Tesco Mobile review 2021
By Dan Howdle | Monday, April 26th 2021
Tesco Mobile was the first supermarket to enter the mobile marketplace and has made a name for itself when it comes to choice and customer service. Going by the motto ‘every little helps’, Tesco Mobile is certainly helping customers with a range of flexible phone plans and valuable extras such as Clubcard points.
Tesco Mobile runs on the O2 network, so you know you will be getting strong mobile coverage, and it also promises no mid-contract price rises. Now well-established as a mobile provider, Tesco comfortably competes with the big mobile networks, but is it right for you? We take a look at what’s on offer.
Tariffs & plans
Tesco Mobile offers a broad range of tariffs and plans. Depending on the handset you choose, Tesco offers 12, 18, 24, 30 or 36-month contracts. You can choose to pay nothing upfront, or you can pay up to a maximum of £180 to help reduce your monthly repayments. You can pay off your handset at any point and upgrade to a new one or just go SIM-only.
With its handset deals, Tesco offers a choice of five data options, all with 5000 texts and 5000 minutes (in effect - unlimited), ranging from a modest 3GB to Unlimited.
Tesco also has a good range of SIM-only deals available on 12 or 18-month contracts. These start at 2GB with 500 minutes and 5000 texts and can go up to Unlimited with 5000 minutes and 5000 texts. The vast majority of Tesco Mobile’s SIM-only deals are available with 4G or 5G – with no extra cost for 5G.
Tesco Mobile also offers PAYG plans, which it calls No-Contract SIM deals. These plans come in the form of Rocket Packs, or bundles, ranging from 2GB of data with 500 minutes and 5000 texts, to 40GB with 5000 minutes and 5000 texts, depending how much you want to top up.
If you don’t want a bundle, you can still choose to go old-style PAYG and use your balance to pay for calls, texts and minutes as and when you use them. To do this, you will need to deactivate your Rocket Pack either via the Tesco Mobile app or by calling 282 from your handset. Texts cost 10p per message, calls cost 25p per minute and data costs 10p per MB.
Phone & device range
Tesco Mobile offers a broad choice of handsets to either buy outright along with a SIM-only deal, or on a pay monthly contract. You will find all the latest flagship phones from Apple and Samsung, along with handsets from Nokia, Motorola, Huawei, Sony, Alcatel, Doro and IMO, meaning there is something to suit everyone’s budget.
Tesco Mobile is very highly rated among its customers. The latest industry data from Ofcom showed 97% of Tesco Mobile customers were satisfied with the overall service, beating all other providers to the top spot. This is also well over the sector average of 93%.
It also fared well regarding complaints, with only 3% of customers having a reason to complain, in line with the sector average. And of those who did have a reason to complain, 59% were happy with the way the complaint was dealt with, which doesn’t sound particularly high, but is more than the sector average of 58% and higher than both Virgin Media (51%) and Vodafone (52%).
Customers also seem pretty happy with the reliability of their mobile service. Ofcom data showed 92% were satisfied with their Tesco Mobile reception, which is considerably better than the 85% stated as the average for the sector.
Tesco Mobile’s contact centre has the second shortest waiting time in the sector at just 35 seconds (just beaten by BT with 34 seconds), compared to the industry average of 1:18 seconds. Its UK-based customer care line on 0345 301 4455 (or 4455 from your Tesco Mobile phone) is open from 8am-9pm Monday to Friday, from 8am-8pm on Saturday, and between 10am-6pm on Sunday.
Tesco Mobile also has a responsive Live Chat facility, or you can get in touch on social media via Facebook or Twitter.
Value for money
Tesco Mobile offers excellent value for money when it comes to its SIM-only and handset deals, with additional benefits for Clubcard holders.
Regular Clubcard holders will benefit by linking their phone to their Clubcard. This will enable you to collect one Clubcard point for every pound you spend on your mobile bill. Customers choosing to buy a PAYG handset outright can claim Clubcard points on their purchase as well.
New Tesco Mobile customers can choose to sign up for Clubcard Plus for free for the first six months. This scheme entitles pay monthly customers to double data on their phone plan, along with a 10% discount twice a month on in-store shopping at Tesco and 10% off selected Tesco brands in store, including F&F clothing, Go Cook kitchenware, Fred & Flo baby range, Carousel toys, Tesco Pet and Fox & Ivy homewares.
After six months, the standard monthly price of £7.99 is payable but you can cancel at any time.
Tesco Mobile uses the O2 network. This means you get 4G coverage across over 99% of the UK and a decent scattering of 5G coverage as well, although, like other networks, O2 is still rolling out its 5G so it is not as widely available as 4G. It's worth using Tesco Mobile’s coverage checker and seeing for yourself how good your signal will be based on your postcode.
The coverage checker will tell you how good your 2G signal is for text and email, your 3G for internet use and calls, your 4G for mobile internet and whether 5G is available. You will also get an idea of how strong the signal is both indoors and outdoors.
Tesco Mobile offers a pretty impressive package. It has all the latest handsets, flexible contracts and a good range of SIM-only deals including Unlimited data. Running on the O2 network, its 4G coverage is good and 5G is available at no extra cost.
The added benefit of Clubcard points and free Clubcard Plus for six months puts the cherry on the cake in terms of good value for money, and with customers declaring it one of the best providers in terms of customer service and reliability, we'd say it is well worth putting Tesco Mobile in your basket.