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Asda Mobile vs Tesco Mobile

Thursday, November 16th 2017

If you like the idea of a one-stop shop, supermarket brands could be just the ticket. The UK’s two biggest supermarkets – Asda and Tesco – offer a range of mobile phone options. But how do you choose between them?

The mobile services seem similar on the surface, but there are some distinct differences once you delve into the details. We pit the two rivals against one another on key issues like cost, coverage, tariffs and handsets.

At a glance

As competing supermarket chains, Asda and Tesco make for an interesting comparison, not least because their mobile services are carried on different networks. Tesco offers more options at a slightly higher price, but Asda has the edge on coverage and cost.

3G coverage 98% of UK households 98% of UK households
4G coverage 97% of UK households 99% of UK households
Network carrier O2 EE
Data allowance 100MB - 30GB 200MB - 8GB
Pay as you go
Pay monthly
SIM-only
Handsets 40+ 0
Prices from £6 per month £5 per month
See deals → See deals →
Tesco Mobile
3G coverage
98%
4G coverage
Selected cities
Network carrier
O2
Data allowance
100MB - 30GB per month
Pay as you go
  •  
Pay monthly
  •  
SIM-only
  •  
Handsets
40+
Prices from
£6 per month
Asda
3G coverage
98%
4G coverage
Not available
Network carrier
EE
Data allowance
200MB - 8GB per month
Pay as you go
  •  
Pay monthly
  •  
SIM-only
  •  
Handsets
0
Prices from
£5 per month

Plans

Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile has a comprehensive offering, with a range of PAYG, pay monthly and SIM-only deals to suit every budget. You can pay as you go in the traditional way or buy a bundle of calls, texts or data from your top-up credit to use throughout the month.

Tesco Mobile’s pay monthly tariffs include 5,000 texts as standard, with data caps varying from zero to 8GB per month, plus 250 to 3,000 inclusive minutes on 30-day, 12-month or 18-month contracts.

Asda Mobile

Asda Mobile only offers pay-as-you-go and SIM-only deals, so those looking for a pay monthly plan with a subsidised handset will need to look elsewhere. You'll have to buy a new phone or use an old or second-hand model, providing it is unlocked and able to accept Asda SIM cards. Sign-up is simple and no credit check is required.

Price

Tesco Mobile

At Tesco Mobile, PAYG top-ups start from £10, and SIM-only plans from £6 per month. The flexibility of a one-month contract comes at a price, costing a few pounds more each month than identical plans on a 12-month contracts.

Asda Mobile

Asda's bundle prices start from £5 and top out at £20 for inclusive calls, texts and 8GB of data. Asda doesn’t offer longer term pay monthly plans - all its plans are for 30 days – but it does offer a cheaper rate on PAYG packages compared to Tesco.

Data speed

Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile uses O2's 4G mobile network, which is widely avaiable across the UK. Where 4G is not available, customers will automatically connect to 3G.

Asda Mobile

Asda runs on EE’s network and its average 4G speed is 33Mbps. Bear in mind that the speed you receive will always be dependent on your location.

Coverage

Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile uses the O2 network, which offers wide coverage across the UK on both its 3G and 4G networks.

Asda Mobile

In October 2013, Asda switched its network from Vodafone to EE, resulting in improved signal strength for customers. EE operates the largest and fastest 4G network in the country.

Customer service

Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile has always maintained a good standard when it comes to customer service and has previously won awards for best mobile provider.

A consumer-focused move that must have helped achieve this recognition is Tesco Mobile’s ‘Tariff Promise’, which means customers who join the network can rest assured that tariff prices will remain fixed during the life of their contract.

Asda Mobile

Asda Mobile was doing pretty well on the customer service front. In previous years it won Which? magazine’s award for best pay-as-you-go mobile for three consecutive years, with customers praising it for good service and swiftly resolving problems.

Handsets

Asda Mobile is a PAYG-only network, so if you want to buy a new handset to accompany your SIM card, you’ll have to buy a separate phone from elsewhere. Tesco Mobile operates differently, offering a wide choice of handsets, including the latest iPhones, to buy outright and use on PAYG or SIM-only, or pay off monthly on a 24-month contract.

Extra features

Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile offers a few bonus features, particularly earning Tesco Clubcard points for every £1 you spend on top-up or monthly bill.

Another nice function is ‘Anytime Upgrade’, which allows you to pay off your usage bill (for your texts, calls and data) and handset bill (the cost of your phone) separately at different rates. The advantage is that you can upgrade your handset as soon as you’ve cleared this bill, or enjoy a reduced monthly cost if you don’t want to upgrade.

Asda Mobile

Like the supermarket’s Smart Price range, Asda Mobile is focused on offering a basic service for a budget price, so it doesn't offer any extra perks or freebies. Although it does often have good offers on data allowances throughout the year – especially at Christmas – so it's worth keeping an eye on it.

Conclusion

The supermarket price war continues in the mobile phone market, with Asda and Tesco battling it out with budget prices to win our custom. Tesco Mobile offers a better deal overall, with more choice of handsets, award-winning service, a variety of tariffs and some useful extra features.

However, Asda Mobile now offers wider coverage since joining the EE 4G network, and boasts a nice collection of budget SIM-only bundles, so it is still a good option for those who don’t want to commit to a long contract.

Visit Tesco Mobile →

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