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

Lebara Mobile reviewVisit mobile.lebara.com

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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: 17th October 2023.

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

Mobile coverage is impressive on Lebara

Lebara coverage map

Check coverage near you before buyingCheck their signal

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

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.

It means Lebara have the joint-best call signal of all UK networks, with more than 92% of the UK’s landmass and practically everywhere people live covered for calls. And indoor call signal is typically strong.

Lebara’s 4G data signal is typically great in most urban areas (see 5G below). But signal will become weaker as you move out into the countryside and you may find yourself booted down to 3G as you move 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:

Better than:

4G data speeds can be excellent or disappointing

FAQ on SIM only plans

Fast urban speeds, slow rural speedsRead more

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

Independent network testers Opensignal measure typical speeds on all networks. Their latest report shows typical speeds of 25.9 Mbps over Lebara’s hosts, Vodafone.

When we tested them, we got speeds as low as 5 Mbps in the countryside and as fast as 110+ Mbps in the city centre. But we usually got speeds around 58 Mbps in the city, 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.

Useful link: Lebara’s guide to their 4G network

5G coverage is underwhelming but speeds are healthy enough

5G is here banner

Good speeds but fewest 5G locationsRead more

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

In our guide to the best 5G networks, Vodafone and the providers that use their 5G came in last. It’s still a big improvement to their network where you can get it and we like that Lebara include it on all deals.

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

You’ll get 5G in 160+ 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.

Network testers Opensignal and Speedtest measured typical 5G data speeds between 100.6 Mbps - 146.19 Mbps with peak speeds as high as 315.35 Mbps. Those are the second highest peak 5G speeds of all networks.

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:
EE, Three

Better than:

WiFi calling and 4G calling are great features on Lebara

WiFi calling FAQ

It may take a week to start workingRead their guide

at lebara.mobile.com
(opens in new window)

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:

WiFi calling and 4G calling are included as standard on Lebara. This lets you make/take calls over WiFi and 4G signal where traditional call signal is poor. Lebara seem to have the same supported devices as Vodafone.

We haven’t tested it out yet, but we think it’s largely the same as Vodafone’s scheme. If so 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 big downsides are that it can take up to 7 days to start working after you get your SIM, it doesn’t work out of the box. And a few Android devices aren’t supported. But if it works it’s a great feature.

Useful link: The best networks for WiFi calling

Our WiFi calling rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Joint 3rd

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

Better than:
O2, Sky, Talkmobile

Extra network features aren’t one of Lebara’s strengths

WiFi hotspot map

Other networks offer WiFi hotspotsRead our guide

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

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 include any free WiFi hotspots and we can’t imagine they’ll introduce any, since Vodafone scrapped their own scheme. We have a guide to the best WiFi hotspot schemes across all networks 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 you can’t join Lebara on an eSIM. This makes sense as it’s mostly just the main networks that offer these. In all, you’ll be missing out on a few handy features on Lebara that you’d get on other networks.

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

Their inclusive international calls can be really handy

Lebara international minutes countries

International minutes includedRead their guide

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

One of the best things about joining Lebara is the inclusive international minutes to these EU and worldwide countries you get on all plans. This lets you make calls abroad without paying anything extra.

You can get between 100 to unlimited international minutes included on their plans. Typically the more you pay for your plan the more you get. Here’s their cheapest deal with unlimited international mins:

If you run out of international mins then you’ll have to top up with credit and pay out of that, but Lebara have some of the cheapest international rates of all networks. Some countries only cost 1p per min 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:

Inclusive EU roaming is great to still have

Lebara roaming FAQ

Inclusive roaming in India as wellRead more

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

While many other UK networks have removed inclusive EU roaming from their deals, Lebara haven’t. They still let you use your regular UK plan in the EU without paying anything extra.

In 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.

And Lebara even let you roam in India at no extra cost on all plans. But they don’t include any other worldwide destinations. To go to one of their non-inclusive countries 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:
★★★★★ (best choice)


Not as good as:

Better than:
All others

No contracts or credit checks make Lebara an appealing choice

No credit check and contract banner

1-month deals with no contractsRead more

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

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.

By taking one of these plans you’ll pay up front for a monthly bundle of mins, texts and data. If you turn off auto-renew then you can switch plans or networks once your plan runs out at the end of the 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.

If you’d rather get the best possible value on your plan, Lebara offer a range of 12-month contracts that are cheaper per month. So it’s up to you whether you want a more flexible plan or a better value contract.

Useful link: Our 1-month contract guide

Their refer a friend scheme is a nice reward for loyalty

£50 reward banner

Your friend gets a temporary discountRead more

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

Existing Lebara customers can get extra rewards for bringing friends or family members onto Lebara. After they’ve signed up to a new SIM only plan you’ll both get your rewards.

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

Add on top of that your friend gets 50% off their first 3 months on Lebara and you can see how this scheme benefits everyone. You get cashback, your friend gets a discount and Lebara get 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

You might like the other smaller benefits they offer

No price rise banner

Cheap extra data if you need itSee their promise

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

If you go over your data allowance you can take out a data add-on to tide you over until your next month. Lebara’s add-ons are pretty good value as you can get 1GB for just £3.

While your monthly bill will go up each year on other networks, Lebara promise not to increase the cost of your plan while you’re on a 12-month contract. They can up the cost of their 1-month deals, however.

And if you want to put your kids onto a SIM only plan, Lebara automatically block 18+ content from being accessed on data signal (but you’ll have to set separate parental controls over home broadband).

Lastly, all of Lebara’s deals essentially have spending caps built into them as you can only use what you pay for. You have to top up with credit to use extras, so there’s no way to accidentally overspend on these.

Useful link: Our guide to the best networks for extra data

Other networks offer benefits that you might prefer

Unlimited Video

Some VOXI plans include Unlimited VideoSee all apps

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

Lebara don’t offer any free social media or streaming data benefits. Fellow Vodafone-users VOXI include Unlimited Social Media data on all plans and Unlimited Video/Music on some of their plans.

You also don’t get data rollover, which usually lets you hold onto your unused data for another month. Sky Mobile have the best data rollover scheme as they let you bank up your leftover data for up to 3 years!

Apart from India, Lebara don’t include any worldwide roaming destinations. This is something Vodafone offer on their premium Unlimited data plans with 3 Xtras, letting you roam in these 83 worldwide countries.

Finally, Lebara don’t offer any discounts on additional plans on your account. Low-cost rivals SMARTY give you 10% off extra plans on your account, despite already offering great value deals.

Useful link: The best UK networks for data rollover

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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Added features

Their Pay As You Go rates are a little high

Free PAYG banner for Lebara

Take out a free SIM and top upGet a free SIM card

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

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 tariffs per minute, text and data are quite expensive, so you’ll get through your credit quite quickly if you use your phone even somewhat frequently:

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:

The best option for PAYG on Vodafone’s network are ASDA Mobile, but even their rates are quite high:

In all, we don’t recommend joining Lebara on Pay As You Go. You already get a great amount of flexibility on their monthly deals where you pay up front and you get much better value out of them.

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

Lebara Mobile customer service

A great customer service experience for a smaller network

Lebara contact us screenshot

Call them up at no extra costRead more

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

Lots of smaller networks don’t offer over-the-phone services to keep costs down, so we like that Lebara let you call them to get help. It’s more convenient than looking through online help articles for some.

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 at resolving their customers’ issues. But Lebara aren’t big enough network to appear in their report, so we have nothing to base this off.

We’ll update this page once we’ve tested their customer service for ourselves. For now we can say we like how many avenues of getting help there are on Lebara, which is better than what some small networks offer.

Useful link: Our guide to the best customer service networks

More guides about Lebara Mobile

Other mobile network reviews

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