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Is Tesco Mobile any good?

Friday, March 14th 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, the Tesco Mobile does lack an unlimited data plan, and allows neither tethering nor 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


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


  • 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 four 4G data sizes: 500MB, 1GB, 2GB, and 3GB. You can increase any of these monthly allowances in various increments up to a total allowance of 8GB for a extra cost.

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’s 4G coverage before you buy.

No nasty surprise bills

We all hate getting unexpected phone bills, but with Tesco Mobile 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 3GB, which is enough to download a moderate amount, but is far from enough for anyone planning on using their mobile internet all the time. You can bump this up to 8GB if you go with a 4G option.

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

As well as banning tethering, 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.


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 →


Tesco Mobile does offer some 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 is a solid competitor in the mobile marketplace.

Visit Tesco Mobile →

Related links

Comments (99)

Steve P
3 days ago

I have had an ongoing problem with my SIM only contract, where I have not been able to get to the 4G setting on my LG G2 handset, and have been through all the help I can with Tesco, ending with them telling me the problem lies with LG. I have now been advised by LG that the problem is that Tesco Mobile are yet to approve the LG 4G software for use on their network (the same goes for Virgin), once they approve it all will be okay, but Tesco seem to be reluctant as they do not sell this handset on their network. LG are chasing Tesco for approval regularly, but Tesco are not forthcoming. I wanted to push Tesco for this software approval, but not sure who to contact, as their online and phone support do not seem to understand! Would appreciate if someone knows who to escalate this to, do they have a contactable 'Hanset Software Approval' team ? This has all left me most disgruntled to not be able to take advantage of the 4G service on my 4G enabled phone! So until this gets resolved, I am unable to recommend Tesco Mobile.


Steve P

Graham F
4 days ago

Beware the promised coverage. I switched from Vodaphone with whom I had poor coverage to Tesco because the coverage web calculator indicated I would get a much better signal. I didn't I actually got a worse signal. Regrettably I did not complain within the 14 day period so I am stuck with them for 2 years. Despite me pointing out the poor level of signal in my l area they are still claiming the same higher level of signal availability on the web page coverage calculator. Beware !!

4 days ago

Hi Anon

Thanks for the reply ...

If you were to look back over this long thread you will see the original problem - poor signal - and then a catalogue of calls by various posters to Tesco customer service/technical support. I don't know about you but I give an organisation the benefit of the doubt once, twice, maybe three times when it comes to failure. After that I think we all decide "the games not worth the candle" and go somewhere else. Result : at least one dissatisfied customer and probably a few more who read this site and will decide not to use Tesco mobile.

Thanks again for your input ... regards


5 days ago

Hi Paul, I would have to agree with you. The customer service guys do monitor and record their calls so if you had an issue of this sort it should be fairly easy to escalate. Speaking from personal experience from working in customer service these kind of things do happen from time to time. I can only apologise that you have had issues with Tesco Mobile and if I could help further I would. The CS team is usually quite vigilant, in their defence.

5 days ago

To Mr Anon, who is a Tesco in-store employee ...

First of all, thank you for your posting ...

I realise that you must have a difficult job fending off complaints about issues that are outwith your control but if you read the message posted by Anth (9 days ago as I write this on 14 April so probably on 5 April?) entitled "RE : WDCMA or GSM (3G/2G) Call connection problems.", you will see that he had been told that someone would look into his signal problem and was assured that someone would telephone him to discuss it. Nobody rang. I call this very poor customer service and discourteous, leaving aside the technical problem that he still has. I'm afraid it just leaves a very bad impression of Tesco mobile.



5 days ago

MartinT, I work for Tesco Mobile in store, but Tesco do not monitor these kind of sites, I just came across this and decided to comment. If I could assist you I would but in store employees only have so much power. I haven't read your issues in depth but things such as signal issues are pretty much out of our control as it is O2s infrastructure, there is only so much customer service and the technical guys can do.

Nisar Ahmed
7 days ago

I don't trust this company they just charged u which one not even used

12 days ago

Good morning Paul & Anth, I think there are more than just us three unsatisfied customers when reading all the historical comments. It is also interesting to note that a comment posted on here on the 5th of March by anon is actually a tescomobile employee. I would be interested to know if tescomobile actually monitor this site, & if anon would have the decency to assist us with our issues? Kind regards Martin.

14 days ago

Hi Martin T

Thanks for the update ...

Well, with Anth, that is at least two very dissatisfied customers. I am sure that, if we could get to the right person in Tesco hierarchy and tell them what is going on, we might get some help. But how do you find the right person? After a while it is easier to look for another provider. But the legacy of the shoddy treatment by Tesco will live on.

Best wishes


14 days ago

Hi Anth

Thanks for the update ... I did wonder how you were getting on.

I am really sorry to hear your tale of woe and yes, it does make you despair. Not only is the Tesco/O2 technology not fit for purpose but they refuse to admit it and prevaricate by telling you outright lies. And I don't suppose that you are the only person to whom that has happened and will happen. They do deserve to be exposed, if for nothing else then for their discourtesy and the other behaviour which, quite frankly, insults you.

We give them the benefit of the doubt, we trust them, we believe what they tell us. And then they abuse that trust. It does make my blood boil.

Good luck with Virgin.

Best wishes


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