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Talkmobile review 2024: our best choice on Vodafone's network

Talkmobile logo with a SIM cardVisit talkmobile.co.uk

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We've put Talkmobile through their paces as a real life customer, to see if their coverage, speeds and benefits live up to the cheap prices.Last updated: 25th June 2024.

Overall rating

Our recommended way to get on the Vodafone network
 (4/5, excellent)

Talkmobile logo

Better prices you still buy directlySee hidden offers

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

“Now that they've reinstated inclusive EU roaming, we’ve run out of reasons why you wouldn’t just join Talkmobile ahead of their parent company Vodafone. So much is the same but you get a much cheaper deal.

You’ll get the same 4G/5G data coverage and speeds alongside network features like WiFi calling and 4G calling. There’s not much by way of premium added benefits but that’s really not the point of Talkmobile.

We also like that it’s not a fully no-frills experience on Talkmobile. You still get telephone-based customer service, who we’ve always found helpful and friendly. There’s even a basic account app.

Not everything’s perfect. Some Android users won’t get WiFi calling and 4G speeds away from big cities and towns isn’t the best. But that won’t take the shine of what will be an absolute bargain for most.”

The 3 best bits

1) On Vodafone's reliable network
2) EU roaming included again
3) Customer service you can call

The 3 worst bits

1) Small fair usage cap abroad
2) WiFi calling unreliable
3) Online account management a bit basic

Is Talkmobile closing down?

The operator has been sold around a few times and it did temporarily close to new customers. But it’s now back and owned by Vodafone. It’s been taking new customers for a few years now and we can’t see them closing down any time soon.

Who is Talkmobile owned by?

They’re owned by Vodafone but run as a distinct operation and brand by a separate team at Vodafone’s headquarters.

Does Talkmobile support 4G?

Yes. They’ve had the technology for a number of years now. They were one of the last 3G-only providers but that is no longer the case.

Is Talkmobile 5G?

Yes. They've been offering 5G data through the Vodafone network since mid-2022.

Does Talkmobile have WiFi calling?

Yes, in theory. We've struggled to get the feature to work on our Android test phones but it has worked on iPhone. They need to increase the number of supported models quickly.

Is Talkmobile and TalkTalk the same company?

No. They never have been. They just both happen to have Talk in their names.

Does Talkmobile allow tethering?

Yes. It works automatically and there are no fair usage limits other than your own data allowance.

How long does a Talkmobile SIM take to arrive?

Their official website says it takes 3 - 4 days. And that’s what we experienced too. It’s a little longer than some providers.

Do you get inclusive EU roaming on Talkmobile?

Not if you're a new customer. If you join today, you do not get EU roaming included with your Talkmobile plan and will have to buy roaming passes separately if you go abroad.

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

Talkmobile's mobile network

Coverage via Vodafone is a real strength

Talkmobile network map

Check 5G/4G/3G/2G signal with their mapCheck signal here

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

Talkmobile are a smaller provider owned indirectly by Vodafone but are run like their own company (they’re completely unrelated to TalkTalk). So it makes sense that they provide signal using Vodafone’s network.

You get full access to Vodafone’s 2G/3G/4G/5G network on any Talkmobile plan. They have the joint-largest coverage for calls and texts of all UK networks, so total signal blackspots are less common with them.

In terms of 4G data coverage (see 5G here), Talkmobile provide identical signal to being on Vodafone directly (read our Talkmobile vs Vodafone guide). That puts them ahead of all other networks except for EE.

It wouldn’t be possible to check coverage in every inch of the UK’s landmass. But we were able to test signal on our Talkmobile SIM in both urban and rural locations.

We managed to get consistent 4G and 4G+ data signal in urban areas. And we stayed on 4G in some very rural locations. It was hard to find anywhere with no 2G/3G signal at all.

When we compared coverage on our Talkmobile and Vodafone SIMs directly we got an identical number of signal bars and reception was essentially the same between the two providers.

You get an excellent mix of coverage for calls and data, but it’s worth using the coverage checker to see how well they cover your area before you join.

Talkmobile’s call signal is broadcast on low frequencies, meaning it can get through building materials more easily. That makes indoor calling blackspots less common than on networks like EE or Three.

Joining a budget network doesn’t always mean you get an inferior network experience, and Talkmobile are evidence of that. Still, it’s best to check their signal in your area before joining them.

Useful link: What Talkmobile say about their network

Coverage rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Joint 2nd
(out of 4 places)

Not as good as:
(and all providers that use them)

Similar to:
(and all providers that use them)

4G data speeds vary in quality

Talkmobile 4G data banner

Generally great urban 4G data speedsRead more

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

Talkmobile brought in 4G ages ago (see 5G here) so it’s a very well established part of their proposition. When we compared Talkmobile vs Vodafone we found identical 4G speeds and bandwidth between them.

Independent network testers Opensignal’s latest report shows typical 4G speed results of 27.9 Mbps on Talkmobile’s hosts. That puts them ahead of O2 and all providers that use them, but behind Three and EE.

We checked speeds in various places using our Talkmobile SIM and Vodafone SIM in the same test phones to see if there were any differences. The speeds we got were in line with Opensignal’s results.

Over Talkmobile’s 4G+ data signal we got speeds up to 110+ Mbps, the fastest speeds possible on their 4G. But more often we sat around a steady 30 - 48 Mbps.

4G+ on Talkmobile

4G speeds in suburban areas sat around 13 Mbps, which is still good enough to watch HD videos on Youtube without them buffering too much.

In rural areas, speeds went down to 5 Mbps. You’ll notice that image heavy websites begin to load more slowly with these speeds, but we were able to stream standard definition video without too much buffering.

Those speeds will let you watch ultra high definition YouTube videos without too much buffering. They’re similar to what mid-range home fibre broadband would give you.

You’ll typically stay on 4G signal in some surprisingly rural areas, but speeds will slow down considerably the further you get from the city. That’s the same for all networks, but is more noticeable on Talkmobile.

Useful link: More about Talkmobile's 4G

4G speed rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Joint 2nd/3rd

Not as good as:
(and other providers that use them)

Better than:
(and other providers that use them)

5G speeds are impressive but 5G’s not that widespread

Talkmobile network upgrades

Full speed 5G on all plansRead about upgrades

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

Talkmobile provide 5G on all plans at no added cost, meaning you’ll get 5G in the same 160+ locations that you would on Vodafone. While that sounds good, they are in last place for 5G coverage across all networks.

Despite that, their 5G speeds are quite healthy compared to other networks. Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla put typical 5G speeds between 114.3 Mbps - 146.19 Mbps, with peak speeds up to 315.35 Mbps.

There’s nothing on Talkmobile’s website saying if their speeds are capped or not, so we went out with our Talkmobile SIM to test it ourselves.

We got 5G speeds up to 213 Mbps in the city centre, which was identical to the speeds we got on our Vodafone SIM in the sale places. But Speedtest’s results show their peak speeds can be even higher than that.

That’s why it’s important not to just look at typical speeds as the speeds you can get on Talkmobile and other providers on Vodafone’s network can be genuinely impressive.

That puts Talkmobile comfortably in second place for 5G speeds across all networks. And on top of that, 5G helps to ease signal congestion, meaning it’s a massive overall improvement to Talkmobile’s network experience.

Talkmobile are pretty much always the cheapest way to get access to Vodafone’s 5G network on SIM only. It’s a big improvement on their 4G, even if their 5G isn’t the fastest or most widespread.

Useful link: Our rankings for the best 5G networks

5G rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Not as good as:
EE, Three
(and other providers that use them)

Better than:
(and other providers that use them)

Their WiFi calling has also improved a lot in our eyes

Talkmobile WiFi calling banner

Get WiFi/4G calling on every planWhat Talkmobile say...

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

Talkmobile are one of many low-cost networks to include WiFi/4G calling on their plans. This is a feature that lets you make/take calls over WiFi and 4G signal if conventional call signal (3G/2G) is weak.

So if you do get call signal blackspots in your home, this feature will be very handy for keeping connected to calls and texts. And improves overall coverage for calls by letting you call over 4G as well as 3G/2G.

Talkmobile have expanded support to most newer iPhone and Androids. Older or more obscure Android models might not be supported, so check yours here. And you can’t transfer calls from WiFi to 4G without it dropping.

We only tested Talkmobile’s WiFi calling when it first came out, so we’ll update this page once we’ve tested further. For now, you can follow their guide here to try and get it working.

Useful link: All UK mobile networks with WiFi calling

WiFi calling rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)


They’re very thin on other network features

Screenshot of Talkmobile FAQs

Create a personal hotspot on your phoneRead all FAQs

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

You can set up a personal hotspot on your phone with your Talkmobile SIM. This lets you connect other phones or even non-data devices to your data signal without limits, so you can use up all your data for this.

They also let you forward incoming calls to a different number, but when we tested it we only got it to work on our Android and not on our iPhone.

You don’t get any exclusive WiFi hotspots on Talkmobile. A few networks provide these to save their customers some data on the go. But it’s easier than ever to find free WiFi around these days, so not a huge loss.

Talkmobile don’t include visual voicemail, which usually displays your voicemail messages and lets you play through them one at a time. Not a lot of networks include this, so it’s no shock Talkmobile don’t either.

Finally, Talkmobile don’t offer eSIMs. Not a lot of UK providers do have these, but some smaller providers offer them now. Still, Talkmobile tend to be slow with things like this, so don’t expect them any time soon.

Useful link: The best networks for WiFi hotspots

Talkmobile benefits

Not having to pass a credit check will be useful to many

ID check question screenshot

You just need to pass an ID checkRead full terms

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

There are many reasons you might get rejected by networks that force you to pass a credit check. You might be young, new to the UK or have missed payments. But Talkmobile don’t make you pass a credit check to join.

They will take some of your personal details just so they know who you are and to set up a direct debit with the bank details you provide them. You can only be rejected if the information you give is wrong.

If you keep up with your SIM only bill after a few months, Talkmobile may offer you an upgrade to a phone contract. Doing so can help you build up your credit score if you keep paying your bill on time.

That makes Talkmobile an excellent choice if you’ve been rejected by other networks (such as Vodafone) for credit reasons and can help you build your score. But, in fairness, they’re a great choice for anyone.

Useful link: Talkmobile's buying online terms and conditions

Their spending caps are also flexible and convenient

Spending cap screenshot

Increase or decrease your cap wheneverHow it works

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

There are certain things that you’ll have to pay extra for outside of your regular monthly bill. This includes things like calling premium numbers, making calls abroad or exceeding your data allowance.

Every mobile network has to let their customers set a cap on how much they can spend on extras outside of their regular monthly deal, according to laws introduced by government regulators Ofcom.

But networks can still make their spending cap increments very wide if they choose. So we really like that Talkmobile let you set a cap that suits you. When you join you’ll first have to set it at £0, £5 or £10.

To test out their scheme we set our spending cap to £0, which prevented us from doing anything that would incur extra charges. Trying to send a chargeable MMS will result in failure, for example.

We then changed our spending cap to £3 and found it worked right away and was easy to do. But Talkmobile didn’t give us any indication that the change had taken effect.

Then we sent 10 MMS texts which cost 30p each to see if the change had worked. Right after sending the last one we received a text telling us we had hit our limit:

Text message from Talkmobile

Changing your spending cap later is simple. You can change it up or down £1 at a time if you want and set a £100 cap if need be (subject to Talkmobile’s approval). In all it’s a handy scheme to manage overspending.

Useful link: Cost of not-included extras on Talkmobile

Our spend cap rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)


As good as:

Better than:

Inclusive EU roaming is another great benefit

Map of Europe with Talkmobile roaming selling points overlayed

Roam in the EU at no added costSee all countries

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

Talkmobile have brought inclusive EU roaming back to their deals, meaning you can roam in these 41 EU destinations at no added cost on any of their plans.

The downside is that they’ve changed their fair usage policy. You’ll now be restricted to 5GB of your allowance when you used to be able to use 15GB. That’s quite tight, but should be enough for short trips.

You don’t get any inclusive roaming beyond the EU. Instead you’ll have to top up and pay at these rates to roam outside of their inclusive destinations. But it’s very rare for smaller providers to offer this anyway.

Now Talkmobile’s EU roaming is essentially the same as fellow Vodafone users ASDA Mobile, so either of these are your best choice for roaming on Vodafone’s network. In all, it’s great that they’ve brought it back.

Useful link: Full Talkmobile roaming terms and conditions

Our roaming rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

There are some other handy benefits as well

Table of international calls

International calls from 19p per minSee their rates

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

Talkmobile offer lots of 1-month contracts that let you switch plans or leave Talkmobile entirely each month. These come at a slightly higher monthly price than their longer 12-month contracts.

If you get through all your monthly data you can buy an extra data add-on to keep you covered until your next month. These are quite good value, especially when compared to what you get on the larger providers.

And if you need to call abroad, international mins are well priced on Talkmobile. Calls abroad start at 19p per min. That’s middle of the road compared to other networks and is helped a bit by their low plan prices.

In all, Talkmobile have a few extra helpful benefits that can come in handy now and again.

Useful link: Talkmobile’s guide to extra charges

You’ll miss out on certain benefits with them

VOXI unlimited social media data

VOXI offer unlimited social media dataSee VOXI benefits

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

There’s no unlimited social media or streaming data like you get on VOXI. Talkmobile don’t offer data rollover, unlike their low-cost rivals iD. And there’s no loyalty apps like Vodafone’s VeryMe.

Talkmobile don’t give you any benefits for taking out multiple deals. There’s no discounts for families, no data gifting between users and no additional parental controls for keeping your kids safe (read our guide).

If you join on a 12-month contract for the lower monthly price you won’t be able to switch to a smaller plan until your contract is up. So, it’s a choice between better prices or better flexibility on Talkmobile.

Lastly, there’s no guarantee that Talkmobile won’t up the cost of your plan during your contract. That’s not ideal as their main selling point is their low prices. Budget rivals SMARTY don’t up plan prices at all.

Useful link: The best networks for free streaming and social media data

Talkmobile deals and plans

SIM only plans from Talkmobile

Find the best deal for you using our comparison tool below

Key facts on Talkmobile's SIM only plans



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Screenshot of Talkmobile's phone range

You can’t get a phone plan directlySee phone range

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

There’s no way to join on a phone deal directly on Talkmobile. Instead, you’d have to take a SIM only plan, keep up with your payments for a few months and then ask to get upgraded to one of their phone plans.

You can join via Fonehouse if you need a new phone right away. They offer good value on Talkmobile phone contracts on a wide range of mid-level devices here.

They’re a third party retailer that sell Talkmobile phone plans. So when you’re joining one of these plans via Fonehouse your contract will work the same way as being on a Talkmobile phone contract.

Use our phone comparison tool here to find the best value phone deals on other networks and resellers. Lots of other networks offer great value on phone contracts which you can take right away.

Useful link: More about upgrading to a phone contract

Talkmobile customer service

They have great customer service for a budget network

Ofcom complaints screenshot

They’re not in Ofcom’s reportRead Ofcom's report

One way we judge a networks’ customer service is by looking how many complaints Ofcom receive about them, as it shows how good they are at resolving issues. But Talkmobile are too small to show up in their report.

Vodafone currently get an average number of complaints according to Ofcom, and they’ve had a low reputation for customer service before. But Talkmobile have always been efficient when resolving our issues.

We ran into problems when we set up our online Talkmobile account. So we called up their customer service line to get help, which we could do at no added cost on 5888 using our Talkmobile SIM.

After getting through the automated options menu it took about 3 minutes to be put through to an agent. We did call around 17:30 and the speed of responses will vary depending on the time.

Their agent asked us for some security details before we went through the registration process. They resolved our problem in just a few minutes.

They helpfully explained why our first bill was more than what they had advertised (the cost was pro-rated so as to cover the beginning of the month).

Considering Talkmobile are a low-cost network they offer excellent over-the-phone customer service. You don’t have to give up joining a great value plan to get good customer service, you get both.

A few of their low-cost rivals tend to cut costs by not paying for call centres to offer cheaper deals. But you get great over-the-phone service, a handy online help section as well as low costs on Talkmobile.

It’s also easy to manage your account using the MyTalkmobile app. This shows you your bills, lets you set your spending cap, buy extra data and more. You can access their help section in the app as well.

In all, Talkmobile offer a lot of ways to get help considering they’re a budget provider. And the experience is smoother than on some of their budget rivals. So you’re getting good customer service and good prices.

Useful link: How to get help on Talkmobile

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