Dan Howdle | July 13th, 2022
iD Mobile was launched by Dixons Carphone (now Currys PLC) in 2014 with a promise to solve common frustrations with other mobile operators by offering cheap, flexible 4G and 5G services on the Three network. It is now owned by Curry's Group.
It has since developed a reputation for value and flexibility, offering a range of pay monthly, SIM-only and pay-as-you-go tariffs. Powered by the resources and reach of its parent company, iD is now one of the most influential mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in the UK, offering a genuine alternative to the big four operators. But is iD Mobile right for you?
iD Mobile offers a range of pay monthly phone deals and well-priced SIM-only plans. Data allowances start from 4GB and go up to deals with unlimited data. All deals come with unlimited texts and minutes.
Most pay monthly deals with a handset will tie you down to a 24-month contract, but the SIM-only deals are available both on one-month, 12-month, or 24-month contracts, offering flexibility to those that want it. Of the three, the 12-month plans offer the best value, with more data for the same or less money.
All iD plans come with data rollover, which means that if you have any unused allowance at the end of the month, you can use it in the following month. This data is used up first and you have the entire month to consume it all. Additionally, you can also set a cap on your monthly spend, so there’s no prospect of bill shock if you go above your allowance.
If you want a new phone, then iD has a wide range of handsets on offer, including devices from the major manufacturers. Customers looking for the latest handsets from Apple or Samsung will be pleased to find the Apple iPhone 13 Pro range and Samsung S22 available. There are also older Apple and Samsung models on offer, along with devices from Google, Huawei, Sony, Nokia, Honor, Motorola, Oppo and Xioami. Budget options from Doro and Alcatel mean that every taste and budget is catered for.
All handsets come with a choice of two upfront costs so you can choose to pay off more of your handset upfront if you wish, or pay more every month. Older handsets come with lower upfront costs and some without an upfront cost at all.
iD does offer customers the opportunity to buy a new handset outright if you'd prefer. There is also no option to pay off your handset early and upgrade to a new one, so you are committed to iD for 24 months if you take out a new pay monthly phone deal.
iD Mobile has a live online chat service running between 9am and 8pm during the week and between 9am and 6pm on weekends and bank holidays. Unlike most mobile providers, there is no call centre to deal with any problems, though there is an automated call service for checking allowances and paying bills. However, iD does have an active online community of over 40,000 members where you can ask questions and resolve issues. There is also a database of frequently asked questions on the provider’s website which may provide you with a solution.
iD Mobile is not covered by regulator Ofcom’s regular complaints bulletins, although in Ofcom’s most recent survey into customer satisfaction, host network Three had an above-average number of customers with a reason to complain and also ranked lowest when it came to customer satisfaction with the service overall, with 89% compared to the industry average of 93%.
Online reviews should always be taken with a healthy dose of scepticism because people tend to report negative experiences more frequently than positive, but iD Mobile currently has a rating of 3.9 out of 5 on TrustPilot, which compares favourably against Three with 1.8 and EE with 2. The main complaints about iD tend to be with customer service issues.
In terms of base cost, iD Mobile is excellent value for money as it has some of the cheapest SIM-only plans in the UK. Its handset deals may not offer the same level of freedom because of the 24-month minimum term, but the monthly cost compares favourably with the competition. Handset deals are also subject to possible price changes, in line with the Retail Price Index during your contract.
But iD Mobile’s ‘no-frills’ attitude does mean its plans are comparatively spartan. There’s no loyalty app, streaming offers or free content to sweeten the deal, so when you’re comparing an iD tariff to one from another network it’s important to remember what you might be giving up.
Inclusive roaming is available with iD in 50 countries: across the EU and a few bonus countries beyond, including Martinique, Kazakhstan and Belarus. Unlike some of its competitors, iD Mobile have not added additional charges for EU roaming.
iD Mobile uses Three’s mobile infrastructure to power its network, so you’ll benefit from all the investment made in recent years. Three’s 3G and 4G networks cover 99% of the UK population and the operator has been rolling out extra spectrum over the past few years to spread coverage, especially indoors.
Three is also now rolling out its 5G network, which it claims will be the fastest in the UK, but coverage is still limited mostly to towns and cities. However, iD does offer 5G-ready SIM-deals and handsets so if you are in a 5G area, you can take advantage.
Three is the UK's fastest 5G network according to the most recent data available from Ookla.
iD Mobile does offer 4G calling if you have a compatible handset. 4G Calling offers superior call quality, uses less battery life and can make it easier to make and receive calls indoors because 4G networks use low-level, high-range spectrum that can penetrate buildings and walls far more easily.
If you’re looking for a cheap contract, then there are few better places to go than iD Mobile. Its SIM-only deals offer good value, but to get the most for your money you’ll need to commit to a 12-month contract. The one-month deals offer flexibility however, and there is also plenty of choice when it comes to both handsets. Just bear in mind that Three doesn’t fare as well when it comes to coverage and signal compared to the other networks.