iD Mobile deals – what you need to know
In this guide
- Who is iD Mobile?
- What does iD Mobile offer?
- Roaming on iD Mobile
- How good is iD Mobile’s network?
- What are the alternatives?
- Frequently asked questions
ID Mobile started out as the in-house mobile provider for The Carphone Warehouse, which is now part of the Currys Retail Group. Time flies, and although iD still seems pretty new to us here at Cable.co.uk, the provider has actually been around since 2014. How time flies.
Thanks to some 900+ stores around the UK, Currys – and by extension iD Mobile – is able to compete with the four main network providers (Three, Vodafone, EE and O2) in a way that no one else really can. As such it offers everything under the sun from data-only SIMs to buy-outright handsets, PAYG deals, contract phones and more. Let's take a closer look.
Who is iD Mobile?
ID Mobile was launched as a discreet mobile network provider in 2014 by The Carphone Warehouse – a company initially renamed 'Dixons Carphone' (also part of the Currys Retail Group) after the two high street electronics outlets merged, also in 2014. Since October 2021, all Carphone Warehouse branding has ceased and now all operations are done under the Currys brand name. Since its inception in 2014, iD Mobile has developed a solid reputation for value and flexibility, offering just about every kind of mobile deal you could think of. Here's what makes iD Mobile stand out.
- Data rollover – Plenty of providers offer this these days, and it works slightly differently with each provider. The concept is pretty straightforward no matter who you choose, though: data you don't use can be rolled over into a month where you do actually need it, and it’s free of charge
- Data boost – If you choose a plan with data boost, you will get a piggybank of additional data – 50GB, say – that is valid for up to 36 months, or until the data is used up. When you go over your data limit, rather than charge you extra or cut you off, iD will instead automatically have you dip into your boost amount
- Inclusive roaming – Your allowances – calls, data and texts – can be used in 50 other countries with no additional charge. To see which countries, see the roaming section further down this page
- Bill capping – Allows you to place limits on your monthly bill. In case you use up all your data, for example, bill capping will ensure your bill never exceeds a certain amount. Also very handy if you're going abroad somewhere not included in the 50 countries where roaming is free
- 30-day plans – iD Mobile offers a range of 30-day plans, where the contract rolls over every 30 days and you can leave whenever you want with no penalty. These deals do tend to be more expensive, however
- iD community – iD has a good virtual user community where you can ask questions and post any issues that may be troubling you, so you can get help or support whenever you need it
- iD app – Allows you to manage your iD Mobile account wherever and whenever you need to
What does iD Mobile offer?
You'll struggle to find anything iD Mobile doesn't currently offer. Well, not bananas and such obviously, but anything mobile-related. The vastness of its offering competes head-on with the UK's biggest providers, offering SIM only deals, a vast array of contract handsets, PAYG SIMs, new phones to buy outright or as part of a contract, refurbished phones and more. It's pretty unusual to find a moment where iD doesn't have some sort of special offer on too. Here's a bit more detail.
- Pay monthly phone deals – There is a big selection of contract phones to choose from on iD Mobile, which includes refurbished phones as well as brand new ones. You'll find handsets from Alcatel, Apple, Doro, Google, Honor, Motorola, Oppo and Samsung
- SIM-free new and refurbished phones – You can buy handsets outright from iD Mobile, both new and refurbished. Refurbished phones are factory renewed handsets that are exactly as good as new phones but will often cost you significantly less
- SIM-only deals – You'll find a wide variety of SIM-only deals on iD Mobile, if you're already happy with the phone you have
- Pay as you go SIMs – Yep, you can get free pay as you go SIMs with iD Mobile, at competitive rates
Roaming specifically refers to taking your phone abroad and is not to be confused with phoning abroad from the UK. Depending on where you are visiting, what you are charged for making calls and using data can vary wildly – anything from nothing at all in 'roam like you are home' mainly EU countries, to potentially hundreds or even thousands of pounds in more remote locales.
iD roaming offers two 'bands' of countries. In band one, you will be able to use your services at no additional cost. Countries in band one are: Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus (South), Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Réunion, Romania, Saint Barthélemy (St. Barts), Saint-Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Vatican City.
In band two, you can roam like you are home, but you can only call or text the UK, or other phones in the country you are in. Anything other will incur standard roaming charges for that country. Band two comprises only Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Macedonia. For other destinations you should check what the costs are going to be with iD Mobile prior to travelling.
How good is iD Mobile’s network?
iD Mobile doesn't actually own its own mobile network. There are only four actual network providers in the UK, and they are Three, O2, Vodafone and EE. The other dozen or so providers – many more if you include the piddly little ones – all 'piggyback' (rent capacity) off of one of these four networks. iD Mobile is on the Three network.
Three won't break any records for its 4G download speeds, but its average speed offering has been improving in recent years. It comes in second, only behind EE, and offers average download speeds of 25.2Mbps, better than Vodafone’s average of 21.6Mbps, but well behind EE’s average download speeds of 44Mbps. Your actual experience will of course vary wildly, depending on where you are and what you are doing. Three's coverage is good, but not quite as good as EE's. Three covers more than 99% of the UK population.
Frequently asked questions
What network does iD Mobile use?
iD Mobile is on the Three network, meaning it shares coverage and data speeds with Three. It is still classed as a separate provider, however, and iD Mobile SIMs will not work in Three-locked phones and vice versa.
Does iD Mobile offer Wi-Fi calling?
Yes. You can switch this option on if you are about the house in spots where mast reception is poor and your Wi-Fi signal is strong. Very handy.
Can I pay monthly for a SIM-free phone on iD Mobile?
No. You can only get a contract phone from iD Mobile with an iD Mobile SIM included, which will also be tied into the contract. You can, however, buy new handsets outright from iD Mobile, if you already have a SIM.
Which network does iD Mobile use?
iD Mobile uses Three's network, so coverage footprint is identical to Three's. Three currently covers more than 99% of the UK population.
Is iD Mobile part of Carphone Warehouse?
iD Mobile started as an in-house provider by Dixons, later Carphone Warehouse, in 2014, and now runs on its own. The company is owned by the Currys Retail Group.
Does iD Mobile offer early upgrades?
No. You will need to be entering the final month of your existing iD Mobile plan in order to qualify for a handset upgrade. You can also upgrade to a handset deal if you've been SIM-only with iD for six months or more.
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