Talkmobile review 2023: Is it any good?

Dan Howdle | August 29th, 2023

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Founded in 2007, you may or may not have heard of Talkmobile – not to be confused with the now-defunct TalkTalk Mobile. Once upon a time it was run by Carphone Warehouse, but was sold to Vodafone in 2011, where it now sits as one of its sub-brands, offering primarily value for money SIM-only deals that operate on the Vodafone network.

As Talkmobile itself states on its own site, it's not afraid of the word 'cheap'. Where other budget SIM providers tend to dance carefully around that word for fear of being associated with terms that usually accompany it such as low quality or flimsy, Talkmobile embraces it.

Tariffs & plans

Cheap is what Talkmobile does, and it's proud of that fact. And since it operates on Vodafone's network, you're likely to run into no fewer or greater problems with a Talkmobile SIM as you might with a Vodafone SIM, despite what's often a marked difference in pricing.

Rather than offer a raft of the latest handsets, Talkmobile does offer what calls 'upgrade offers'. If you have a contract SIM with Talkmobile, you can 'upgrade' to include a handset too. However the handsets on offer in this scheme won't add a lot to your monthly bill. Keeping the theme of 'cheap', Talkmobile is achieving this by offering older, and lower-tier handsets exclusively such as the 2020 iPhone SE or the Galaxy A13. We'll put minimal focus on Talkmobile's handsets in this review as it isn't really what the provider is known for. They're there though – they do exist.

Another of Talkmobile's many strengths – and yes, it wouldn't be too spoilery at this point in the review to let slip we like this provider – is the simplicity of its range of SIM deals. You have two flavours of contract; either 30-day (allowing you to cancel anytime you like, and you pay a bit more for the privilege), or on a 12-month contract (where you pay a little less in exchange for the longer commitment.

You won't find exactly the same SIMs across these two contract types, but they are mostly the same, and more importantly there aren't a bajillion of them. Here are the SIMs on offer from Talkmobile at the time of writing:

Talkmobile SIM 30-day contract SIMs 12-month contract SIMs Minutes Texts
2GB Yes No Unlimited Unlimited
6GB No Yes Unlimited Unlimited
20GB No Yes Unlimited Unlimited
30GB Yes No Unlimited Unlimited
50GB No Yes Unlimited Unlimited
70GB Yes Yes Unlimited Unlimited
100GB Yes Yes Unlimited Unlimited
120GB No Yes Unlimited Unlimited
200GB Yes No Unlimited Unlimited
250GB No Yes Unlimited Unlimited

Talkmobile SIMs will all use the Vodafone network's 5G capability if you're somewhere it's available, and it won't charge you any extra for the privilege. As you can see, all Talkmobile SIMs come with unlimited minutes and texts, but the usual restrictions apply – you won't get free calls on premium numbers (for example Britain's Got Talent voting lines etc.), and you'll be charged for sending pictures with your text messages, so do what everyone else does and use WhatsApp for that.

See Talkmobile deals

Phone & device range

Talkmobile doesn't outright offer mobile handset deals. You have to be a customer fist, and then you cn 'upgrade' from your SIM deal to a handset and SIM deal. Like Talkmobile's wider SIM offering, what you'll find with these 'upgrades' is they're cheap (or value for money, take your pick). You won't find any of the latest handsets – that's really just not something Talkmobile is interested in doing. It wants to give you a lot for very little, and while the iPhone 14 and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (for example) offer a lot, it's a lot for a lot.

Customer service

Providers have a terrible time on third-party customer rating sites like Trustpilot, broadly speaking. People feel the need to go and write a positive review when the goods or services they've bought are working as they should. No, rather, people tend to go write a negative review when something goes wrong. And it's for this reason you'll see providers we know to have high customer satisfaction ratings (BT or Virgin Media for example), with terribly low Trustpilot ratings.

It's impressive then that Talkmobile has an overall 4.6 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot at the time of writing. That's a lot of happy customers. So happy in fact, many, many felt the desire to go out of their way to give Talkmobile a positive write-up. High praise indeed.

If you do have a problem or issue with your Talkmobile SIM, you can call Talkmobile on 5888 from your Talkmobile Phone (calls are free), or on 0333 304 8064 from any other phone (charges may vary). Helplines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday 9am to 6pm, and Sunday 10am to 5pm.

Value for money

Talkmobile would prefer we said cheap. It's funny like that – cheap SIMs are its bread and butter and it makes no bones about that. But since you gt a pretty standard SIM on the Vodafone network for a vanishingly small monthly fee, we have to say Talkmobile has the whole value for money thing sewn up. There are maybe only one or two other providers who can even hope to match Talkmobile's low prices. In a league of its own – almost.

You will need to judge the data you need carefully to get the most out of your Talkmobile SIM (while paying the least) though. Because unlike some competitors (who are quite a bit more expensive in the main), you won't get any data rollover. What you don't use each month is lost. Just something to consider.

Roaming isn't free

If you go abroad a lot, consider carefully before choosing Talkmobile. In keeping its SIMs very cheap, you won't get any allowances for texts, data or calls while abroad. You can buy an add-on for international roaming in some countries that allows you to do this, but otherwise beware of hefty charges if you leave your phone's roaming setting to on.

See Talkmobile deals

Network coverage

Talkmobile is what's know as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) – meaning it doesn't actually own or maintain its own network, but uses that of a more established provider, in this case Vodafone. That means rock solid 4G coverage, with well over 99% of the UK population being able to access it. And of course Vodafone's 5G network is growing all the time. All Talkmobile SIM-only deals will give you access to 5G services, but don't forget that's also handset-dependent.

According to Ofcom's latest customer satisfaction figures Vodafone scored roughly average, by most measures of customer satisfaction, with an 86% overall satisfaction score. Although 17% of users (compared to a 12% average across all providers) felt they had any cause for complaint.

Our verdict: Very good

Talkmobile offers cheap, no-frills SIMs, along with easy upgrade options to some cheap and cheerful handsets. What is does, it does well, and we're hardly surprised corners have been cut when it comes to features (such as international roaming use) – that's what keeps the cost low.

A Talkmobile SIM is perfect for the sort of person who just needs a simpel, straightforward SIM deal that costs them as little as possible. Those needing more advanced features and a plethora of extras, or indeed unlimited data, which Talkmobile does not yet offer, might want to look elsewhere.

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