Lebara Mobile review 2021
By Dan Howdle | Tuesday, May 4th 2021
Lebara Mobile offers SIM-only plans, with a focus on migrant communities, looking to keep in touch with home. It operates around the world and offers plans with decent international call allowances included. Lebara Mobile's plans currently allow in-plan calls to 41 international destinations.
Lebara Mobile is an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) which has been around since 2001. MVNOs don't own or operate their own network infrastructure, instead they use the infrastructure of one of the UK's main providers; in the case of Lebara, that's Vodafone.
Tariffs & plans
Lebara Mobile offers just seven SIM-only plans, from 2GB to Unlimited, all of which, apart from the cheapest, come with unlimited UK minutes and texts, and are relatively cheap in the UK mobile market. Deals from 15GB upwards also come with unlimited international minutes to 41 destinations.
It is the inclusive international calls which really sets Lebara apart from other mobile providers. Lebara Mobile's SIM-only plans are designed for migrant workers, international communities and travellers who need to call home. The plans are weighted accordingly, so you can expect international calls to be quite a lot cheaper than rates offered by other providers. Calls to India, for example, cost just 1p per minute, with texts costing 6p per message. Calls to Australia also cost just 1p per minute, with texts costing 25p per minute.
Lebara offers a choice of two unlimited data plans – one with just 100 inclusive international minutes, and one with unlimited international minutes for an extra fiver. The unlimited international calls in this plan offer excellent value for customers regularly calling any of its 41 included destinations. In addition to the usual European Union countries, you can call destinations including the USA, Australia, India, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
All Lebara’s plans come on rolling 30-day contracts and there is no need for a credit check. You can opt out of the rolling contracts at any time. Alternatively, if you don’t want to commit to a rolling monthly contract, you can choose instead to top up your SIM with £5 to £30 to use for calls and texts as and when you need to.
Bolt-ons are also available should you need them. Choose from 1GB of data for £3, 200 UK minutes for £3, or 50 international minutes for £3. Text bolt-ons are not available.
Phone & device range
Lebara Mobile is a SIM only provider that doesn't offer handsets so you will need to have a phone already. All its SIMs are of the 3-in-1 type, which means they will fit any handset.
If you are changing to Lebara Mobile from another provider, your handset may need to be unlocked. You can arrange this by contacting your old provider.
If you have a query or a problem with your Lebara Mobile plan, you can call customer services on 0207 031 0791 between 9am and 5pm daily. Calls from a Lebara SIM are free when you dial 5588. There is also an online chat service available from 9am to 9pm. In addition to the customer service phone line, you can contact Lebara Mobile via email, Facebook or Twitter, or you can look at the FAQ section of its website which deals with most common issues.
As one of the smaller providers, Lebara Mobile doesn't figure in Ofcom reports. However, at the time of writing, there are over 5000 reviews of Lebara Mobile on the Trustpilot website. Its overall score is 4.6 out of 5 stars, which is very good when compared to the scores for other providers: for the sake of comparison, EE scores just 2, and Vodafone scores just 1.3.
Value for money
The value for money of Lebara Mobile's plans depends entirely on how many international calls you make. If you regularly call one of the countries included in its plans, then the value is great. If, on the other hand, you rarely make calls abroad, you may be better served by other providers. Free calls to other Lebara Mobile mobiles is a bonus, though not particularly unusual in the mobile market.
The value represented by Lebara Mobile's international call allowances is really very good. You will need to check which countries are covered, but as long as your destination is on the list, the calls will be a lot cheaper than those offered by other providers.
As a bonus, if you do sign up to Lebara, you can earn up to £50 back in cash by referring a friend, who will receive double data for the first six months.
Lebara Mobile uses the Vodafone network. According to Ofcom, 89% of Vodafone customers said they were satisfied with the reception they receive, which is above the industry average.
Vodafone has 4G coverage on a par with most other providers, but its 5G network is still rolling out. Bear in mind that local geographical features, such as hills or buildings, can affect your reception. You can check what the Vodafone signal is like in your area by visiting the Vodafone coverage checker on the provider’s website. Lebara does not yet offer 5G with its plans, however, so even if 5G is available in your area, you won’t be able to benefit from it with a Lebara plan.
Lebara Mobile is not like most SIM-only providers in that it has a very specific type of customer in mind, and has tailored its service accordingly. If you are looking for a SIM-only deal with generous inclusive allowances for international calls, then Lebara Mobile's offer is very attractive. For everybody else, there are better-priced deals on offer with other providers.