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Is Tesco Mobile any good?

Friday, July 18th 2014

Tesco Mobile was the first supermarket to enter the mobile marketplace. It has an opt-in capping option to help prevent your bills getting too far out of control, and has just introduced 4G bundles.

However, Tesco Mobile deals lack an unlimited data plan, and does not allow Voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls. That's the long and short of it, but the devil is in the detail, so let's take a closer look.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • 4G at no extra cost
  • No nasty surprise bills
  • Clubcard points

Cons

  • Restrictive data allowances
  • No unlimited plans
  • No VoIP or continuous streaming

What we like

4G at no extra cost

If you have a 4G-ready phone, you can now use 4G on Tesco Mobile for no extra cost. With 4G, you can download information like maps, videos, music, and photographs far more quickly than you can on 3G. Tesco Mobile offers SIM-only options in several 4G data sizes, from 500MB up to a massive 8GB.

As a mobile virtual network operator, Tesco Mobile uses O2’s 4G network, so won’t be readily accessible to everyone until O2 finishes its rollout across the UK. If you've got a 4G phone we recommend checking Tesco Mobile coverage before you buy.

No nasty surprise bills

We all hate getting unexpected phone bills, but with Tesco Mobile phones you can reduce the chance of such shocks. You can sign up to the capped service, which lets you limit the amount of calls, text, and data that you can make on your mobile. This prevents you from accidentally going over the limit and incurring additional fees – some of which can add up to quite a significant amount.

These opt-in caps are different from the various tariff limits, which will simply charge you more if you exceed certain levels of usage.

Clubcard points

If you are a Tesco Clubcard member you can start racking up points as soon as you start using the mobile service. The Tesco Mobile website allows you to link your mobile account to your Clubcard account, and on a Pay Monthly contract you get triple points.

What we don’t like

Restrictive data allowances

Every Tesco Mobile tariff has some level of data cap, so you’ll always be limited in what you do online, even if you sign up for 4G. The highest data limit on Pay Monthly is 8GB, which is enough to download quite a lot of data - but still isn't unlimited. If you want to stream HD video content to your mobile on a daily basis you're bound to come up against your allowance wall sooner rather than later.

No unlimited plans

We’ve already mentioned the restrictive data allowances, but the same applies for texts and calls. On Tesco Mobile there aren’t any unlimited plans; that means you can go over your monthly minutes and texts allowances, resulting in per minute (and per text) charges that could add up to a large bill, assuming you haven’t set a cap beforehand.

No VoIP or continuous streaming

Tesco Mobile does not allow continuous streaming of audio and video, or use of Voice of Internet Protocol software such as Skype or Vonage. Tesco forbids or severely restricts these practices and might disconnect you from the network if you get caught out. This doesn't apply to streaming the occasional video, such as through Youtube – only to long, unbroken periods of streaming.

Coverage

You can check Tesco Mobile’s coverage, and see if you’re in the right area to receive 2G, 3G or 4G, by following the link to Tesco’s own coverage checker below.

Check Tesco Mobile coverage →

Summary

A Tesco Mobile contract offers nice little benefits for those looking to take out a mobile service from a leading supermarket. The opt-in capping option is great and could potentially save you a fortune in sudden bills, and the new 4G bundles bring it in line with many of the bigger names out there.

However, the lack of unlimited plans is disappointing and seems a bit archaic when you consider that a 4G connection will give you super speeds that you won’t be able to do a whole lot with on a limited contract. Nevertheless, Tesco Mobile phone deals are a solid competitor in the mobile marketplace.

Visit Tesco Mobile →

Related links

Comments (123)

KEVIN HUTCHINSON
15 hours ago

PORTING OLD NUMBER ISN'T EASY. Swapped my pay monthly service from 02 to Tesco because it was a much better deal. The Tesco sales staff were great. The problems started when I tried to port my old number from 02 to Tesco. I was promised on 3 separate occasions by the Tesco staff that they had arranged my change over for a certain day - I even received text messages to confirm - yet it never happened. In fact I am writing this still waiting for it to happen - On the third occasion I was told the change over would be the next day - and it is now the day after the next day! Tesco definitely have problems in this department. I have never experienced this problem with any network before and I start my new contract with serious doubt!

Gracem
2 days ago

Stay away from Tesco mobile! My husband and I had constant various problems with them. and same with 2 other people from my work place! You call them, all they do is put you from one department to another, and no one knows what they’re doing. They, took £100 off me and it took them 3 months to returned it. They will promise you that the problem you called for will be definitely fixed and weeks later it’s still not! It’s outrageous service! The worse one was when my iPhone’s battery died after 14 months, while I was on a 2 year contract with them and they claimed that the phone is only covered for 12 months. I told them that by EU statutory law all the apple products are covered for 2 years their statement to me was “we over rule the EU law with UK law”. Absolute shambles! Watch out people!! I had to report them to Ombudsmen.

Martin
3 days ago

Just been in touch with someone live about running out of minutes (Veer) very helpful gave us some extra minutes free until New month starts.

Lorna wilson
12 days ago

Pros :Limited bills are great - excellent for teenagers and your bill is always what it should be. also being able to restrict certain telephone numbers is good

Cons However after care is horrific .if you have a fault with an iPhone and tiny cosmetic damage on the phone tescos stance is that it invalidates the manufacturers warranty and will not even evaluate the fault.i pointed out I was claiming against the sales of good act as I pay tesco not Apple .apparently sales of good act doesn't apply to tesco .i believe the company policy is to examine the phone to find the most minor wear and tear issue ( and completely independent of the fault) to quote this mantra. I have NEVER come across such poor customer care before.or a company ignoring consumer law. Apple are replacing the phone not tesco and the law states it should be tesco as I have the contract with them. I will not be moving to tesco when my O2 contract runs out in April . Avoid tesco at all costs

Josh
15 days ago

If you are looking at a payg tariff they do offer Tesco lite which costs just 8p a min and 4p a text you can opt in on 282. If you are a new customer you may have to wait 30 days to change this tariff as you will automatically be signed up to the triple credit, however you use your free credit first so as long as you don't go into your top up credit you will be able to use your initial top up :)

Michael
18th July 2014

I have just had a twitter conversation with Tesco mobile who said it was fine to use allowance for Skype, and music streaming/video. Very confusing considering the ts and cs

7th July 2014

Hi John

Thanks for your comment. Tesco's tethering policy has recently changed so we've now updated the guide accordingly.

Hannah - Cable.co.uk

JOHN C
7th July 2014

I have Tesco mobile on pay as you go. I tether to my Nexus 7 and I use Skype. Your article is wrong

Martin
27th June 2014

Tesco Mobile are a dysfunctional provider to be avoided at all costs! They tell me I can only buy a limited amount of data on PAYG. They tell me it's because they're cheap so they ration the service. The b****rs should make this clear before a customer buys a phone from then. Bread and milk are popular too - perhaps they'll start to ration those shortly.

Michael
26th June 2014

Hi Luke

Don't see this being a problem. Transcript on it's way to your inbox :)

Michael

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