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Various logos of UK mobile networks

iD Mobile review: the UK's slickest low-cost network in 2019

iD Mobile logo with a phone and a SIM card

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

They may be among the cheapest mobile networks but our review finds iD Mobile to have some surprisingly good features too. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: September 16th 2019.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates iD Mobile as a very good provider
 (3.5 / 5, very good)

"It's really hard to argue with iD Mobile's combination of cheap prices, advanced network features like WiFi Calling and 4G Calling, above-average customer service and some nice little perks too. iD offer a slick package that defies your expectations of a cheap and cheerful network."

Our full guide further below takes you through the good, the bad and the inbetween about joining iD Mobile.

The 3 best bits

1) Data rollover scheme
2) 4G calling and WiFi calling
3) Brilliant app to manage account

The 3 worst bits

1) Less 4G away from big towns/cities
2) 3G-only roaming
3) Limited extra perks

In our iD Mobile review

Overall rating

Our verdict

Overall rating

Network review

Network

4G and 3G coverage
Data speeds
Call quality
WiFi calling
Tethering
Free WiFi hotspots

Perks review

Benefits & features

Data rollover scheme
Spending caps
Inclusive EU roaming
Customer reward schemes
Free app subscriptions
Unlimited streaming options
Shared / family plans

Deal review

Deals & plans

Special offers
SIM only plans
Phone contracts
Pay As You Go
Mobile broadband

Customer service review

Customer service

Ofcom data

iD Mobile's network

Coverage: iD Mobile's 4G is best in towns and cities

iD Mobile's official coverage checker

iD's 4G coverage is nowhere near universal Check signal near you

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

iD Mobile are owned by Carphone Warehouse but use Three's mobile network to bring their customers signal. This has some advantages and disadvantages, depending on where you use your phone.

In larger towns and cities, you'll rarely struggle to get a 4G connection on iD (Three say they bring 4G to 99% of the population's homes). But geographical coverage (how much of UK's landmass has 4G) is much less comprehensive.

It means if you live in a smaller town or village, or if you're regularly out and about on our roads and rails, it's definitely worth checking your iD signal up front in as many places as possible to make sure you're covered.

For most, iD Mobile's coverage will be totally satisfactory. For others, you might find you spend more time with 3G data in rural locations than you would on other networks. The key is to find out before signing up.

Useful link: Check iD Mobile's coverage using their official signal checker

Our coverage rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Rank:
Joint 4th
(out of 4 places)

Not as good as:
EE, O2 and Vodafone
(and all providers that use them)

Same as:
Three, SMARTY

4G speeds: iD Mobile deliver decent downloads

iD Mobile 4G speeds

iD use Three's reliable 4G/3G network Find out more

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

Independent network testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla measure iD's host network Three as having the third-fastest 4G downloads on average, very closely behind second-place Vodafone.

iD Mobile are remaining tight-lipped about if and when they will launch 5G on their network - despite their host network Three launching the faster data service for their customers.

Even iD's low-cost rivals SMARTY have confirmed they'll be offering 5G soon.

Unlike iD, SMARTY are owned by Three themselves, so we might see them build an advantage over iD by not allowing them to have 5G for a while (we don't have any insider info here).

With 1-month contracts on SIM only, you can always join iD and wait it out, and if you get fed up, jump ship to a provider with 5G.

They clocked typical Three downloads at 21.6 Mbps (Opensignal) and 20.39 Mbps (Speedtest). And our own testing suggests there's no speed difference between an iD Mobile SIM and a Three one in the same phone.

Those speeds are in the region of mid-tier home broadband and will support things like HD video streaming without buffering. We'd actual 4G speeds to range as high as 40 Mbps and as low as 10 Mbps too.

If you're someone who uses their phone for general browsing, social media and a bit of video streaming, we think most people will be happy with iD's speeds. Expert users downloading massive files and filesharing might want to look elsewhere.

Useful link: What iD say about their 4G on their official pages

Our data speed rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Rank:
3rd

Not as good as:
EE, Vodafone
(and most providers that use them)

Better than:
O2
(and other providers that use them)

Call technology: iD have more than other low-cost providers

An iD Mobile banner for WiFi calling

Make sure iD Mobile support your phoneSee list of phones

from iD Mobile's help guide
(opens in new window)

Poor indoor coverage for calls is something that affects every mobile network in the UK, just because certain types of signal find it hard to get through building materials. But extra network technology can help.

iD Mobile are the only low-cost provider to feature both WiFi Calling and 4G Calling technologies for free on all their pay monthly phones and SIM only plans (check your phone's supported here though).

WiFi calling lets your phone tap into the iD Mobile network via WiFi. So if mobile signal can't get to where you are, your phone can use WiFi to make/take calls and send conventional SMS text messages still.

4G Calling has a double benefit. It increases the amount of mobile signal your phone can use for calls (normal calls only work via 3G) and it brings HD audio quality for clearer conversations too.

Useful link: Read what difference 4G calling makes from iD's guide

Our WiFi calling rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Rank:
6th

Similar to:
Three, O2, Vodafone, EE, BT

Better than:
All others

WiFi hotspots: no free access to any on iD Mobile

Logos of free WiFi hotspot providers

Other providers offer inclusive WiFi hotspotsRead our guide

here at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

We hold each mobile provider to the same standard. And one thing you can get with some operators is access to a network of WiFi hotspots in busy public likes shopping centres, transport hubs and cafes.

The reason we like free WiFi is pretty obvious: it lets you use your phone, without using up your mobile data allowance. We’d say the networks doing a good job of this are Virgin, BT Mobile, O2 and some others.

You’re not going to get anything like this included on iD Mobile. You’re going to have to find your own free WiFi. No other really low-cost provider offers free WiFi and you’ll find a lot of free WiFi in public anyway nowadays.

So it’s a shame iD Mobile network don’t offer anything, particularly when they score so well on the topics in this ‘network’ section of our review.

Useful link: See costs for going over your data limit on iD

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Same as:
All others

Tethering: it's finally allowed on iD Mobile

iD Mobile's FAQs section

Got questions about their service? iD have answersSee iD's FAQs section

For a long time, you weren't allowed to tether on iD Mobile. But thankfully, they've now lifted that restriction and they allow it on all their pay monthly plans.

This puts them level with almost every other mobile network in the land (including their rivals Plusnet and SMARTY), who've been allowing it for ages.

If you don’t know what tethering is, it's basically using your mobile phone to create a mini WiFi hotspot around you that you can connect other WiFi-enabled devices to. It uses your mobile data and converts it to WiFi.

One word of caution is that tethering can rip through data faster than just using your phone, because of the types of things you do on a laptop/tablet vs a phone.

Useful link: Read iD's FAQs about tethering and more from their help section

iD Mobile benefits

Data rollover: iD Mobile have a good scheme

iD Mobile data rollover banner

It's a second chance to use unused dataRead iD's full guide

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

A few providers now offer what tends to be called data rollover (read our guide to them here). These are essentially schemes that let you keep whatever data’s left at the end of the month to use for future month(s).

iD Mobile are one of the networks who receive our ‘good’ rating for their scheme. Most providers don’t offer it at all and you’ll lose any data you haven’t got through each month.

On iD's pay monthly plans, you’ll get to keep unused data to use next month. It means you’ve got a second chance to use data that you’ve paid for. And avoids you having wasted money on it.

Their scheme doesn’t go as far the networks we rate more highly. Sky Mobile’s scheme lets you keep your data for 3 years instead of just a month. SMARTY go even better giving you a discount off your next month’s bill on some plans.

Useful link: Get the full story on iD's Data Rollover from their extensive guide

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Not as good as:
SMARTY or Sky Mobile

Spending caps: iD have an excellent scheme

iD Mobile Capping bannerCapping amount

Set a limit of how much extra you can spendHow to set a cap

from iD's help section
(opens in new window)

One of iD Mobile's standout benefits has always been their spending cap scheme (although every mobile network has to offer these now due to a new law from the government regulator Ofcom).

Your monthly plan includes an allowance of UK minutes, texts and data to use. But we all know sometimes you can overshoot one of these limits, or use other services like roaming or premium numbers that cost extra (here’s how much).

iD’s Capping lets you say how much you’re happy to spend on extras over your basic plan. If you try to do anything on your phone that’d overshoot that cap, iD Mobile will stop you.

iD will let you set a cap anywhere between £0 and £25, in increments of £1. So you can find what works for you. It’s a huge benefit if you’re buying for someone else or don't want the stress of monitoring your usage constantly.

Useful link: iD's capping full explained in their own help guide

Our rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Rank:
TBC

Same as:
All others

Better than:
N/A

Roaming: iD include extra countries but only with 3G speeds

iD Mobile fair usage policy

iD have a fiddly roaming fair usage policyRead policy details

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

It’s now a requirement of all UK mobile networks to make roaming within EU countries cost the same as using your phone in the UK. So on iD's pay monthly plans, usage comes out of your regular UK mins, texts and data.

But iD actually go a little beyond the basic requirements with inclusive roaming in four non-EU/EEA countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Macedonia and Kazakhstan (so hardly popular holidaying destinations!).

There are two major downsides to roaming on iD Mobile. First, you'll only ever get 3G while you're abroad. 4G roaming is disabled, so you'll only ever have access to slower data.

They also operate a fiddly fair usage policy, which dictates how much of your regular UK allowances you're allowed to use whilst abroad, based on how much the plan cost in the first page.

For those reasons, we can only give iD a middle ranking for roaming (see our best ranked networks here).

Useful link: All costs for roaming on iD Mobile

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Rank:
Joint 6th
(out of 14 providers)

Not as good as:
Three, EE, Vodafone, O2 & BT Mobile

Same as:
Most others

Customer rewards: there’s nothing interesting on iD

O2 Priority rewards scheme banner

O2 Priority is arguably the best rewards schemeSee O2 Priority

at O2.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Our mobile network reviews look at the same factors for each provider to see how they compare. And one of the things we look for is how operators look after their existing customers with rewards and loyalty schemes.

In this category, it’s schemes like O2’s Priority or Three’s Wuntu with exclusive offers and treats that get our best rating. Or refer-a-friend schemes that can earn you cash (like on giffgaff) or free months of mobile plans (SMARTY).

We can’t really give iD Mobile a rating for this section. They haven’t got a scheme like any of the above, so it’s something we think they should put some work into, to hold onto their customers.

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Rank:
Joint last

Not as good as:
O2, Three, giffgaff, SMARTY and more

Similar to:
TPO Mobile

Free subscriptions: low-cost means no-frills with iD

Other networks with free content

Some networks get you free content

Realistically, when iD Mobile are churning out SIM only plans and even phone contracts under £10 a month, there’s never going to be room to throw in some of the more-luxurious extras you get with pricier networks.

EE offer 6 months free Apple Music and at least 3 months free BT Sport app access with their pay monthly deals but use our price comparison tools below and you’ll see they don’t compete on low prices.

Vodafone offer a choice of Spotify Premium, a NOW TV pass or Sky Sports Mobile TV with their top-end, high price plans. But again these cost considerably more than what you’d pay on iD Mobile.

All-in-all, if you want any of those services, you might still be better taking a cheap iD plan and paying for them separately with the difference of what you’ve saved.

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Rank:
Joint last

Not as good as:
EE, BT Mobile, Vodafone

Same as:
All others

Free streaming or social media data: nothing on iD Mobile

Three's Go Binge unlimited streaming scheme

Unlimited data for streaming selected appsRead all details

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

Another interesting way we’re seeing that mobile providers are tempting customers to join them, is by saying that they won’t charge you for data that you use on particular services.

For instance, Three give you unlimited data for streaming Netflix and other services with their “Go Binge” scheme. Sky have a similar scheme that gives you free data for streaming their TV apps.

And then other lower-cost providers like Virgin Mobile are giving you free data for selected social media messaging apps. Or Vodafone’s VOXI is offering free social media data for Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat and more.

This is another added benefit you don’t get on iD Mobile. We’ve already said they’re a little stingy with data. Again, it’s a question of looking at the overall deal: does the overall price justify getting the benefit. It’s your decision.

Useful link: Our guide to networks offering free data

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Not as good as:
Three, EE, VOXI, Virgin

Same as:
All others

Family plans / shared data: iD Mobile offer no discounts

BT Family SIM discounts banner

BT have a decent schemeCalculate savings

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

If you're looking for benefits or discounts for taking out multiple contracts, then iD Mobile aren't an option. They don't offer shared family plans like all these networks.

You can't even have one account with multiple contracts attached to it with a singular bill - even with no discounts. It's just not something iD Mobile support.

That's not to say they're a total write-off if you're looking to take out contracts for members of your family. You may still find iD a cheaper option than the networks who do offer family plans. It just won't be as convenient with multiple accounts to manage.

If iD want to keep pace with other big providers and get a better review score from us, they need to start offering facilities for shared mobile accounts in the near future.

Useful link: Our guide to BT's Family SIMs

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Similar to:
Most others

iD Mobile deals and plans

What type of deal are you interested in?

Choose an option to skip to the right section:

Special offers running on iD Mobile

Here are the latest promotions on SIM only or phone contracts.

iD's affordable SIM only deals

iD Mobile unlimited texts and minutes banner

See all deals

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

iD Mobile are always among the cheapest mobile networks for the lower data plans. This month they've got a couple of competitive deals.

Their £9 deal currently comes with 4GB of data allowance and unlimited minutes:

Or use our special link below to get a hidden offer, not advertised directly at iDmobile.co.uk:

Useful link: All iD Mobile's special offers

SIM only plans from iD Mobile

Use our price comparison tool further below to find the right deal

Key facts about iD Mobile's SIM only plans

Number of plans available:
Price range: £ - £ a month
Contract lengths:
SIM card sizes: Standard, Micro, Nano

Minutes allowances:
Texts allowances:
Data allowances:
Data speed: 4G on all plans

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Phone contracts from iD Mobile

Here's some quick info on how iD's phone contracts work:

iD have a large range of well-priced phones

An example of a Sky Mobile credit agreement

See all phones

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

iD Mobile's phone deals are all offered on standard 24-month contracts, as opposed to deals based on finance that you see at competitors giffgaff, Sky Mobile, O2, Tesco or Virgin.

We'd expect it to be easier to get accepted for a deal with iD over any of those providers because it's not a loan, but have no inside information on iD's precise credit checking policy so can't offer any guarantee.

iD's reasonably-priced range is unusally broad for a budget provider and includes leading brands Apple and Samsung, but not always their latest top-of-the-range models. Mid-range and older phones are iD's speciality.

When you take a phone contract with iD, you'll get their regular benefits of data rollover, free EU roaming and spending caps.

Useful link: Browse iD Mobile's phone range

Compare iD Mobile phone contracts

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Pay As You Go: iD's PAYG SIMs are a little pointless

You now have to buy a bundle up frontSee PAYG bundles

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

iD Mobile are mainly set up as a pay monthly network. But they do technically offer some pay as you go SIMs too, which anyone can take without having to pass a credit check.

The SIMs are based on 30-day bundles that you buy up front. But their pricing is less competitive than what you get with iD's pay monthly plans. You can't just get a free SIM and pay for usage out of your credit.

You also don't get iD's main data rollover benefit on pay as you go. So it's difficult to see who it will appeal to, unless you've failed a credit check and still want to join iD.

If you're after a simple deal where top up and pay for usage as you go, Three's 321 plan is a really good option - pay 3p per minute, 2p per text and 1p per MB data.

Useful link: All about iD Mobile's Pay As You Go

Mobile broadband: iD no longer offer it

A mobile WiFi deviceiD Mobile MiFi device

It's pretty rare to see low-cost virtual operators like iD Mobile offering mobile broadband, because they have to pay their host networks for the data their customers use, so it's not a profitable area for them.

If you're after a low-cost SIM to put in a tablet, iD's rival SMARTY are worth a look. You're allowed to put their regular SIM only plans in a tablet or dongle and just don't use the minutes and texts.

Three themselves also have a good range of mobile broadband devices too, including 5G-ready routers.

iD Mobile customer service

Customer service: iD's record has improved massively

Ofcom complaints data table

iD are one the best performing providersRead Ofcom's report

at ofcom.org.uk
(opens in new window)

Customers on any mobile network are going to run into problems. What you want to know is, if you've got issues, how good is your provider at sorting them?

To measure this we look at the number of complaints that the government telecoms regulator Ofcom receives about each mobile network. If someone has to complain to Ofcom, it means the network's own customer services have failed.

Complaints about iD Mobile to Ofcom have dropped drastically over the past year or so, from an eye-watering 11 per 100k customers, to 5 per 100k and now to 2 per 100k. That's below the average for the entire industry.

This shows iD have got to grips with previous issues around billing and troubleshooting. We think their account managing app is superb too and can help you sort issues quickly.

Unlike many low-frills mobile providers, you can actually ring iD Mobile or even drop into a Carphone Warehouse store. So they should be a safer pair of hands if you've been hit with poor customer service elsewhere before.

Useful link: How to get help on iD Mobile

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