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Lebara Mobile review: are they good enough for just UK usage?

Lebara Mobile reviewVisit

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

We all know Lebara specialise in international calls but what's their mobile network like to use day-to-day in the UK? We find out. Last updated: 13th October 2022.

Our verdict on Lebara Mobile

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

"International calls are undoubtedly one of Lebara’s main appeals but you don’t need to have friends and family abroad to join them. We find them to be a perfectly decent network just for UK use.

Using Vodafone gives Lebara the advantage of decent 5G data, excellent 4G coverage and speeds, plus reliable calls and texts around the country. And there’s extras like WiFi calling too.

They’re still beatable for coverage and data speeds, particularly 4G away from big towns and cities, WiFi calling doesn't work out-of-the-box, plus there are no other eye-catching benefits.

But Lebara are one of the remaining providers to still include EU roaming and throw in India as a destination too. Their 1-month deals don’t need you to pass a credit check or sign a contract either. Flexible and cheap. Always a winner."

The 3 best bits

1) Excellent coverage
2) Great EU / India roaming
3) Customer service on the phone

The 3 worst bits

1) Sluggish data outside big cities
2) A wait for WiFi calling to activate
3) No real extra benefits

What network does Lebara use?

Vodafone. You get full access to Vodafone's 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G networks on Lebara.

Is Lebara owned by Vodafone?

No. They're a separate company but they do use Vodafone's mobile network.

Which countries are free on Lebara?

If you take a pay monthly plan on Lebara, you'll get at least 100 international minutes included to Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Korea Republic of, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine and United States.

Is Lebara roaming free?

Yes and no. You can use your plan for no extra cost in the EU and India, within their data fair usage policy. You'll pay extra to roam in any other country.

Is Lebara good in the UK?

Yes and no. You can use your plan for no extra cost in the EU and India, within their data fair usage policy. You'll pay extra to roam in any other country.

Is Lebara trustworthy?

Yes. We've joined them ourselves on SIM only and haven't run into any problems.

Information symbol We're a professional reviews website but we bought our Lebara SIM card as a regular consumer, to test what it's actually like for real life paying customers. The contents of this review are a combination of our expert industry knowledge and what we experienced during our test.

Lebara’s network

Lebara offer a great mix of call and data signal coverage

Lebara coverage map

Check their signal in your area before you buyCheck their signal

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Lebara get full access to Vodafone’s network to provide signal, meaning they get the same call (3G/2G) and data (5G/4G/3G) signal coverage as their hosts. This has its strengths and its weaknesses.

This means they’re part of the joint-largest UK network for call signal, covering more than 92% of the UK’s landmass and most of the areas where people live. And indoor signal tends to be more reliable than on some networks.

In terms of data signal, Lebara’s 4G coverage is typically strong in most towns and cities. But signal strength will begin to suffer in more rural areas and you might find yourself kicked down to 3G while moving around.

Overall, Lebara have a strong overall mix of coverage, but it’s always worth using their coverage checker to see how signal is in your local area.

Useful link: Read Lebara’s About Us page

Our coverage rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Joint 2nd

Not as good as:
EE, BT Mobile

Better than:

4G data speeds: Lebara’s speeds are decent but can vary

FAQ on SIM only plans

Typically fast in the cities, slow in the countrysideRead more

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To see what sorts of speeds you can expect from each network we look at the results from independent network testers Opensignal and compare it against our real life tests. They claim typical 4G speeds on Lebara’s hosts sit around 21.6 Mbps.

In our testing of Vodafone we found speeds as slow as 5 Mbps in rural areas, while we got up to 110+ Mbps at one point in the city centre. More often than not in the city we sat at around 58 Mbps, so we can see how it all averages out.

That’s still a huge variation in speeds compared to most other networks. So you’re more likely to slow to a crawl out in the sticks, but you’re more likely to speed way ahead in the city centre than other networks.

We found no evidence of a speed cap on Lebara’s website, but we have yet to test them. Once we do we’ll update this page here, but for now we’re fairly confident you’ll get the same speeds on Lebara as on Vodafone.

5G: Lebara get you full access to Vodafone’s 5G

5G is here banner

Fast speeds but typically underwhelming coverage Read more

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In our guide to the best 5G networks, Vodafone and the providers that use them came in last place. But it still improves their network experience when you can get strong 5G, and it’s great that Lebara offer it on all plans.

You get 5G on every Lebara SIM only deal. Here are what we think are their best deals:

You’ll get 5G in 120+ UK towns and cities on Lebara. But 5G is still only on a street-by-street basis and Lebara’s coverage within their locations tends to be a bit weaker than the other networks.

Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla put 5G speeds on Lebara between a strangely low 73.3 Mbps - 159.40 Mbps. That’s a massive variation in speeds and we think this is a result of people using 5G where signal is poor.

In any case, it’s still good that a cheap provider Lebara get access to 5G as it increases speeds and helps ease 4G signal congestion, even if it’s not the strongest network for 5G around.

Useful link: Read Lebara’s full 5G guide

Our data speeds rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Joint 2nd

Not as good as:

Better than:

WiFi calling: offered on all plans as standard

WiFi calling FAQ

Only activated about a week after you joinRead their guide

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Typically, indoor blackspots are less common on Lebara due to their great indoor call signal coverage. But if you do run into indoor blackspots at home, Lebara offer a couple of features to help out:

They offer both WiFi and 4G calling as standard, letting your phone connect to calls via WiFi or 4G where conventional call signal is poor. Lebara seem to support the same devices as Vodafone (as they link to their page here).

We haven’t tested it out yet, but we think it’s largely the same as Vodafone’s scheme. If that’s the case then you should also be able to send SMS texts over WiFi and also transfer a call from WiFi to 4G without it dropping.

The main downsides are that it's not active immediately when you get your SIM, it can take up to 7 days, and there are a few Android devices that aren’t supported. Otherwise, if you can get it to work with your phone then it’s a great feature to help stay connected.

Useful link: The best networks for WiFi calling

Our WiFi calling rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Joint 3rd

Not as good as:
Three, EE, 1pMobile, BT, iD

Better than:
O2, Sky, Virgin, Talkmobile

Extra network features: not a lot offered

WiFi hotspot map

Hotspots can be great for saving dataRead our guide

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It’s best to know what other features you do or don’t get with any network so you can really know if they’re right for you.

Tethering is allowed on every Lebara SIM and you can tether your entire allowance if you so wish. They don’t say whether tethering works abroad. For now we expect it should work abroad.

Lebara don’t currently offer WiFi hotspots and we don’t expect them to introduce any, as Vodafone themselves offer none. You can see which networks offer the best WiFi hotspot schemes here.

You also cannot forward incoming calls onto another number like you can on these networks. And you also can’t get visual voicemail on Lebara either, though you can customise your voicemail message how you like it.

And finally, Lebara don’t offer eSIMs. But considering only very few networks offer it this doesn’t come as a surprise. Overall, Lebara are missing a few features that some users might find handy.

Useful link: All providers that use Vodafone’s network

Our extra features rating
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Joint Last

Not as good as:
EE, BT O2, Vodafone, VOXI, Three

Similar to:
Many others

Lebara's additional benefits

Free international minutes on every plan

Lebara international minutes countries

Get at least 100 international minutesRead their guide

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The main thing that sets Lebara apart from most other other small networks is that they offer inclusive international minutes to these EU and worldwide countries. This means you can call abroad without having to pay anything extra.

Each plan comes with a different amount of international minutes, usually from 100 to unlimited. Typically the pricier the plan the more minutes you get and most tariffs come with an unlimited international minutes option for a higher cost.

Here is their cheapest plan with unlimited international minutes:

If you run out of international minutes then you will have to top up with credit and pay out of that, but Lebara also offer some of the cheapest international rates of all networks. Some destinations only cost 1p per minute to call!

Overall it’s a nice addition to their plans that can help save quite a bit of money if you call abroad quite often.

Useful link: Lebara’s international calling costs

Our international calls rating:
★★★★★ (Best choice)


Not as good as:

Better than:
Lycamobile and all others

EU roaming: use your phone abroad at no added cost

Lebara roaming FAQ

Roaming in India is also includedRead more

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More UK networks are removing inclusive EU roaming from their plans, but Lebara isn’t one of them. You can still use your allowances abroad in Europe without having to pay anything extra.

While you’re in one of their 42 EU/EEA destinations you’ll be able to use up to 30GB of your regular allowance. That’s more than enough for most users and more than a lot of other networks let you use abroad.

Interestingly enough Lebara also include roaming in India as standard, but there are no other worldwide destinations included. To go beyond their included destinations you’ll have to pay at these rates.

Overall, Lebara’s roaming scheme is surprisingly good. They’re one of the few to offer any inclusive worldwide destinations at all, even if it is just one. An overall great scheme.

Useful link: Our rankings for the best roaming networks

Our roaming rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)


Not as good as:
BT Mobile or Co-op

Better than:
Most others

Flexibility: no contracts and no credit checks on 1-month deals

No credit check and contract banner

They offer cheap 1-month deals with no contractsRead more

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If you don’t want to be stuck on a plan with a network for a whole 12 months, you’ll like the extra flexibility Lebara offer with their 1-month deals. These let you leave or change plans when you like.

The way these work is that you’re paying up front for your bundle of minutes, texts and data for a month. If you don’t set your bundle to automatically renew then you’re free to change networks or plans at the end of each month.

Lebara are also a decent choice if you’ve failed a credit check in the past. Since you’re paying up front for your allowance they won’t have to check your credit history to make sure you can pay them.

Or if you want to spend less on your deal then you can choose a 12-month contract and save 10% vs joining the same plan on a 1-month deal. But it’s up to you whether you prefer the better value of their 12-month contracts or the flexibility of their 1-month plans.

Useful link: Our 1-month contract guide

Refer a friend: get cashback for bringing users onto Lebara

£50 reward banner

Your friend also gets a temporary discountRead more

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If you’re already on Lebara and a friend or family member is looking to join on a new SIM only plan, then you might want to consider referring them onto Lebara as you and the person you refer can get some nice benefits for doing so.

Firstly you get cashback from Lebara if your friend stays on their plan for 2 months (60 days). This is typically around twice the value of the plan that your friend took. So if they take a plan worth £15 you’ll get £30 back.

Add to that the fact that your friend gets their first 3 months on Lebara discounted by 50% and you’ve got a scheme that benefits everyone. You get cashback, your friend saves on their plan and Lebara gain a new customer.

It’s easy enough to do this as well. You just need to send your friend a referral link which they’ll follow to purchase their plan and then after 60 days you should get your cashback. Simple as.

Useful link: Our guide to the best customer reward schemes

Lebara deals and special offers

Which product are you interested in?

Click to skip to that section

Special offers on Lebara

The best current deals on Lebara

Compare Lebara SIM only deals

Here’s how their deals compare



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ASDA logo
BT Mobile logo
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Honest logo
ID logo
IQ logo
Lebara logo
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Added features

Pay As You Go rates are pretty expensive on Lebara

Free PAYG banner for Lebara

You can just take a free SIM and top upGet a free SIM card

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If you’re looking for a traditional pay as you go network where you top up with credit and pay for your usage out of that, then we’d steer clear of Lebara for the most part

Their rates for your minutes, texts and data are all pretty steep and you could rack up a large bill pretty quickly unless you use your phone very infrequently:

A much better option for traditional pay as you go are 1pMobile who are true to their name in offering their rates at 1p per minute, text and MB of data:

Or you could go with fellow Vodafone users ASDA Mobile who also have a decently priced tariff:

But overall we just wouldn’t recommend joining Lebara on pay as you go. Their pay monthly bundles already offer a great deal of flexibility and are paid for up front, while offering much better value.

Useful link: The cheapest pay as you go networks in the UK

Lebara Mobile customer service

Customer service: lots of ways to get in touch

Lebara contact us screenshot

A low cost network with over the phone serviceRead more

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Most smaller networks offer online only customer service, so we appreciate the fact that Lebara let you call them up if you have an issue, rather than searching through online help articles to fix the issue yourself.

Their call centres are open from 9am - 9pm every day. Or if you prefer they also have an online chat option that’s open at the same time.

Usually we use Ofcom’s complaints report to get an idea of how well a network are able to resolve their customers’ issues. But Lebara aren’t a large enough network to appear in their report, so we have nothing to base this off.

We will test their customer service and update this page here once we’ve done so. For now we can just say that there are plenty of ways to get help with Lebara, which is more than we can say for a lot of other smaller networks.

Useful link: Our guide to the best customer service networks

More guides about Lebara Mobile

Other mobile network reviews

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