFi calling has put Honest up in our estimation. But it’s still worth remembering their host network is the most-limited in rural areas.

We like the idea of their loyalty discount the longer you stay with them but the thing holding us back from being able to rate Honest Mobile is their pricing, compared to similar virtual providers on Three.

You’d entitled to say that that doesn’t matter, because the premium lets you invest in a company that’s serious about climate issues. And we think there are plenty of people that would agree and be happy on Honest Mobile."

The 3 best bits

1) Best enivironmental credentials in UK
2) New 5G service and unlimited data
3) WiFi calling without an app

The 3 worst bits

1) More expensive than competitors
2) Telephone customer service scrapped
3) Rural coverage needs boosting

What network does Honest Mobile use?

Three. Honest Mobile uses Three’s 3G and 4G network to bring their customers signal.

Who owns Honest Mobile?

Honest Mobile is a privately owned limited company. It’s not owned by any large mobile network or broadband provider.

Does Honest Mobile have WiFi calling?

No. Not at the moment. But they are planning to add the feature.

Can I keep my number on Honest Mobile?

Yes. Just text the word PAC to your old provider using your old SIM and give Honest Mobile the PAC they send you. They can the arrange the number transfer.

Honest Mobile's network

Coverage: Honest Mobile piggyback off Three’s network

Preview of Honest Mobile's network coverage

The same coverage as being on Three directlyRead More

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

Honest Mobile are unique in that they have partnered with multiple networks. But most of the time your Honest Mobile SIM will be connected to Three’s network.

Three are able to cover around 97% of the UK’s physical landmass with 3G and 4G signal. This does mean that your signal might suffer in more rural areas or anywhere else their coverage can’t reach.

But Honest Mobile have currently suspended their Smart Signal add-on that let you use EE and O2’s networks to fill in any gaps in coverage (see more here). This means you’ll rely solely on Three for now.

Three’s 4G signal tends to be consistently strong in the city. But as you get further away from urban areas you can find yourself with poor or even no signal more often than average. In any case, check their coverage in your area here.

Useful link: More details on Honest's network technology

5G: Honest Mobile offer it as standard

Honest Mobile 5G

You get access to Three’s super fast 5GRead More

at honestmobile.co.uk
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Honest introduced 5G as standard a little while ago. You get the same 5G coverage as you would on Three directly, and that’s definitely a good thing.

Three are currently the fastest 5G network according to Speedtest by Ookla and have 5G live in over 300+ locations. Their coverage in those locations can be a bit patchy, so it’s worth checking in your local area.

We can’t say for certain that you’ll get the same speeds as being on Three. Honest claim that you will, but we still need to test this and we’ll update this page here when we do.

If 5G is a big deal for you we think you’re probably safer going with Three, but we will soon confirm whether Honest’s 5G is as good as their host’s.

Useful link: Honest Mobile’s guide to their 5G

Data speeds: Honest Mobile have decent 4G speeds

Screenshot of FAQs on Honest's data speeds

Honest claim 4G speeds are around 50 MbpsFAQs about speed

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

Honest Mobile’s choice to have Three provide most of their network is definitely a good thing for their download speeds.

Opensignal take speed measurements from volunteer phones up and down the country. They measured speeds on Honest at around 25.2 Mbps, which is mid-range for mobile networks.

If Honest’s 5G is as good as Three’s then they should get average 5G speeds between 103.9 Mbps according to Opensignal and a blistering 221.8 Mbps according to Speedtest. That’s the fastest in the country.

They don’t claim to restrict 4G speeds, so you should get the same speeds being on Honest as you would on Three. That means potentially fast data speeds to stream HD videos comfortably.

Useful link: Our rankings of the best 5G networks

Extra network features: Honest now have proper WiFi calling

Screenshot of Honest Mobile's app

It should work automaticallyRead their guide

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

WiFi calling should now work automatically, allowing it to work seamlessly in the background, which is how it should work. It’s great if you have poor indoor signal in your home or at work.

They also offer 4G calling (VoLTE) which lets you make calls via 4G signal. This helps improve coverage for calls and should improve call quality where 4G signal is strong.

We still need to test whether or not you can transfer a call from WiFi to 4G calling without it dropping or vice versa. We assume you should be able to, but we can’t yet say for sure.

Their list of supported devices seems to be missing some new models, but they’ve said this is because they’re waiting for Three to confirm which new devices work and that most new models should work just fine.

Useful link: How to get round poor indoor signal

Honest Mobile's benefits

The only carbon negative network that also plant more trees!

Mobile phone with a count of trees planted displayed on screen

Your monthly bill goes towards reforestationWhat it means

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

Honest Mobile were set up and market themselves as the most sustainable network. In our rankings for the most environmentally friendly networks, we found that their claims hold some weight.

They’re the only network that totally offset the carbon emissions from providing their network services, keeping their offices powered, shipping and even the charging of your phone (read here to see how this works).

Honest don’t just settle there, however. They even use part of their profits to plant trees on their customers’ behalf. You can see how many trees have been planted thanks to your custom on their app.

From a purely market-based view, this is a unique selling point for Honesty Mobile over others to appeal to ethical customers. But we’re not sure if their increased prices will appeal to most consumers.

Useful link: Honest Mobile's blog

Your plan gets cheaper the longer you stay with them

Watch your monthly bill drop banner with loyal dog

High initial cost, cheaper cost over timeRead full terms

at honestmobile.co.uk
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It’s not uncommon for new customers to see the cost of their contract go up because of RPI increases or because of a temporary discount period ending.

Honest Mobile don’t work that way. Instead, you’ll actually start getting discounts on your plan after your second month up until a maximum of 30% off the original price.

You can see how much your plan is being discounted by on their app and how much you’ll be paying per month.

Honest are more expensive than other small providers, but this benefit makes them more appealing. If their values appeal to you and you’re still willing to pay more, their discounts are nice extra.

Useful link: Honest Mobile's full features and benefits page

SIM only plans



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Added features

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Honest Mobile customer service reviews

Customer service: Honest offer a few ways to contact them

Customer service and feedback on Honest mobile

They will take your feedback on boardRead more

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

Usually we use Ofcom data to show how many complaints a network get, but Honest are too small to show up on their list. However, even if they were on the list we think their level of complaints would be very low.

Unfortunately you can’t call their customer service any more. This would be more of an issue if they didn’t have an online chat. But they do, and we found their online agents helpful and friendly.

Sometimes smaller networks that have customer service messaging can take ages to respond. Not Honest. We asked a question and we were through to them in only a matter of minutes!

Their customer service is a little bit limited compared to what it used to be. But they’re still efficient at dealing with their smaller number of customers, especially compared to low-cost rivals iD Mobile.

Useful link: Read their FAQ page here

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