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Plusnet SIM only explained

By Dan Howdle | Tuesday, April 16th 2019

In this guide

  1. Why choose a Plusnet Mobile SIM only deal?
  2. Is Plusnet Mobile a good network?
  3. Data and calling features
  4. Roaming
  5. What are the best alternatives?
  6. Frequently asked questions

Plusnet is best known as a broadband provider and for that guy on the adverts who promises to "do you proud". But it also has a range of 30-day and 12-month SIM only deals, often giving away Plusnet Reward Cards or doubling up the data on selected tariffs.

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t offer handsets, so you will need to get yourself a phone from somewhere else to team with your Plusnet SIM. Unless of course you’re happy with the phone you’ve already got – in which case, good for you.

Why choose a Plusnet Mobile SIM only deal?

So Plusnet Mobile does SIM-only deals, but what makes it stand out from the crowd. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons to choose Plusnet as your SIM-only mobile provider.

  • Smart Cap – Plusnet Mobile’s Smart Cap allows you to set a limit for the amount you spend on out-of-plan charges each month. You can set it between £0 and £30. Chargeable services include premium rate phone calls, picture messages and data used once you’ve used up your allowance.
  • Bolt-ons – If you run out of data, calls or texts during the month, you can add a bolt-on to help get you through to the end of the month. You can set them up with a simple text and they last until your plan refresh date.
  • UK-based customer service – Plusnet is very proud of its customer service and the provider has won plenty of awards for the work of its UK-based call centres. As well as being able to phone Plusnet, you contact the provider via live chat on its website or over social media.
  • Mates Rates for Plusnet broadband customers – Plusnet Mobile’s prices are pretty competitive anyway, but the provider saves its very best deals for its existing broadband customers. SIM-only plans often come with more data
  • Plusnet Reward Cards – Plusnet often gives away Reward Cards with its SIM-only deals. These are pre-paid Mastercards that you can use to buy pretty much anything you want from the high street or online.

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Is Plusnet Mobile a good network?

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t operate its own network. Instead it uses the EE network to offer its services. This is hardly surprising when you realise both companies are owned by BT.

There are only four mobile networks operating in the UK – EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three. Mobile providers such as Plusnet that piggyback on other networks are known as MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators).

The EE network is the fastest and most widely available in the UK. It is available to 99.6% of the UK population and covers 90% of the UK landmass, although EE has an ambition to reach 95% landmass by 2020.

Opensignal analysis found that EE’s network was available to users of the Opensignal app 86% of the time – putting it ahead of O2, Vodafone and Three.

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Data and calling features

Mobile providers like to shout about certain features but sometimes leave you scrambling around in the depths of their terms and conditions to find out about others. Well don’t worry, we’ve done the scrambling for you, so let’s see what Plusnet offers on the following subjects.

  • 4G data speedAnalysis by Opensignal shows EE to have faster 4G download speeds than its rivals, with the operator scoring an average of 29Mps.
  • Data rollover – Plusnet doesn’t offer data rollover, a feature introduced by some providers that lets you keep your unused data and use it the following month.
  • Tethering – Plusnet Mobile does allow you to tether your phone to other devices, effectively using it as a wifi hotspot. Any data you use doing this will come out of your monthly allowance or data bolt-on.
  • Wifi calling – Plusnet Mobile doesn’t currently offer wifi calling, a technology that allows you to make calls over a wifi connection when you don’t have a 3G or 4G connection.
  • Data gifting – Plusnet Mobile doesn’t have any facility for you to gift data to other Plusnet Mobile users, unlike its hosting network operator EE.
  • Data caps – Plusnet offers a Smart Cap that prevents you from going over your data allowance. And there are data bolt-ons available if you run out of data before the end of the month.

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Roaming on Plusnet Mobile

All Plusnet Mobile plans come with the Roam Like at Home feature, which allows you to use your monthly data, calls and texts allowance in more than 40 destinations across Europe and beyond.

An automatic data cap of €50 or £40 applies for any data used while you’re outside the UK, but if you’ve got a Smart Cap set it’ll be for less than this amount so that will kick in first. Because you’re using your plan just as you would in the UK, if you run out of data you can buy a bolt-on just as you would at home.

Plusnet’s Roam Like at Home destinations are Åland Islands, Andorra, Anguila, Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Reunion, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St Barthélemy, St Martin, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.

Which providers offer good alternatives?

Plusnet Mobile isn’t the only provider offering SIM-only deals so if you’re not completely sold then it might be worth checking out the alternatives.

  • ASDA Mobile – Like Plusnet Mobile, Asda Mobile runs on the EE network and only offers SIM-only deals, not handsets. Asda’s are 30-day pay as you go bundles that you can set to recur monthly.
  • BT Mobile – Plusnet’s parent company BT has a mobile offering that also uses the EE network. BT gives away reward cards with many of its SIM deals and offers discounts for those taking more than one SIM.
  • EE – EE SIM-only customers get free Apple Music for six months and free access to the BT Sport app for three months. EE also offers data caps so you can control your spending.
  • giffgaff – giffgaff operates on the O2 network and offers no-contract SIM-only deals as well as unlocked phones and pre-owned handsets.
  • iD Mobile – iD Mobile, which runs on the Three network, offers a range of 30-day rolling SIM-only deals that all include data rollover and the option to cap you bill.
  • O2 – O2 has a range of pay monthly SIMs and classic pay as you go SIMs with no bundles to worry about, as well as SIMs for your dongle, iPad and other tablets.
  • Sky Mobile – Sky Mobile, which uses the O2 network, lets you keep your unused data for up to three years and share it between up to five SIMs on the same account.
  • SMARTY – Smarty, which is owned by Three and uses its mobile network, gives you money for your unused data and lets you change your plan monthly.
  • Tesco Mobile – Tesco Mobile runs on the O2 network and has a range of SIM-only deals. As this is Tesco, you earn Clubcard points for every £1 you spend.
  • Three – Three has SIM-only deals that come with free data to stream Netflix and Spotify, and allows you to roam around the world in 71 destinations.
  • Virgin Mobile – Virgin Mobile, which uses the EE network, has a data rollover feature as well as spending caps and flexible plans you can change each month. And you can roam like home in 43 destinations.
  • Vodafone – Some of Vodafone’s pay monthly SIM plans include 500 minutes to call abroad, roaming in 77 destinations and your choice of entertainment subscription.

Frequently asked questions

Will Plusnet Mobile let me keep my old phone number?

Yes, but as with any provider there’s a couple of things you’ll need to do. First, call your old provider and ask them for a PAC code. You then need to call Plusnet or text PORT to 07507 307 996 from your new Plusnet SIM. You’ll be sent a text, which you’ll need to reply to with two things – the number you want to keep and your PAC code. It should only take 1-2 working days for Plusnet to transfer your number.

Does Plusnet sell mobile phones?

No, Plusnet Mobile doesn’t sell handsets. It only offers SIM-only plans.

Does my phone need to be unlocked to use Plusnet Mobile?

More often than not phones are ‘locked’ to the providers that supply them, so the answer is probably yes. If that’s the case, you’ll need to ask your old provider to unlock your handset for you in order for a Plusnet SIM to work.

Does Plusnet do mobile broadband?

Plusnet does not offer mobile broadband. It offers both ADSL and fibre broadband deals as well as SIM-only mobile plans.

Can I cancel Plusnet Mobile early?

If you’re within your 14-day cooling off period you can leave Plusnet without paying a cancellation fee. After this point, you’ll need to give Plusnet 30 days’ notice of your intention to cancel. And if you’re still in the minimum term of your contract then you’ll probably have to pay a cancellation fee.

What benefits are there for Plusnet broadband customers joining Plusnet Mobile?

Plusnet broadband customers signing up to Plusnet Mobile are eligible for Mates Rates. This gives you extra data or discounted prices on selected plans.

Are calls to other Plusnet mobiles free?

Calls to all UK mobile numbers are included in your monthly allowance, as calls to your Plusnet Mobile voicemail.

Does BT own Plusnet?

Yes, BT acquired Plusnet in 2007 in a deal worth roughly £67 million. In 2016, Plusnet acquired mobile provider LIFE Mobile as part of BT’s takeover of EE. LIFE Mobile was then re-branded as Plusnet Mobile.

Want to learn more about mobile?

Our mobile guides contain a wealth of information on just about every aspect of current mobile packages.

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