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Plusnet Mobile review 2022

By Aaron Howdle | Wednesday, July 13th 2022

Plusnet Mobile

Plusnet Mobile came onto the scene in 2016, as an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) running on the EE network. It is a SIM-only provider, aiming to provide straightforward, affordable plans, and it also offers rewards to customers who use Plusnet TV, broadband or home phone services.

Plusnet started up in 2000 and was bought by BT in 2007. The company still presents itself as a “friendly, no-nonsense, award-winning communications provider”, which is proud of its northern roots, and likes to give back to the community.

It is a former sponsor of Sheffield Wednesday football club and works with Sheffield Children's Hospital. All good stuff, but let's see how Plusnet measures up as a mobile provider.

Tariffs and plans

Plusnet Mobile has a simple range of SIM-only plans, with Data Allowances ranging from 1GB to 50GB. There is no unlimited data plan available, which is a little unusual these days. Plusnet only offers 4G coverage, so there is no 5G available either. Plans come with a range of minutes and texts included, rather than simply offering the unlimited minutes and texts which are so common these days. All plans are on a 30-day rolling contract, so you can leave when you like. Plusnet rewards its existing broadband, TV and phone customers, with double (or more) mobile data, plus double or unlimited minutes and texts, compared to its standard SIM plans. Plusnet calls this Mates Rates.

Customers wishing to take advantage of Mates Rates must sign up to Plusnet Broadband at least 24 hours before joining Plusnet Mobile.

Roam Like at Home is included in all Plusnet Mobile plans, allowing customers to use their minutes, data and texts in EU countries at no extra cost. This is a nice bonus, since some other providers have applied a daily roaming charge since Britain’s exit from the EU. But beware: if you use up all your minutes or data while abroad, the out-of-plan calls and data can be expensive.

You can play it safe by capping out-of-plan charges with Plusnet Mobile's Smartcap, which sets an upper limit on your bill. This is a good idea when at home or abroad. Out-of-plan charges like MMS (picture messaging) can really add up, so this is a useful feature for those on a budget, or a parent who pays their child's mobile bill.

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Phone and device range

Plusnet Mobile doesn't sell phones, or offer contracts with handsets. As a SIM-only provider, its target audience is people who already own a handset, or have bought a new one in advance. Remember, your current handset may need to be unlocked if you were previously with another provider (check with your old provider to find out).

The SIMs provided by Plusnet Mobile are of the 3-in-1 variety. They have perforations, allowing the correct-sized SIM to be punched out and fit any phone.

Customer service

According to the Plusnet Mobile website, its Support Team is available by phone 8am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 7pm on Saturdays and 9am to 6pm on Sundays. This is in line with a lot of bigger providers and better than some of the budget competition who have no call centre at all.. Customer service can also be contacted via online chat, and there is a FAQ section on the website where answers to common questions can be found.

Ofcom doesn't have figures on the quality of Plusnet Mobile's customer service. However there are 2020 Ofcom figures for Plusnet Broadband. Plusnet broadband received an overall satisfaction rating of 93% which was the highest score in this category. (The service experienced by broadband customers may differ from the experience of mobile customers, so take this with a pinch of salt.)

Customers of EE mobile (which provides the network for Plusnet Mobile) expressed 93% satisfaction with its service, which is in line with the industry average.

Value for money

Unless you are already a Plusnet Broadband customer, the value for money represented by Plusnet Mobile's SIM plans isn't particularly attractive. Data allowances in particular can feel ungenerous when compared with other providers. The situation improves considerably for Plusnet Broadband customers, who can take advantage of its Mates Rates deals, which on all but their cheapest bundles have unlimited texts and minutes, and at least twice as much data.

Mates Rates seems intended to reward customer loyalty, and encourages new customers towards Plusnet Broadband as well. If its basic SIM-only plans were more attractive, perhaps the double data and unlimited calls of Mates Rates would seem a fair reward for customer loyalty. However because the basic plans are not particularly great, the contrast between the two tiers starts to feel like a penalty against new customers.

When comparing Plusnet Mobile's plans to other providers, the 50GB data offered in its most expensive plan seems pretty mean, since for an extra fiver you can have unlimited data with other providers. Even Mates Rates customers who receive double are getting less data than is offered by the competition.

Network coverage

EE provides the network infrastructure for Plusnet Mobile, so coverage is good, especially when it comes to 4G. Plusnet Mobile's website states that "We cover 99% of the UK population". Other findings from Ofcom show 84% of customers are satisfied by the mobile reception provided by EE, which is better than the industry average of 83%

The EE network covers most of the country

It's always important to check your local coverage before signing up to anything, especially if you live in a rural or remote area, where Ofcom figures suggest there is a 4% drop in customer satisfaction with mobile coverage. You can check your area on the Plusnet Mobile coverage checker, or you can take a look at the Ofcom coverage checker.

Bear in mind that coverage may be generally good in your area, but mobile signals can be blocked by tall buildings or landscape features. To be certain, you could invite a friend with Plusnet Mobile or EE to your home, and see what their reception is like. This advice applies to all mobile providers.

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Plusnet Mobile has the heritage of a local company with strong roots in the community. However, despite its image as a good-value provider, the SIM-only deals it offers lack decent data allowances. Much of Plusnet's competition will give you a better deal on data. This is less of a problem for Plusnet Broadband customers, who can get a much better deal. The Smartcap feature could also be useful in controlling your spending. It is worth adding, that the lack of 5G may also put some people off.

However, the service's much-vaunted flexibility can be an advantage for many though it is no longer a unique offering. Roam Like at Home is a useful feature and compares favourably to other providers. If you find the amount of data you use varies, then the ability to change your plan month by month could be useful; though if you have data hungry teenagers, there is really nothing to recommend Plusnet over comparable providers such as Smarty and iD Mobile, which offer unlimited data. Overall, Plusnet Mobile’s offering is a little behind the times.

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