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Talkmobile review 2024: a better score now EU roaming's back!

Talkmobile logo with a SIM cardVisit talkmobile.co.uk

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We put Talkmobile's network coverage, speeds and features through their paces as a real-life SIM only customer. Here's what we found. Last updated: 12th September 2023.

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

Excellent coverage via Vodafone’s network

Talkmobile network map

Check 5G/4G/3G/2G coverage near youCheck signal here

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

Talkmobile are a small network indirectly owned by Vodafone (they’re run like their own company and totally unrelated to TalkTalk). It only makes sense then that they use Vodafone’s network to provide signal.

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.

For 4G data coverage (see 5G below), Talkmobile are ahead of every network except EE and we’ve found signal strength to be identical to being on Vodafone directly (read our Talkmobile vs Vodafone guide).

It’d be near impossible to test every inch of the UK’s landmass to check coverage. However, we tested our Talkmobile SIM in various different locations, both in rural and urban areas.

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 tested our Talkmobile and Vodafone SIMs against each other directly and got the same amount of signal bars and found that reception was basically identical between the two.

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 broadcast their call signal on lower frequencies that are typically better at getting into buildings, so indoor blackspots are less common with them compared to networks like EE and 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 can be very impressive or underwhelming

Talkmobile 4G data banner

Typically excellent 4G speeds in citiesRead more

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

Talkmobile have had 4G for ages (see 5G below) and it’s a well established part of their network. In our Talkmobile vs Vodafone tests we found no difference in 4G speeds or bandwidth between the two.

Independent network testers Opensignal’s latest report shows typical 4G speed results of 25.9 Mbps on Talkmobile’s hosts. That puts them ahead of O2 and all providers that use them, but behind Three and EE.

We tested speeds in different locations on the same test phones in order to see if we got different results on our Talkmobile SIM vs our Vodafone SIM. We got speeds that were in line with what the testers claimed.

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

Our tests in suburban areas got us typical 4G speeds around 13 Mbps. That’s still fast enough to watch HD videos on Youtube without too much buffering.

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.

That’s fast enough to stream ultra high definition video on YouTube comfortably. It’s similar to what you’d get over mid-range home fibre broadband connection.

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 data is a huge upgrade for Talkmobile

Talkmobile network upgrades

Same 5G speeds and coverage as VodafoneRead about upgrades

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

Talkmobile have 5G live in the same 141+ UK towns and cities as Vodafone. Street by street coverage is quite good in these locations too, but they are behind all the other UK networks for coverage.

Speeds over 5G are quite healthy compared to other networks. Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla put typical 5G speeds between 100.6 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 managed to get 5G speeds of up to 213 Mbps in the city centre, which was the same speed we got using our Vodafone SIM in the same locations. But their peak speed results show speeds can go 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.

Talkmobile offer one of the cheapest ways to access Vodafone’s 5G network with their SIM only deals. While their 5G network isn’t the biggest or fastest of all networks, it’s a step change from 4G.

Useful link: Our rankings for the best 5G networks

5G rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Joint 3rd

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

Better than:
(and other providers that use them)

WiFi calling has been improving recently

Talkmobile WiFi calling banner

WiFi/4G calling included on all plansWhat 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.

This is helpful for eliminating indoor signal blackspots. If you struggle to get signal in the home then you’ll like this feature. It also improves coverage by letting you make calls over 4G as well as 3G/2G signal.

But we couldn’t get WiFi calling to work on any of our Android test phones with Talkmobile (see list here), even with the latest software installed. It worked on our iPhone, but this scheme still needs improvement.

We think Talkmobile’s scheme will eventually be identical to Vodafone’s once it’s more of a well-established feature. After all, Talkmobile use Vodafone’s infrastructure for everything else.

Useful link: All UK mobile networks with WiFi calling

WiFi calling rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)


Only a few extra network features are included

Screenshot of Talkmobile FAQs

Use your phone as a personal hotspotRead all FAQs

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

Talkmobile let you turn your phone into a personal hotspot to tether non-data devices or other phones to your data signal. You can do this without limits, so you can use up to your whole data allowance 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.

There are no free WiFi hotspots on Talkmobile. These usually come in handy to save some data on the go. Free WiFi is easier to find out and about these days anyway, so it’s not too bad that they’re missing this.

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, you can’t get an eSIM on Talkmobile. In fairness, it’s mostly just the main UK networks that offer these for now, so it’s no surprise that Talkmobile don’t. But we don’t think they’ll bring these out soon.

Useful link: The best networks for WiFi hotspots

Talkmobile benefits

No credit checks to pass on any plan

ID check question screenshot

You only have to pass an ID checkRead full terms

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

If you’re young, new to the UK or have missed payments in the past you may be rejected by other networks due to their strict credit checks. But Talkmobile let you join them without having to pass a credit check.

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.

Talkmobile said that they only need these details to confirm your identity and set up a direct debit, using the bank details you give them. You’ll only be rejected if you give incorrect information.

If you pay for your SIM only contract on time over a number of months, Talkmobile may let you upgrade to a phone contract. If you continue to make payments on time that can help you build your credit score.

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

Spending caps are very flexible and easy to change

Spending cap screenshot

Change your cap whenever you needHow it works

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

On any network, there are certain actions that will incur extra charges outside of your regular monthly bill. For example, making calls to premium numbers, calling abroad or going over your monthly 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.

However, networks can set the spending caps at increments of their choosing. So it’s great that Talkmobile let you set your cap how you like it. When you first join them you can set a cap of £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.

When we changed our spending cap to £3 it took effect right away and was simple enough to do. But we didn’t receive any actual confirmation that the change had taken place.

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 has been brought back

Map of Europe with Talkmobile roaming selling points overlayed

They now let you roam at no added costSee all countries

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

Talkmobile have done something no other network have, by reintroducing inclusive EU roaming back to their plans! You can now use your Talkmobile plan in these 41 EU destinations again at no added cost.

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.

There are no inclusive roaming destinations beyond the EU, so if you want to use your SIM further afield you’ll have to top up and pay at these rates. But we wouldn’t expect a smaller network 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)

Joint 6th

They offer lots of other handy benefits too

Table of international calls

Call abroad 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 run out of data for one month you can add extra data add-ons to tide you over until your next month. These add-ons are decent value, especially compared to the larger networks.

Talkmobile also offer some decently priced international calls, which start at 19p per min. We’d say their rates are middle of the road which, considering their cheap prices in the first place, is pretty good.

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

What you don’t get with Talkmobile

VOXI unlimited social media data

Free social media data on VOXISee 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.

You don’t get any benefits for taking our multiple plans. So no family plan discounts, data gifting benefits and no extra parental controls to keep your kids safe online (see the best networks for families here).

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.

Finally, Talkmobile don’t promise to not raise their prices during your contract. That’s not great since most people would join them for their budget prices. Low-cost rivals SMARTY don’t up the cost of their plans.

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

Talkmobile deals and plans

SIM only plans from Talkmobile

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Key facts on Talkmobile's SIM only plans



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Screenshot of Talkmobile's phone range

No way to take a phone directlySee phone range

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

Talkmobile don’t let you take a phone contract directly from them. The only way to get one is to join on a SIM only plan, stay on your plan for a few months and then ask to be upgraded to one of these phone deals.

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.

Fonehouse are a third party reseller offering Talkmobile phone contracts. When you take a contract with them you’re signing up just like you would as a regular Talkmobile customer.

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

Great customer service for a budget network

Ofcom complaints screenshot

They don’t show up in Ofcom’s reportRead Ofcom's report

We look at Ofcom’s complaints record as a way of getting a grasp of how good each network are at resolving their customers’ issues. However, Talkmobile are too small of a network 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 found issues when setting our online account up on Talkmobile. To fix this we called their customer service line, which we could do for free on our Talkmobile SIM on 5888.

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 took a few security details before taking us through the registration process. We got our issue resolved in only 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).

Talkmobile’s over-the-phone services are great for a cheap network, meaning it’s not a trade off of good customer service for low costs. 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.

You can also manage your account through the MyTalkmobile app. This lets you see your bills, manage spending caps, take extra data and more. And you can access their help section through the app too.

Talkmobile have a lot of customer service options for a low-cost providers. And they offer a smoother experience than some networks. You don’t have to choose great value or good customer service, you get both.

Useful link: How to get help on Talkmobile

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