Is Tesco Mobile any good?
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.
Pros and cons
What we like
4G at no extra cost
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 SIM-only deals offer a range of 4G data allowances, 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 - so we recommend you use the Tesco Mobile coverage checker 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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