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Tesco Mobile review 2024: pros and cons to their network

Tesco Mobile reviewVisit tescomobile.com

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

There's quite a lot going for Tesco Mobile in terms of coverage, phone contracts and deals for Tesco shoppers. But what don't you get? Last updated: 13th February 2023.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates Tesco Mobile as a good provider to join ★★★☆☆ (3/5, good)

"We like what Tesco Mobile are doing with their ‘Supermarket Mobile’ approach. For Tesco shoppers, there’s now loads of discounts and benefits through Clubcard, and it’s handy having customer service in their stores.

Using O2’s network is an advantage for leading calls and texts coverage, very good 4G/5G data coverage but if you’re someone that’s fussy about data speeds, Tesco Mobile can be slower on average than others.

They’re also in the process of finally rolling out WiFi calling and 4G calling, which are useful for improving indoor coverage. More-advanced stuff like eSIM, call forwarding and visual voicemail still aren’t there though.

If you get involved in the Clubcard discounts and vouchers, Tesco are towards the cheaper end of networks too, their phone contracts are very competitive indeed. Overall, Tesco Mobile are a solid provider".

The 3 best bits

1) Ties in with Clubcard
2) Excellent all-round coverage
3) WiFi calling being rolled out

The 3 worst bits

1) Inclusive roaming scrapped
2) Slower 4G/5G speeds than average
3) WiFi calling rollout not immediate

What network do Tesco Mobile use?

O2. Tesco Mobile use O2’s 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks.

Who runs Tesco Mobile?

Tesco Mobile are run by the Tesco supermarket company. We believe O2’s former owner Telefonica also have a share in Tesco Mobile.

Does Tesco Mobile offer 5G?

Yes. The faster data technology now comes on each of the network’s pay monthly SIM only plans and phone contracts for models that support 5G.

Do Tesco Mobile have a cooling off period?

Yes. The standard 14-day cooling off period applies for Tesco Mobile as long as you buy online or over the phone. You don’t have the same right if you bought in-store.

Does Tesco Mobile have WiFi calling?

Yes and no. It's in the process of being rolled out but not every customer currently gets it. It’s one of the main network features missing from Tesco Mobile. The same applies for 4G calling (also known is the VoLTE).

Can I bring my number to Tesco Mobile?

Yes. Text your old provider with the word PAC to 65075 and they’ll give you a code that you can give to Tesco so they can move your number across to their network.

Is Tesco Mobile's network any good?

Coverage on Tesco Mobile is solid for calls and data

Tesco Mobile 4G/3G reception map

Use their map to check your local areaCheck coverage now

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

Tesco Mobile are a smaller provider on the O2 network, which they use to provide 5G/4G/3G/2G signal. They offer identical coverage to their hosts, so you get full access to the joint-second largest network on Tesco.

O2 are able to reach 99% of the UK population 4G/3G/2G where they live. Bear in mind that’s population, not geographical landmass (so check coverage everywhere you'll use your phone).

You’ll also have O2’s excellent indoor signal on Tesco Mobile. The frequencies they use to broadcast their call signal is great at getting through building materials, so indoor blackspots should be rare.

If you find your current network’s not quite up to scratch then Tesco are certainly worth thinking about as a switching option. But always make sure to check their signal beforehand.

Useful link: Check your Tesco Mobile coverage

Our coverage rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Joint 2nd

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

Better than:
(and providers that use them)

4G speeds are the slowest of all networks on Tesco

Tesco Mobile average 4G speeds

4G is still fast in urban areas Latest 5G news

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

If you’re looking for the fastest possible speeds (say if you’re a mobile gamer) then Tesco Mobile and other O2-users won’t be for you (instead we think EE/Vodafone/Three based providers would be better choices).

We look at results from independent network testers Opensignal to see what sorts of 4G speeds you can expect from each network. Their latest report showed 16.8 Mbps on Tesco, a bit slower than their last report.

For social media and internet browsing the difference between Tesco and other networks isn’t that obvious. But you might notice HD videos take a little longer to download.

In testing we were able to get speeds of 95 Mbps in the city, but as low as 5 Mbps outside built up areas. Unless you’re using your SIM for data-intense activities you won’t notice a huge difference on Tesco.

Useful link: What Tesco Mobile say about their 4G

Our speed rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Joint last (with other networks who use O2)

Not as good as:
EE, Three, Vodafone

Better than:

5G speeds on Tesco aren’t great but coverage is decent

Tesco Mobile 5g

Much faster speeds than over 4GSee 5G locations

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

Tesco give you full access to O2’s expanding 5G network on all of their SIM only and phone plans. That currently means you’ll get 5G in these 750+ UK towns and cities, more than any other network.

In terms of speeds, just like with 4G, Tesco Mobile have hitched themselves to the slowest network. According to Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla, typical 5G speeds sit between 90.61 Mbps - 92.3 Mbps.

You get 5G on every Tesco Mobile SIM only plan. Here are their best current deals in our eyes:

That’s pretty sluggish compared to other networks. But it can make up for their slower 4G where 5G is available. Coverage within their locations is typically stronger than some other networks, so you’ll be on 5G more often.

Overall, you’re likely to get 5G in your area due to the amount of locations and if so you’ll usually stay on 5G quite often. But their speeds can be a let down if you’re using your SIM for data heavy activities.

Useful link: Our guide to the best 5G networks

Our 5G rating:
★★★☆☆ (great)


Not as good as:
EE, Three

Better than:

WiFi calling is being rolled out slowly on Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile 5g

Tesco let you call via WiFi and 4G signalHow it works

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

While Tesco have great indoor call signal, you may still run into indoor blackspots if you’re far from the nearest mast or things are in the way. Tesco Mobile are rolling out WiFi calling and 4G calling to help with this.

This will let you connect to calls using WiFi and 4G signal as well as conventional call signal. So if you’re somewhere with poor call signal but decent WiFi and 4G signal then you’ll still be able to make calls.

And you’ll also be able to switch from a WiFi call to a 4G call seamlessly without it dropping. Or if you need to send a text over WiFi or 4G signal you can do that as well.

It’s still being rolled out and not all customers will immediately have the feature. There are a few older Apple and Android models missing from their supported devices list. It’s still a work in progress but it’s great to see Tesco finally add it.

Useful link: Read Tesco’s guide for more information

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


Not as good as:

Same as:

Tesco don’t offer many extra network features

Other WiFi hotspot providers

These providers offer WiFi hotspots

Read our guide

here at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

It’s worth knowing what other network features you get with each network before joining up, as these can help you get the most out of your deal. Tesco are missing a fair few:

You can tether up to your entire monthly data allowance on any Tesco Mobile deal. And you can take an unlimited data plan to tether your data signal to larger devices like laptops without worrying about data usage.

Tesco Mobile offer no free WiFi hotspots. But their hosts O2 offer 15,000+ WiFi hotspots up and down the country and even Tesco’s low-cost, low-frills rivals giffgaff (who also use O2) offer a decent hotspot scheme.

Call forwarding is not available on Tesco Mobile, meaning you can’t forward incoming calls to a different number. This is something most other networks offer, so we could see Tesco introduce it at some point.

Tesco Mobile are also missing visual voicemail which lets you sort through your voicemails one by one. But only a handful of networks actually include this, so it’s not surprising that Tesco don’t.

Finally, there’s no way to take out an eSIM on Tesco Mobile. However, this is largely limited to the main UK networks for now anyway, so it’s not a major shock that Tesco don’t offer them.

Useful link: See charges for going over your data limit on Tesco Mobile

Our free WiFi rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Same as:
Everyone else

Tesco Mobile benefits

Clubcard holders can get money off their monthly bill

Tesco Mobile discount calculator

Get money off with Clubcard pointsHow it works

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

If you often shop at Tesco and you’ve got a Clubcard then there are a few reasons to join Tesco Mobile as well. Firstly, you can pop into a Tesco store to see Tesco Mobile’s customer service directly.

Having a Clubcard also means you’ll get access to exclusive Clubcard Price deals on phone deals and SIM only plans. These cost less for you as a Clubcard holder than anyone else joining Tesco Mobile.

When you spend money on your mobile bill or shopping you can collect Clubcard points. These can then be converted into vouchers for a discount on your mobile bill or shopping. You can read more about the scheme here.

It’s a great system in our eyes, as you can turn your shopping and your phone bills into a sort of feedback loop. Your spending for one gets you discounts for the other and so on. If you’re a Tesco fanatic, you’ll love it.

Useful link: Read our review of Clubcard benefits on Tesco

Get Family Perks for adding plans to your account

Tesco Mobile Family Perks

Extra monthly benefits such as discountsSee latest Perks

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

If you want to get your family onto their own plans, then you’ll like the fact that Tesco give you extra benefits for doing so. Each new user you add to your account will be able to choose their own Family Perk.

These are extra benefits you can choose each month. You can get money off, discounted phone insurance, extra data, additional Clubcard points or extra minutes on each phone or SIM only plan on your account.

Tesco now offer a Family Pack too, which is an unlimited data SIM for £30, which you can then add more unlimited SIMs to, at just £10 per SIM. If your family rips through a lot of data, that’s a useful product.

Some other networks might get you bigger discounts for adding additional deals, but Tesco’s scheme is just a way of rewarding their customers' loyalty with small but flexible benefits.

It’s a flexible system as you can change your perks every month and on a per user basis. If you want to earn more Clubcard points for one month and no longer need your extra data then you can switch without hassle.

Useful link: How Family Perks work on Tesco Mobile

Our family plan rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)


Not as good as:
BT Mobile Family SIMs

Inclusive roaming: Tesco Mobile are removing it

Tesco Mobile Home From Home roaming

You’ll have to pay to roamWhat this means

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

More and more networks have removed inclusive EU roaming from their plans and Tesco Mobile are joining them. You’ll no longer be able to roam in their 48 EU/EEA destinations at no extra cost after “Spring” 2023.

If you join Tesco Mobile now that means you won’t get roaming for most of your contract. If you join after that date then you just won’t get inclusive roaming at all. Existing customers will also lose inclusive roaming.

After that, roaming will become chargeable. We aren’t certain what the costs will be, but we think it’ll be £2 a day to roam in the EU like the rest of the networks that have removed inclusive roaming.

It’s a shame considering Tesco used to be our number one roaming network. You’ll still be able to use your whole UK data allowance in the EU, however. Roaming beyond the EU will have you paying these steep rates.

Useful link: Full information on roaming with Tesco Mobile

Our roaming rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Not as good as:
All others

Slightly better than:

No mid-contract price rises on Tesco Mobile

Tesco no mid contract price rises

Prices won’t go up during your contractRead more

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

While many other mobile networks will increase the cost of your plan every year in accordance with inflation, Tesco Mobile have promised not to do this. Your monthly cost will stay the same over your contract.

This is especially good if you’re on a 24-month contract, as you’ll pay the same price for two whole years. And if you’re on a 36-month phone contract you’ll be paying the same over the entire length of that as well.

And if you join on a better value “Clubcard Prices” plan you’ll still pay the lower cost without the price changing for your entire contract. That means you get better value for longer with Tesco.

Prices may increase on their “No-Contract” SIMs, as there’s no contract stopping this. But Tesco will tell you about any price increase months in advance. Overall, you’re safe from price increases on Tesco.

Useful link: Our guide to annual price increases

Spending caps: Tesco’s are quite flexible

Tesco Mobile capped contracts

Cap your spending outside your planRead all the benefits

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

It’s been a while since Ofcom made it a legal requirement for networks to let their customers set a cap on spending over their regular monthly bill. Tesco offered these before it was the law. It’s a great way to help manage your spending.

Tesco let you choose a cap from a range of options when you join up: £0, £2.50, £5, £7.50, £10, £20, £30, £40 or no cap at all. If you take a £0 cap you won’t be able to use any extras that would incur a charge.

Extra include international calls, premium messaging services and international roaming (see full list here). When you hit your cap you’ll no longer be able to use these services unless you increase it.

But every network has to offer spending caps, so Tesco’s don’t seem as special any more. And a few networks have more flexible schemes (iD let you set a cap £1 at a time), but Tesco’s are more flexible than some.

Useful link: How Capped Contracts work

Our caps rating:
★★★★★ (excellent)


Better than:

Better than:

What you don’t get on Tesco Mobile

Three's Go Binge

Sky offer data free streaming on TV appsSee what you get

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

It’s worth knowing what sorts of things you don’t get with Tesco Mobile to know if they’re really the right network for you:

Tesco offer no unlimited streaming data benefits. This is something that their biggest rivals on the O2 network Sky Mobile do offer, letting you stream their TV apps without eating into your data on any plan.

VOXI offer unlimited data for social media apps on all plans, while their more premium plans get you unlimited video streaming data on a range of apps. Unlike Sky, you only have to be a VOXI mobile user to benefit.

Tesco Mobile also don’t offer data rollover. Again, Sky Mobile offer a fantastic scheme that lets you store unused data in a piggybank for up to 3 years. You can withdraw it whenever or trade it in for discounts.

Useful link: All networks with free data schemes

Deals on Tesco Mobile

SIM only plans overview

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Tesco’s phone contracts are low-cost and flexible

Are smartphone contracts any good on Tesco Mobile?

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Tesco Mobile Anytime Upgrade phone contracts

Pay off your phone to upgrade earlyHow they work

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

If you’re looking for low-end phone contracts, you should definitely consider Tesco Mobile. Their phone contracts are relatively low-cost while also giving you the flexibility to set your contract to your needs.

They offer most of their phone contracts as Anytime Upgrade Flex contracts. The cheapest phones are only really offered on your usual low-frills 24-month contracts.

Tesco base their contracts around finance agreements where the payment for your phone and usage plan (mins, texts, data) are paid separately. Tesco allow you to choose an upfront cost and contract length.

Whether you’re on a 12-month or 36-month contract you’ll pay the same overall amount. Same goes for if you pay upfront or not. Some networks charge you more overall for longer contracts, but Tesco don’t.

Few networks give you both great value and flexibility. But Tesco let you suit your contract to your budget, upgrade and leave your usage plan whenever. Passing a credit check for one can be hard, however.

See popular phones at Tesco Mobile: iPhone | Samsung Galaxy | Other makes

Pay As You Go: Tesco Mobile are a decent choice

Tesco Mobile Rocket Packs

Top up with £10 and get triple creditOrder a free SIM

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

Tesco Mobile's pay as you go SIM cards are hardly something to write home about. Not all networks offer traditional pay as you go scheme, but Tesco do, along with monthly bundles. They’re both decent.

Top up with £10 or more on their Triple Credit tariff and you’ll get your credit tripled. But Tesco’s rates are quite steep, making this less impressive. And you’d get better value out of a £10 SIM only deal anyway.

Tesco also offer Rocket Packs that are monthly PAYG bundles of mins, texts and data. But these aren’t great value, especially when compared to giffgaff’s low-cost deals (get £5 free credit via our page here).

Here are Tesco's current monthly bundle options:

It’s a decent way of testing out the network, but we don’t think it’s great value in the long term. It can be a good option if you’ve failed a credit check, but otherwise we’d recommend just going on a pay monthly plan.

Order a free Tesco Mobile SIM card

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (average)


Not as cheap as:
ASDA Mobile, 1pMobile

Similar to:

Tesco Mobile customer service

Customer service: Tesco Mobile are consistently good

Latest Ofcom complaints data

Still the lowest complaints recordSee Tesco's awards

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

Tesco Mobile have had an excellent customer service record over the past few years and we expect that to continue. It’s simpler to get your issues resolved with them than on some other networks.

We judge a network’s customer service based on the number of complaints received by government regulator Ofcom. When someone complains to Ofcom it means their issue wasn’t resolved by their network.

It’s inevitable that some users won’t get their issues resolved on any network. But Tesco have sat at just 1 complaint per 100,000 customers for ages. That’s still impressive even if the average of other networks has come down too.

You can get help face-to-face in Tesco stores with Tesco Mobile outlets. You can also download their app to manage your account and access basic features.

Useful link: See all Tesco Mobile awards

More Tesco Mobile guides

Rating mobile networks by feature