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Lyca Mobile review: what are they like now they're on EE?

Lycamobile logo and SIM cardVisit lycamobile.co.uk

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We joined Lyca Mobile in real life to test out their coverage, data speeds and other benefits as a customer. Here's what we found. Last updated: 7th September 2023.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates Lyca Mobile as a good provider
 (3/5, good)

“With their move to using the EE network for signal, Lyca Mobile have just got more appealing than ever. Especially when you consider their hyper-competitive, low prices.

There are no speed caps in vs being on EE directly, so you’ll get some seriously impressive download speeds and leading 4G coverage too. Call signal could be better though, especially indoors.

Their eSIM is very impressive, letting you sign up and get going within minutes. Though the lack of WiFi calling is bringing our Lyca’s score below other providers that use the EE network.

But this is all baked into the price. There’s no credit check, you’ve got flexible 1-month plans, we can see plenty of people being very happy on Lyca Mobile indeed, even if you never use international calls.”

The 3 best bits

1) Now on EE's excellent network 
2) Join instantly on an eSIM
3) Cheap international calls 

The 3 worst bits

1) No WiFi calling / 4G calling
2) Signal not technically identical to EE
3) Customer service not great

What network is Lyca on?

Lyca Mobile are on EE's 5G/4G/3G/2G network but they are separate companies.

Is Lyca Mobile the same as O2?

No. They're a separate company and they now aren't even on the same network, because Lyca have moved to using EE.

What happens when you run out of data on Lyca Mobile?

To use anything that's not included in your plan, you'll have to top up with credit and buy data add ons out of that, or start your plan anew.

Information symbol We're a professional reviews website but we bought our Lyca 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.

Lyca Mobile’s network

Coverage for data is excellent on Lyca, calls are good

Screenshot of Lycamobile network map

Check signal near you before joiningCheck signal

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

Lyca Mobile now use EE’s network to provide signal for calls (2G/3G) and data (4G/5G). We see this as a really positive move, because their 4G data coverage is better than O2's (who Lyca used to use).

For 2G/3G/5G, signal is identical between Lyca Mobile and EE (read our guide here). But there are some technical differences for 4G, which we tell you about under the dropdown.

We took our Lyca SIM out and about to test coverage vs their network maps and vs being on EE directly. Obviously, we can’t get everywhere in the country but we can do spot checks.

The coverage checker is accurate and honest. The main issue we’ve found though is that you don’t get access to EE’s band 20 4G masts on Lyca. These boost coverage rurally and capacity in cities.

For most people, that won’t be an issue. There’s enough of the other 4G everywhere. But if you’re in the country or travelling around, we found our Lyca SIM would rather stick on zero or little 4G data, rather than revert down to 3G (possibly because of the upcoming 3G phase-out).

Generally though, we had a good experience elsewhere with Lyca Mobile’s coverage.

For calls, Lyca are a bit behind providers on O2 or Vodafone’s networks. You’ll still get call signal in most areas, but you’re more likely to run into indoor blackspots or lose signal in geographically odd areas.

Overall, Lyca Mobile provide an excellent mix of coverage. It’s still worth checking signal in your area using their coverage map here before you buy. Check at home, at work and anywhere else you’ll use your phone.

Useful link: All the networks that piggyback off EE

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

Joint 1st
(out of 4 places)

Better than:

Similar to:
(and all providers that use them)

4G data speeds: Lyca Mobile’s speeds are super fast

Lycamobile web settings screenshot

Speeds depend on your locationSee web settings page

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

To see which network provides the best typical 4G data speeds, we use results from independent network testers Opensignal. Their speed results averaged out to 44.7 Mbps on Lyca Mobile’s hosts, EE.

That puts them in joint-first place out of all networks. And in real life we were able to get 4G speeds of up to 130+ Mbps in the city centre, which was much faster than on any other network.

We did slow down to 12 Mbps in rural areas, but that’s pretty healthy compared to other networks. Only Lyca Mobile’s Endless plans are speed capped, so you’ll get the same speeds as their hosts on any other plan.

In all, Lyca are a fantastic choice if you’re looking for the fastest possible 4G data speeds at lower costs to joining EE directly.

Useful link: Lyca Mobile’s terms and conditions

Our data speed rating:
★★★★★ (best choice)


Better than:
O2, Vodafone and Three

5G: Lyca Mobile include it on every plan

Lady in a ochre jumper and 5G at Lyca Mobile wording

Super fast speeds in lots of locationsSee 5G locations

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

Lyca Mobile also provide full access to EE’s 5G network on all plans. That’s great considering they come second in our rankings for the best 5G networks. It’s especially good considering Lyca's low costs.

You currently get Lyca's 5G in 317+ UK towns and cities. And considering the fact their hosts EE only claim a location as covered once 5G is available in 50% of its area, you will actually get the new technology in more places than that.

According to network testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla, Lyca Mobile’s 5G speeds average out between 122.32 Mbps - 130.5 Mbps, with peak speeds up to an impressive 350.41 Mbps.

Overall, Lyca Mobile benefit greatly from their host’s 5G with an excellent mix of speeds and coverage. They don’t have the fastest speeds, but we think most users will be happy with them.

Useful link: Our guide to the best 5G networks

Our 5G rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)


Not as good as:

Better than:
O2, Vodafone

WiFi calling / 4G calling aren’t available on Lyca Mobile

1pMobile WiFi calling and VoLTE

Fellow EE users 1pMobile do include itRead more

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Like we said above, you’re more likely to run into call signal (3G/2G) blackspots on Lyca Mobile than on some networks, especially indoors. Signal can struggle to get through building materials.

Lyca Mobile don’t offer WiFi calling or 4G calling to help with this. These let you connect to calls with WiFi or 4G where conventional call signal is weak. So if you run into blackspots then you could basically be stuck.

You can see which other networks offer WiFi calling in our guide here. 1pMobile use EE's network too and do offer both technologies as standard. See their best plans here:

We could see Lyca Mobile offer these features sometime in the future, but for now they fall behind the competition here.

Useful link: The best networks for WiFi calling

Our WiFi calling rating:
☆☆☆☆☆ (bad)

Not as good as:
All others

Better than:

eSIMs on Lyca Mobile are an excellent extra network feature


Join and get up and running in minutesRead all network FAQs

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

We joined Lyca Mobile on an eSIM to see how it worked. We were very impressed. From starting our order to having bars of signal on our phone took less than 5 minutes. It'd be slick for a main network, never mind a budget one (read Lyca's guide to eSIM here).

Tethering is allowed on every Lyca Mobile plan, letting you connect other devices to your data signal. But you can’t use your entire allowance for tethering on certain plans (read why here).

You don’t get any free WiFi hotspots on Lyca Mobile. On the networks that offer these they’re a handy way of staying connected wherever, and saving data on the go. But Lyca don’t offer any.

Lyca Mobile also don’t let you forward incoming calls to a different number (see the networks that offer this here). Nor do you get visual voicemail, but you can customise your voicemail message to how you like it.

Useful link: Lycamobile’s terms and conditions

Our extra features rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Joint Last

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

Similar to:
Many others

Lyca Mobile’s additional benefits

Inclusive international minutes on most of their plans

Lycamobile internation call FAQs

Higher cost plans tend to include moreSee their plans

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

Lycamobile include a different number of international minutes with your deal depending on which one you get. With these you can make calls to these countries without spending anything extra.

Typically, the more you pay for your plan, the more international minutes are included. You can get between 100 - unlimited international minutes (but their cheapest “Saver” plan doesn’t include any).

Most of Lyca Mobile’s plans come with international minutes included. Here are their best current deals:

If you use up all your inclusive mins then you’ll have to top up with credit and pay Lyca’s international calling rates. But even then, calls to certain worldwide countries can be as low as 1p per min.

It’s handy to have these minutes included on such cheap plans and it could end up saving you a lot in the long run if you call abroad often. And even if you run out you’ll end up paying less than on other networks.

Useful links: Lycamobile’s international rates

Our international calling rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)


Not as good as:

Better than:
All others

EU roaming costs nothing extra but has some limits

Lycamobile roaming banner

Different data usage limit per planRead their guide

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

Lots of networks have removed inclusive EU roaming from their plans, but not Lyca. You can use your regular mins, texts and data in these EU countries on any plan, but there are some limits on data usage abroad.

Unlike other networks that have a set limit on how much data you can use while roaming, Lyca Mobile have a different limit for each plan. You can only see what this limit is in the checkout, which is a pain.

There doesn’t seem to be any simple calculation behind it either, only that the larger your plan the higher your limit. If you hit the limit then you have to top up and pay their roaming rates to keep using data.

To roam beyond the EU you’ll have to pay at their worldwide roaming rates (which gets expensive fast). Overall their roaming is decent, just check your fair use limit before leaving the UK.

Useful link: The best UK networks for roaming

Our EU roaming rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Joint 7th

Better than:
All others

No contracts or credit checks with their 1-month plans

Why choose Lyca banner

Switch your plan when it suits youRead more

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

Lyca Mobile sell most of their plans on 1-month deals with no contracts to join on. These essentially work like buying a monthly bundle of mins, texts and data

So if you find you’re paying too much for your plan, or not getting enough data, then you can change your plan once the month is up. And if you want to leave you’re free to do so without giving notice.

Since you pay for your plan up front, you don’t have to pass a credit check. They offer the same flexibility as EE’s PAYG bundles at much lower prices, making them a great choice if you failed a credit check on EE.

You can set your plan to auto-renew each month. In fact, Lyca Mobile even give you a data boost for doing so and you can cancel this if you change your mind. Flexibility is a massive strength on Lyca Mobile.

Useful link: Our 30-day rolling contract guide

Benefits that you don’t get on Lyca Mobile

Sky Mobile unlimited streaming

Free data streaming on Sky’s TV appsRead more

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

Firstly they’re missing out entirely on free streaming data. Sky Mobile have our favourite free streaming benefit that lets you stream their Sky TV apps without eating into your monthly allowance.

Lyca also don’t include data rollover. This lets you hold onto the data you didn’t use in a month. Sky also have the best data rollover feature, letting you keep your leftover data for up to 3 years.

You also get no added benefits for adding extra SIMs onto your account. EE give you 30% off every additional line on your account as well as a 1GB boost for each one you add. And you can gift data between users.

And there’s no benefit for referring users onto Lyca Mobile. A few networks do this, such as VOXI who offer gift cards for bringing in new users and Lebara who give cashback for bringing friends onto their network.

Useful link: All networks that offer free unlimited streaming data

Our Family Plan rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Last place

Not as good as:
All others

Better than:

Lyca Mobile’s deals and special offers

What sort of deal are you looking for?

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Special offers on Lyca Mobile

The best deals you can currently get on Lyca Mobile

Compare Lyca Mobile SIM only deals

All their deals compared

Lyca Mobile SIM only tariff fact file

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Added features

Pay As You Go tariffs are expensive on Lyca Mobile

Screenshot of Lycamobile rates

Their monthly plans are better valueSee their tariffs

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

If you’d rather top up your SIM card with credit and pay per min, text and data out of that, then we think Lyca Mobile aren’t a good choice for you.

That’s because paying at their standard UK rates can have you chewing through your credit very quickly if you use your phone even somewhat frequently:

Their Pay As You Go rates are some of the highest of all networks. Data in particular gets expensive quickly. If you want a traditional PAYG scheme on EE’s network, 1pMobile are a great choice:

Or you can join Talk Home Mobile who also use EE’s network and have 1p per min, text and MB of data rates. But they do miss out on some features like WiFi calling that you do get on 1pMobile:

In any case, we’d recommend steering clear of Lyca Mobile for Pay As You Go. But their pay monthly plans give you a great deal of flexibility while also giving you much better value for your usage.

Useful link: Cheapest UK Pay As You Go networks

A few of Lyca’s unlimited data deals have speed caps

Screenshot of allowances in Lyca's unlimited data deals

Look out for plans with “Endless” data rather than “Unlimited” dataRead more

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

If you’re looking to take an unlimited data plan on Lycamobile it’s worth knowing the difference between Lycamobile’s “Endless” plans and their “Unlimited” plans before you buy.

The biggest difference is that their Endless plans have fair usage policies. This means if Lyca may throttle your data speeds or make you pay their standard UK data rates if they think your data usage is excessive.

They claim that if you use over 150GB twice in a six month period then they’ll start limiting you. With their Unlimited plans, you’d have to use a lot more than that for Lyca to think your usage isn’t legitimate.

But their Endless plans are better on price. If you don’t usually use up more than 150GB a month their Endless plans may be a better choice. But if you want no limits at all then their Unlimited plans are better.

Useful link: Our guide to the best networks with unlimited data plans

Lyca Mobile’s phone contracts are very flexible

Screenshot of phone cost breakdown on Lyca

Credit agreements via KlarnaRead more

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

Lyca Mobile’s phone contracts are all on finance agreements via Klarna, a third party service that help manage your monthly payment. The cost of your phone and usage plan (mins, texts, data) are separate payments.

This gives you the freedom to pay off your loan in one payment, in three separate monthly instalments or over 6, 12, 24 or 36 months to suit your budget. But your phone’s cost will be adjusted for inflation.

Since your usage plan is separate that means you also get the flexibility to change plans or leave Lycamobile altogether while still paying off your device.

The cost of your device and usage plans being made as separate bills can make it harder to manage. And Lyca Mobile’s prices aren’t quite as competitive as other networks. It’s a trade-off of flexibility and price.

Useful link: Lyca Mobile’s range of phone contracts

Lyca Mobile’s customer service

Lyca are a budget network with over-the-phone service

Screenshot of Lycamobile's contact us page

Their number is easy to findSee contact us page

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

Sometimes joining a budget network means sacrificing a good customer service experience compared to joining a larger network. But, Lyca Mobile are a small network that offer lots of ways to get help.

If you prefer to call, you can do so. Lyca Mobile’s call centres are open 9am - 6pm from Monday to Saturday (but they’re closed on Sundays). They’re not open as long as some networks, but at least you can call them.

Lyca Mobile don’t appear in Ofcom’s customer service report because they’re not technically a pay monthly network, so we can’t say one way or the other how good their over-the-phone services actually are.

You can also chat with online agents via their website if you have no luck calling them. But we found we weren’t always able to get in contact with them. But Lyca’s customer service is good for a small network.

Useful link: Best customer service networks

Other Lycamobile articles

Other mobile network reviews

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