Tesco Mobile review 2016
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 there are no unlimited minutes or texts either. That's the long and short of it, but the devil is in the detail, so let's take a closer look.
Is Tesco Mobile any good?
Pros and cons
- Roaming at no extra cost
- No nasty surprise bills
- Clubcard points
- Restrictive data allowances
- No unlimited plans
- 4G isn't available everywhere
What we like
No extra charge for roaming
Like Three's Feel at Home, Tesco Mobile are allowing its pay monthly and pay-as-you-go customers to roam for free in 31 countries with its Home From Home boost. In other words, you can use your UK allowance including data while you're abroad without having to pay any roaming charges.
You can roam for free in a variety of countries including Spain (including the Canary Islands), Sweden, Greece, France and Italy. For a full list visit the Tesco Mobile website. However, bear in mind that Home From Home is only available until 3 September 2016 – ideal for the summer holidays.
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.
If you are a Tesco Clubcard member you can start racking up points as soon as you begin using the mobile service. The Tesco Mobile website allows you to link your mobile account to your Clubcard account.
You can also get a free £20 Tesco gift card on selected handset deals and a £10 gift card on a selected SIM-only deals. But you will need to hurry as this promotion is only available for a limited period.
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.
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 a pay-monthly deal is 6GB, 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.
4G isn't available everywhere
With 4G your downloads will be faster, your uploads will zoom along, and your online performance will be as smooth as a soul singer's voice. But as great as 4G is, it's only available in a few urban areas, covering approximately one third of the total UK population.
If you're outside of the range for 4G, you'll be bumped down to 3G. You'll still be able to get online, but downloads and uploads will be nowhere near as fast.
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 could potentially save you a fortune in sudden bills, and the Home From Home boost brings 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.