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Plusnet Mobile's Smart Cap Contracts explained: how they work

Plusnet Mobile logo and a SIM cardVisit plus.net

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Nobody likes surprise bills, so Plusnet Mobile offer capped mobile contracts called Smart Cap, which stop your spending over a set limit. Here's how they work. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 6th November 2020

How Smart Cap contracts work

Smart Caps stop you from overspending on extra usage

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Set a limit on monthly overspendingGet a capped deal

at plus.net
(opens in new window)

Mobile network providers give their pay-monthly customers an allocation of minutes, texts and data to use for a fixed cost (also known as your plan).

However, it's still possible (and very easy) to use extras that are not included as standard, like international calls, premium texts or going over your data limit (see full list of extras and costs here). This means that you can end up spending more

You can set a limit on these types of extras using Plusnet Mobile's Smart Caps and with this, you can control how much you spend on top of the regular cost of your plan.

Plusnet will automatically prevent you from going over your limit and will stop you from doing anything on your phone that would increase your bill until the next month.

Useful link: Read Plusnet's own guide to Smart Caps

Benefits of Plusnet's Smart Caps

You can set your cap to suit your budget

Screenshot of limit options

Set your spending limit in £1 incrementsHow to manage caps

at plus.net
(opens in new window)

A great thing about Plusnet's Smart Caps is that you can set your limit to fit around your personal budget. You can do this at any point during your contract.

If you don’t want to overspend at all, you can just set the cap to zero. This way it is impossible to go over your limit and you can always count on your monthly bill to be exactly what you signed up for.

You can also set a limit anywhere between £1 and £30. And you can go up in steps of £1. We think that many will find this flexibility useful. A lot of people won’t mind spending a few extra pounds here and there but want to avoid larger monthly bills.

And you can change the cap whenever you like, so you don't have to stick with the same cap if you find out later that it doesn’t work for you. To make changes, go online or use Plusnet's simple but useful mobile app.

Useful link: How to manage your Plusnet Smart cap

If it doesn’t cost extra, then it keeps working as usual

Plusnet Mobile Bolt-Ons banner

Buy bolt-ons to re-activate serviceLatest bolt-on costs

at plus.net
(opens in new window)

Plusnet's Smart Caps are there to stop you from overspending, not to stop you from using your phone. So if you do end up hitting your spending limit, they won’t block all usage on your phone.

Plusnet will just prevent you from doing anything on your mobile that would cost you more in extra charges. For example, if you ran out of minutes, your texts and data would still work.

However, if you decide that you want to keep using the extras before your next month starts, you can buy bolt-ons of minutes, texts or data (see costs here) or change your spending cap amount.

Having a capped contract is an especially great option for those that want to give the SIM card to their children or anyone else. You can be assured that they're going to be able to use their phone but without the hassle of an unexpected bill at the end of the month.

Useful link: Compare Plusnet SIM only plans

Disadvantages of Plusnet's Smart Caps

Smart Caps can’t be removed entirely

Screenshot of Plusnet's FAQs

Plusnet's help section has more infoRead all FAQs

at plus.net
(opens in new window)

Overspending might be ok for some. And if you are someone that spends a lot of time travelling outside the EU or calling abroad, then you might find Smart Caps too restrictive.

The maximum that you can set your cap to is £30 of monthly overspending. You can’t set the limit to be higher than that and you can’t remove the cap to spend more.

If you are overspending by more than £30 a month, then you’re probably not on the correct plan for your needs, so we don’t expect this to affect a lot of people.

But, if you are a self-proclaimed serial overspender, you could end up frustrated by constantly having to buy more bolt-ons, getting your phone unblocked or making payments onto your Plusnet account.

Useful link: How much extra usage costs on Plusnet

Similar alternatives to Smart Cap contracts

Capped contracts are now a must for every UK mobile network

Ofcom logo and slogan

Ofcom regulate all mobile networksRead the rules

at ofcom.org.uk
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Plusnet Mobile's capped deals used to be a great selling point for them, because only a few other networks offered similar caps (iD Mobile and Tesco Mobile).

However, in 2018 the government telecoms regulator Ofcom made it compulsory for all pay monthly mobile networks to offer their customers the option to set a cap on their plans.

All providers now offer this, but they don’t always make it obvious (networks are happy when you spend more money). And most allow you not to have a cap at all.

Now that you can get capped plans elsewhere, we think that Plusnet Mobile's spending caps should no longer be your only reason for joining them. Saying that, our review still finds Plusnet a decent choice overall.

Useful link: Ofcom's rules on spending caps

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