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Plusnet Mobile review 2023: the left behind network

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: 25th January 2023.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates Plusnet Mobile as an ok low-cost option
 (2.5/5, average)

"The last year has seen Plusnet Mobile’s main low-cost competitors adding extra network features like 5G data and WiFi calling, while Plusnet have stayed behind and continue to offer neither.

You do at least get access to EE’s fast 4G, although we’d note you don’t get identical coverage to being on EE directly. That can affect signal quality and speeds in certain places.

But Plusnet Mobile are cheap. Especially if you’ve got broadband through them and get 2GB extra free. They’re also a rare low-cost network you can actually ring up, if you’ve got a problem. We liked their app too.

We can see many being perfectly happy on Plusnet Mobile. But when it comes to more advanced network features that other cheap providers now offer, it is the case that you are paying less to get less with Plusnet."

The 3 best bits

1) 2GB free for broadband customers
2) Excellent 4G coverage and speeds
3) Customer service by phone

The 3 worst bits

1) Not same coverage as EE directly
2) No WiFi calling or 4G calling
3) No 5G data available

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’s isn’t the same as EE directly

Plusnet Mobile 4G and 3G signal strength

See coverage in your local areaCheck local signal

via Plusnet's website
(opens in new window)

Plusnet Mobile are a provider that piggyback off EE’s network, meaning you get largely the same 4G/3G/2G coverage with them as you would with their hosts. It’s a big advantage they hold over other low-cost networks.

This is because their host network cover 99% of the UK’s population for 4G and about 85% of the country’s landmass. That’s more than the rest of the main UK networks.

Not exactly. While 2G and 3G signal is exactly the same on Plusnet as it is on EE. While 4G is mostly the same on 4G, there is a technical difference:

Plusnet only get access to three of the four frequencies that EE use to broadcast their 4G signal. These three are the ones that provide signal in cities, towns and villages. So what does that mean in real life?

It means you get slightly worse 4G out in the countryside, because the one frequency they don’t use is the one that pushes 4G signal for long distances. It’s also used for boosting capacity in built-up areas.

Basically, if you’re on Plusnet you might not get 4G in the same areas as you would on EE. You might end up with weaker 4G signal or be kicked down to 3G signal for data. But call signal (2G/3G) is identical to EE.

You should use Plusnet’s coverage checker here in any case to see what sort of signal you should get

In real life that means you’ll get 4G in the countryside more consistently than on some networks and you’ll run into fewer blackspots in rural areas. That’s great for train journeys or long car rides.

Their low costs plus the fact they get access to the UK’s best 4G network makes Plusnet a great value network overall. Still, you should check coverage in your area before you buy.

Useful link: Check Plusnet Mobile signal here

Our rating:
★★★★★ (excellent)

Rank:
Joint 1st

Similar to:
EE, BT Mobile

Better than:
Vodafone, O2, Three & all others

Speeds: 4G’s good on Plusnet but there’s no 5G

1pMobile Wifi Calling

Same coverage as EE on 5G/4G/3G/2GSee for yourself

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

We mentioned above that Plusnet Mobile use EE’s network, and that includes the same blistering fast 4G speeds that you’d get on their hosts. There are no built-in speed caps on Plusnet vs being on EE.

According to independent network testers Opensignal, you typically get speeds around 44.7 Mbps. Those sorts of speeds are what you’d get from mid-range home fibre broadband and are a lot faster than other networks.

EE are our number one pick for the best 5G network, so can we expect Plusnet Mobile customers to get access to this brilliant 5G anytime soon?

More and more of the smaller providers on EE’s network are starting to offer access to 5G and WiFi calling, but Plusnet offer neither. However, we think there is a decent chance of them getting both in 2023.

It’s not absolutely impossible, as over the past year more low-cost providers have introduced 5G (SMARTY being a key example) but only time will tell.

If you want to access EE’s fantastic 5G network on a low-cost plan then 1pMobile are worth a look. All their plans are flexible, great value 1-month deals that get you full access to EE’s 5G.

There’s no explicit speed limit on Plusnet vs being on EE, but since you don’t get access to EE’s superfast 4G+ you won’t get the fastest 4G speeds possible. But we did manage to get over 100 Mbps on Plusnet.

But the coverage differences we mention above can cause speed differences between the two, because having more bands of 4G signal to use means networks can combine them in certain locations to deliver extra speed.

Useful link: Get 5G via EE and cheap prices on 1pMobile

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 are missing WiFi/4G calling

iD Mobile WiFi calling banner

Low-cost rivals SMARTY include itSee supported phones

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

So if Plusnet gives you a similar network experience to EE and 4G speeds for a cheaper price, then what are Plusnet missing? Well, they have neither WiFi calling nor 4G calling.

WiFi calling is necessary for helping with indoor coverage and keeping you connected to calls where call signal is poor. And 4G calling improves coverage and call quality by letting you call over 4G signal.

Since Plusnet’s 3G/2G signal isn’t the best and the frequencies these are broadcast on aren’t great at getting into buildings, indoor blackspots can be common. So you might end up having to go outside to make calls.

It’s not a surprise that Plusnet don’t offer it as they are a low-frills provider. But low-cost rivals SMARTY offer both features. Or for another cheap network still on EE, 1pMobile have monthly plans that include WiFi calling.

Useful link: The best networks for WiFi calling

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

Rank:
Joint last

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

Same as:
All others

Extra network features: lots missing on Plusnet

Other WiFi hotspot providers

No WiFi hotspots on Plusnet MobileSee extra costs

on plus.net
(opens in new window)

It’s worth knowing all the other extra network features you do or don’t get on Plusnet to know if they’re the right network for you. Since Plusnet are a low-frills network it’s no surprise they’re missing a few:

You can tether without limits on every Plusnet deal, letting you connect non-data devices to your data signal on the go. It’s a shame they don’t have unlimited data plans, as tethering will eat up your data quickly.

Plusnet don’t offer any WiFi hotspots for their users. These usually help you hold onto your data on the go. Virgin Mobile have the best scheme of all networks, with over 4.3 million hotspots across the UK.

Call forwarding is also not offered on Plusnet. This is a handy feature that lets you forward incoming calls to a different number, but Plusnet don’t let you do this.

You also miss out on visual voicemail on Plusnet, which usually lets you sort through your voicemails one by one in the order they were received. But to be fair not a lot of providers offer this anyway.

Finally, you can’t get an eSIM on Plusnet. For now it’s mostly the main UK networks that offer these, but we don’t see Plusnet bringing them out anytime soon.

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

Plusnet Mobile perks and extras reviewed

Plusnet include EU roaming but with some strict limits

Plusnet Mobile free EU roaming

Use your plan in 40 EU/EEA countriesHow it works

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

Lots of networks have got rid of EU roaming and now make you pay for every day you use your allowance abroad. But Plusnet have kept their roaming in place, making them a good option for going to the EU in our eyes.

They do set a limit on how much data you can use abroad. You’ll currently be limited to 15GB while you’re away. That’s still a pretty decent chunk of data, and most Plusnet plans are less than that anyway.

Their list of Roam like at Home destinations includes most of the places you’d expect. But Plusnet have no inclusive roaming outside of the EU. Instead you’ll have to pay as you go at some pretty steep rates.

Their roaming is a bit better than SMARTY and 1pMobile, but it’s behind low-cost rivals Lebara that let you use 30GB abroad. Plusnet are good for short trips to the EU, but beyond that you should look elsewhere.

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

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Equal to or better than:
All others

Other benefits of being on Plusnet

Plusnet Mobile Smart Caps

Limit overspending £1 at a timeHow they work

from plus.net
(opens in new window)

It’s worth knowing what other benefits you get from Plusnet. These are small benefits, but ones that can come in handy now and again:

Plusnet let you limit your overspending in flexible £1 increments with their Smart Caps. While every network has to let you cap extra spending, most networks don’t offer nearly the same flexibility as Plusnet.

And if you’re an existing Plusnet broadband customer, you get an extra 2GB on top of your deal. They call it Mates Rates and it can come in handy to stop yourself going over your regular allowance.

You can take any of these as an existing Plusnet broadband customer:

While an out and out discount might be better, it does potentially mean you can switch down to a smaller, cheaper plan and save money that way.

Overall the benefits of being on Plusnet are fairly slim, but that’s the trade off for low prices. These benefits do at least help you prevent overspending.

Useful link: How you manage your Smart Cap

Our rating:
★★★★☆ (recommended)

Rank:
TBC

Not as good as:
TBC

Better than:
TBC

What you don’t get on Plusnet Mobile

VOXI endless video

VOXI offer free data streamingHow it works

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

As Plusnet are a low-frills network, there are a lot of benefits that you don’t get for joining them that other networks do offer:

Firstly, Plusnet offer no free data streaming or social media benefits. VOXI offer unlimited data for social media apps on all their plans and unlimited data for streaming on their more premium plans.

Plusnet also don’t offer data rollover, so there’s no way of holding onto your leftover data after your month is up. iD Mobile have a simple scheme, letting you keep your unused data for another month on all plans.

You also don’t get any benefits for adding multiple SIMs to your account. Low-cost rivals SMARTY let you add up to 6 extra SIM only plans and get 10% off each one.

Overall, Plusnet offer you very little outside of just an allowance of minutes, texts and data. It’s the trade off you get for low prices. Whether or not it’s worth it is up to you.

Useful links: Read how Sky Mobile Watch works

Reviewing Plusnet Mobile's deals

Plusnet Mobile’s SIM only plans – key facts

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Phone contracts: Plusnet offer none!

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iD Mobile alternative for phone contracts

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here at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

Plusnet only currently offer SIM only plans, meaning there’s no way to get a phone contract with them. But their low-cost rivals VOXI offer some very flexible phone contracts.

EE don’t offer their phone contracts via third party resellers anymore. This is a shame as these offered better value than going with EE directly, but now that’s the only way of getting an EE phone contract.

If you instead want to look at different networks’ phone contracts, then use our phone price comparison tool here to find whatever deal suits you best.

Our rating:
N/A

Rank:
N/A

Not as cheap as:
N/A

Cheaper than:
N/A

 

Pay As You Go: Plusnet don’t offer it

1pMobile logo1pMobile payg rates banner

1pMobile offer 1p per min, text and MBSee 1pMobile's deal

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

Plusnet only offer pay monthly SIM only plans on 1-month and 12-month contracts, but there’s no way to pay as you go. That’s not usually an issue, as their pay monthly contracts are as cheap as £6 a month.

But if you’re certain you want to pay as you go, then 1pMobile are your best choice. They have the cheapest rates of all networks at only 1p per minute, text and MB of data. And they get full access to EE’s network.

None of the main UK networks offer cheap Pay As You Go rates. O2 and Three used to have some pretty low rates, but not anymore. The next cheapest PAYG network are ASDA, but even they’re not a great choice.

We don’t think there’s really any chance of Plusnet introducing a pay as you go scheme at this point. But we’ll keep an eye open and update this page here 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: you can call them to get help

UK customer service

Low prices and good customer serviceLearn more about it

at plus.net
(opens in new window)

To see how good a networks’ customer service is, we start by looking at Ofcom’s complaints record to see how many complaints they receive about each network. Usually, the higher the number, the worse the service.

Plusnet Mobile are still too small of a network to show up in Ofcom’s results. So, we still can’t use this as evidence one way or the other.

But they do operate call centres based in the UK, which is great for a low-cost network. It means you can call up and get your issue sorted straight away. We haven’t tested it, so we can’t say if it’s good or not.

You can manage most aspects of your plan in Plusnet’s app. While they don’t have an online chat, they do have a community forum where Plusnet users can answer your questions. Overall their customer service is good.

Useful link: How to get help on Plusnet Mobile

More articles about Plusnet Mobile

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