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Plusnet Mobile review 2022: anything more than cheap prices?

Plusnet Mobile SIM only reviewVisit plus.net

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

We review what you get when you join Plusnet Mobile on a SIM only plan, including their 4G coverage, speeds and extra benefits. Last updated: 29th January 2021.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates Plusnet Mobile as a good low-cost option ★★★☆☆ (3/5, good)

"Let’s not pretend the main appeal of Plusnet Mobile isn’t the low cost prices of their plans. If you have their broadband, it’s bananas value. They’re also the only mainstream provider on EE to offer 1-month contracts.

That said, their fundamental network is pretty good. A good reach for calls, excellent 4G coverage and some really impressive data speeds. But the finishing touches like WiFi calling and hotspots aren’t there.

There’s also basically no extra perks and benefits on Plusnet Mobile, which is kind of the point. But some of their low-cost competitors at least still manage to squeeze in handy stuff like data rollover or social media.

We do like their app and Plusnet have a reputation for decent customer service. So if cheap and cheerful with no frills is your thing, we think you’re likely to be happy joining Plusnet Mobile."

The 3 best bits

1) Cheapest 1-month deals on EE's network
2) Excellent coverage and speeds
3) Mates Rates for broadband customers

The 3 worst bits

1) No WiFi calling / 4G calling
2) No data rollover scheme
3) Short on other extra benefits

What mobile provider does Plusnet Mobile use?

Plusnet Mobile runs on the EE network. You’ll get 2G, 3G and 4G from EE. You do not get their 5G data service.

Does Plusnet get the same coverage as EE?

Broadly speaking yes. Technically speaking no. There are some frequency bands Plusnet do not use on 4G, meaning if that’s the only band available where you are, you will get bumped down to 3G on Plusnet where you wouldn’t on EE.

Is Plusnet 5G?

No. You currently only get 4G and 3G data on Plusnet Mobile.

Who owns Plusnet Mobile?

It’s owned by the BT Group, who also own the EE and BT brands. But Plusnet is run at an arm’s length, with its own office and management.

How do I leave Plusnet Mobile?

If you’re on a 30-day contract, you can leave by asking for your PAC code, by texting PAC to 65075 on your Plusnet SIM. Give the code to your new provider and they’ll cancel your Plusnet Mobile contract.

Can you get WiFi calling on Plusnet?

No you cannot. Despite their host EE having the technology, Plusnet Mobile do not support WiFi calling or 4G calling (VoLTE).

Is Plusnet Mobile's network any good?

Coverage: Plusnet Mobile have excellent UK 4G coverage

Plusnet Mobile 4G and 3G signal strength

Check everywhere you use your phoneCheck local signal

via Plusnet's website
(opens in new window)

The best thing about joining Plusnet Mobile is their use of EE's 4G, 3G and 2G network. It is also a big advantage over all other low-cost providers that use other networks (apart from BT Mobile).

With 4G coverage for 99% of the population, EE is still the biggest mobile network in the country. And not to forget, they have the most extensive geographical coverage too, covering 85% of landmass in the UK.

Technically speaking, no. Coverage is identical for 2G and 3G, which are used for calls, texts and slower data,. And although coverage is practically identical for 4G in the vast majority of places, there is a technical difference:

Plusnet only utilise three out of EE’s four 4G frequencies. Fortunately, the three that they have access to are the most-commonly available ones in towns, cities and villages. So are you really missing out?

In short, yes. Plusnet don't have access to the lowest-frequency 4G signal used for travelling long distances in rural/remote locations and improving capacity in more built-up places too (how many people can access 4G at once).

This means that Plusnet customers might not get 4G in some remote places where EE have it. Saying that, 2G and 3G will likely be there and in busy places (stations/crowds), you might get a slower 4G connection or rely on 3G.

Use Plusnet's coverage checker here if you have any concerns. It is straightforward and shows you exactly what kind of signal you will get and won’t get.

What does that mean for you? For one, it means you’ll get fewer blackspots when you're in more remote places. You can still get signal in lots of places in the middle of the countryside, like on roads and train lines.

Getting a cheap deal with no long-term commitment is great, but what sweetens the deal for us, is the fact that you’ll also get access to EE's quality mobile network. Always check coverage before signing up though.

Useful link: Check Plusnet Mobile signal here

Our rating:
★★★★★ (best choice)

Rank:
Joint 1st

As good as:
EE, BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile

Better than:
Vodafone, O2, Three & all others

Speeds: the network Plusnet Mobile uses is the UK's fastest

Plusnet Mobile 4G speeds

As mentioned above, when it comes to coverage, it is an advantage that Plusnet Mobile use EE for their signal. But it’s also an advantage when it comes to the speed of your data connection.

Independent network testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla measure EE’s typical downloads at44 Mbpsand 32.99 Mbps. That's mid-range home fibre broadband fast and 30% faster than the nearest competitor.

EE’s 5G network is already up and running, so when will Plusnet Mobile customers get access to it?

We don’t think it will be anytime soon. Plusnet have some network features stripped out to make them low-cost, like WiFi calling or 4G calling. So, we predict the same will apply for 5G.

Don’t expect to get access to 5G on Plusnet any time soon.

Plusnet don’t use speed-boosting 4G+ technology, so even though they say they have no active speed caps, we do expect their top speeds to be limited. We think top speeds will be around the 40 Mbps mark.

And, as this is just above EE’s average speed, we don't expect a disadvantage for Plusnet vs being on EE directly for speed in areas where EE's 4G is slower than that anyway.

Useful link: Read what customers are saying about Plusnet's 4G speeds in their forum

Our speeds rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Rank:
3rd

Not as good as:
EE, BT, Virgin

Equal to or better than:
Three, Vodafone, O2
(and the providers that use them)

Call technology: Plusnet don't offer WiFi calling / 4G calling

iD Mobile WiFi calling banner

Plusnet's low-cost rivals SMARTY have bothSee supported phones

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

So what’s the deal when it comes to joining Plusnet on the cheap vs paying more for going on EE directly? For one, you don't get WiFi calling or 4G calling on Plusnet, even if your phone has the features.

WiFi calling improves your indoor coverage by letting your phone use WiFi to make calls instead of using the conventional mobile signal. 4G calling on the other hand, improves audio quality and coverage outside too.

These two features are often more necessary on networks that use EE, because signal strength is reduced when trying to penetrate the thick walls of buildings.

We don’t expect these features to be added because Plusnet are pitched as a low-frills product. But their low-cost rivals SMARTY do have them. This is disappointing and also the main downside to joining Plusnet.

Useful link: What Plusnet Mobile customers are saying about call quality in their forum

Our call technology rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Rank:
Joint last

Not as good as:
Three, BT, EE, Vodafone, iD, Sky

Same as:
All others

Free WiFi hotspots: non-existent on Plusnet Mobile

Other WiFi hotspot providers

With no WiFi you could reach your data limits fasterSee extra costs

on Plusnet's official website
(opens in new window)

Plusnet don’t offer unlimited data plans. And because you only get a set amount of data, it would be handy if Plusnet offered free WiFi to help you save some of it.

These networks give you free hotspot access. BT Mobile and Virgin Mobile's schemes are high up on our list because they have millions of public hotspots and they automatically log you in when you're in range.

But in our opinion, not having it on Plusnet is not a huge disaster. There’s lots of free WiFi around these days and good schemes like O2 WiFi and Sky WiFi give free access to customers from any network.

What drags our overall rating down is that Plusnet Mobile is missing just another bit of extra network quality. So to avoid having to pay more for going over your limits, you’ll just have to watch your data a bit closer.

Useful link: Costs for going over data limits on Plusnet Mobile

Tethering: Plusnet Mobile allow this on all plans

Tethering allowed on Plusnet Mobile

Tether as much as you like on Plusnet MobileRead full terms

on Plusnet's official website
(opens in new window)

In a nutshell, tethering is using your phone’s mobile data to create a personal WiFi hotspot to connect other devices like laptops or tablets to the internet. You probably won’t use it every day, but it’s a useful extra.

Plusnet Mobile don’t place restrictions on how much of your monthly data allowance you can use for tethering. This puts them on pay with all other networks nowadays (every provider allows it).

However, you’ll go through your data more quickly when using your SIM for tethering. This could tip you over your monthly allowance and you’ll end up paying more (here’s how much extra data costs on Plusnet Mobile).

Useful link: Full tethering terms and conditions from Plusnet Mobile's help section

Our rating:
★★★★★ (Joint best choice)

Rank:
Joint 1st

As good as:
All others

Better than:
N/A

Plusnet Mobile perks and extras reviewed

Inclusive roaming: EU roaming is decent on Plusnet

Plusnet Mobile free EU roaming

Free roaming in 40 selected destinations in the EUHow it works

from Plusnet's roaming guide
(opens in new window)

Mobile networks have been legally obliged to let you use your plan's UK mins, texts and data at no extra cost in the EU (unless it's a UK-only plan). But some networks get around this by setting sneaky usage limits while you're there.

But you’ll be pleased to know that Plusnet Mobile have kept their roaming simple. Their fair usage policy states that plans with 20GB of data or more get 15GB to use in any of their Roam Like at Home destinations.

You can find the full list of Roam Like at Home destinations here. Inclusive worldwide roaming is not included on Plusnet, so you’ll pay per minute, text and MB at these rates outside Europe.

All in all, we find Plusnet's roaming pretty straightforward and fair. We like that you'll get 4G where available. And the low prices for the basic plans makes us forgive their lack of inclusive worldwide roaming.

Useful links: Plusnet's guide to roaming on their network

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Equal to or better than:
All others

Spending caps: Plusnet's flexibility gets our attention

Plusnet Mobile Smart Caps

Avoid surprise bills for extrasHow they work

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

It is now a legal requirement for mobile networks to let you set a spending cap on your pay monthly plan, if you want one (for new customers). These allow you to have more control over your spending.

Plusnet’s Smart Cap system lets you set a limit in steps of £1 between £0 and £30 on extras that you're willing to spend. They are one of the few operators who have always allowed this.

If you hit your cap, Plusnet will prevent further usage until next month, while everything else keeps working. Things that are classed as extras include premium numbers, international calls or roaming see rates here

This is great news if you’re someone that tends to go over your monthly allowance or you're taking the contract out for someone else. But remember, all mobile providers have to do this now, so it’s not unique to Plusnet.

Useful link: How you manage your Smart Cap from Plusnet's help section.

Our rating:
★★★★☆ (recommended)

Rank:
TBC

Not as good as:
TBC

Better than:
TBC

Plusnet give an extra 2GB of data to their broadband customers

Mates Rates deals for broadband customers

Extra data for Plusnet broadband customersSee your deals

at plus.net
(opens in new window)

If you already have their broadband at home, there’s an even bigger reason to join Plusnet Mobile. As a thank you, you'll get an extra 2GB of data with any of their SIM only plans (see your exclusive offers here).

Only Plusnet broadband customers get access to these deals:

You need to live in a household with Plusnet broadband active to qualify. Simply choose your exclusive deal and provide your address so Plusnet can check you qualify (they do actually check).

Up to 5 people per household can benefit - read Plusnet's full FAQs on how Mates Rates works here. And you don't need to be the actual bill-payer to register, you just need to live with them.

Plusnet’s deals are typically among the cheapest, so getting an extra 2GB is a generous offer in our opinion. You can choose a cheaper plan with less data, enjoy your free extra and save money (practically a discount).

Useful link: See the latest exclusive Mates Rates deals if you're a Plusnet broadband customer

Our rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Rank:
TBC

Not as good as:
TBC

Better than:
TBC

Data rollover: you’ll lose unused data on Plusnet

SMARTY's data payback scheme banner

SMARTY pay back what unused data cost youHow it works

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

Most low cost networks offer data rollover schemes, essentially giving you another chance to use your unused data. They understand that their customers are looking for the best possible value when searching for a deal.

This feature is not available on Plusnet, which is disappointing. Keeping your unused data avoids you wasting something that you've paid for, gives you extra value from your deal and allows for more flexibility.

Low-cost rivals like iD Mobile let you keep unused data for a month. And we think that SMARTY's scheme, is fairer than all of them:

SMARTY will actually pay you back what the data cost you on some of their plans. This means you’ll never be out of pocket for data you've paid for.

Useful link: Read our full guide to Data Rollover plans

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Equal to:
All others

Free data: Plusnet don’t offer anything to help you save your data

VOXI endless video

Unlimited streaming on YouTube and moreHow it works

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

For this category, we will be looking at the ways in which mobile phone networks help you control the amount of data that you use each month. Here are some clever schemes that we’ve identified:

Sky Mobile’s unlimited TV app streaming is one of our favourites. It gives you unlimited data to watch Sky TV apps on your phone. Virgin Mobile’s unlimited data for WhatsApp, Twitter or Facebook Messenger is also top on our list.

Plusnet Mobile on the other hand, don’t offer this kind of luxury benefit to help you save your data. They are all about bringing you cheap no-frills deals.

As a result, we can only give them a poor rating in this category.

Useful links: Read how Sky Mobile Watch works at Sky.com

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Rank:
Joint last

Equal to:
Everyone else

Multi-buy discounts: you don’t save on multiple plans

BT Mobile Family SIM alternative

BT Mobile's Family SIMs are a good alternativeSee the discounts

There seems to be a trend with a lot of mobile networks, where they offer discounts for any additional contracts you take out with them. It’s a clever way to get your whole family on the same network.

Plusnet Mobile already offer incredibly low prices for their plans, which means they don’t have anywhere lower to go. And, as they don't offer any such discounts on their plans, we can only give them a 'poor' rating.

If you’re reading this and thinking that you’d like info on a provider that uses EE's mobile network AND offers discounts for taking out multiple plans, we can recommend BT Mobile's Family SIMs (read our review here).

They offer short, flexible 30-day contracts and let you manage up to 4 additional discounted SIMs on one bill. In our opinion, they offer the best multi-buy scheme out there.

Useful link: Learn about BT Mobile Family SIMs

Entertainment subscriptions: you get absolutely nothing

Cheap deals with no free subscriptions

No included subscription keeps prices downCompare plans

Offering free subscriptions to various entertainment services is an increasingly popular way that mobile networks are attracting new customers. Saying that, this tends to be the larger, more expensive providers.

Vodafone for example, offer a choice of NOW TV pass, Sky Sports Mobile or Spotify Premium subscription. And EE offer free Apple Music and BT Sport App access.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that no-frills Plusnet Mobile don’t give you any costly extras. And although those services may be ‘free’ with other providers, you effectively pay for them via a higher basic monthly bill.

For this reason, we have to give Plusnet Mobile a poor score when it comes to included subscriptions. But, looking at the low monthly cost, we’ll let you decide if you actually miss this luxury extra or not.

Useful link: Compare Plusnet Mobile SIM only prices

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Rank:
Joint last

Not as good as:
EE, BT Mobile, Vodafone

Equal to:
All others

Reviewing Plusnet Mobile's deals

Plusnet Mobile’s SIM only plans – key facts

Find a SIM only plan

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Added features

Plusnet Mobile’s current offers

Here are the latest promotions on Plusnet Mobile

Plusnet's current SIM only offers

Here's a look at the best offers currently available on Plusnet Mobile:

You might also like:

Phone contracts: non-existent at Plusnet Mobile!

iD Mobile alternative for phone contracts

We can help you compare phone pricesUse comparison tool

here at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

Plusnet Mobile are currently just a SIM only provider. This means they don't offer any phone contracts to new customers (some existing former LIFE Mobile customers may still have a phone).

If you want a low-cost phone contract that uses the EE network, we’d say that BT Mobile are a good option if you’re a broadband customer.

You can also pick up some decent deals on EE directly when you join via retailers like Fonehouse, ChitterChatter and BuyMobiles.net.

If you are open to exploring other UK networks, then use our phone price comparison tool here to help you find the deal that’s right for you.

Our rating:
N/A

Rank:
N/A

Not as cheap as:
N/A

Cheaper than:
N/A

 

Pay As You Go: Only pay monthly available on Plusnet Mobile

1pMobile logo1pMobile payg rates banner

Cheapest rates and uses EE's networkSee 1pMobile's deal

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Plusnet Mobile only offer their SIMs on 1-month (or sometimes 12-month) pay monthly contracts. And although there’s no pay as you go on their network, their deals do tend to start as low as £6 a month.

If pay as you go is a must, you could take a look at ultra-low-cost provider 1pMobile whose tariff is just 1p per minute, text or MB data. Just like Plusnet, 1pMobile use the EE network for 4G/3G/2G coverage.

But if you’d prefer an ultra-low rate from a major provider, then you’re out of luck. O2's Classic Pay As You Go tariff and Three’s 321 plan used to offer decent low cost rates, but both schemes have now been scrapped.

Do we think Plusnet Mobile will ever offer pay as you go? No, probably not. But we’ll be sure to update this section and share our thoughts if they do.

Useful link: Read our 1pMobile review

Our rating:
N/A

Rank:
N/A

As cheap as:
N/A

Cheaper than:
N/A

Plusnet Mobile customer service

Customer service: Plusnet Mobile have UK based staff

UK customer service

Plusnet have customer service based in the UKLearn more about it

at plus.net
(opens in new window)

To rate customer service, we normally look at Ofcom’s quarterly published data on the number of complaints received about major mobile providers. So, the higher the complaints, the poorer the customer service.

Plusnet Mobile are still quite a small player on the mobile scene and don’t have the number of customers required to feature in Ofcom’s report. As a result, we can’t give you any figures.

What does show up in the report, is Plusnet's broadband data. But, it’s a separate product, which comes with different types of problems. So unfortunately, we can't give you an accurate overview just yet.

We can however provide some info about their customer service representation. They have staff based in the UK, which you might find reassuring if you've had problems with offshore call centres in the past.

Useful link: How to get help on Plusnet Mobile

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