iD Mobile SIM only deals explained
By Dan Howdle | Wednesday, December 15th 2021
In this guide
- Why choose iD Mobile SIM only?
- iD Mobile network
- Data and calling features
- Best alternatives
- Frequently asked questions
If you’re thinking about getting a SIM-only deal then you’ll need your own handset. Maybe you are happy with the phone you already have, or maybe you’ve seen a great deal to buy a new handset outright. Either way, a SIM-only deal is a great way to get the most data for your money, usually alongside more texts and minutes than you’ll ever use.
Why choose an iD Mobile SIM-only deal?
The UK mobile market is a competitive one, so what makes iD Mobile’s SIM deals stand out from the crowd? Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of signing up to iD Mobile.
- Data rollover – A popular feature being introduced by more and more providers, data rollover kicks in at the end of the month and automatically adds your unused data to the following month’s allowance.
- Bill capping – iD Mobile lets you set a cap of between £0 and £25 for your out-of-plan spending. When you reach your cap, you won’t be able to do anything that you’d be charged for, like sending picture messages or making premium rate phone calls.
- 30-day rolling contracts – As well as 12 and 24-month contracts, iD also offers rolling one-month SIM-only deals, meaning you can leave whenever you want without being penalised.
Is iD Mobile a good network?
iD Mobile doesn’t operate its own network; it is one of several mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that provide mobile services in the UK. These providers effectively ‘piggyback’ on another network in order to provide their services. There are only four mobile networks in the UK – EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three. iD Mobile uses the Three network.
Three’s 4G network reaches 99% of the UK population and, according to independent crowdsourced data company Tutela, its 5G service is rated the best for consistent quality.
Three is continuing its 5G network rollout across the UK, with a number of towns and cities now benefiting from its fast speeds.
Data and calling features
Before signing up to a SIM-only contract, it’s worth taking a look at what exactly a provider will allow you to do with your monthly data allowance and whether you can share it with anyone. This is what iD Mobile has to offer in terms of data and calling features:
- 4G data speed – Reports by Tutela show that Three’s average data speed on 4G was 15.6Mbps in its most recent tests. This is roughly half the speed of EE, but still faster than O2 and Vodafone.
- 5G data speed – Three’s average 5G speed was clocked at 49.1Mbps, second-fastest after O2, and ahead of EE and Vodafone in Tutela’s State of Mobile Experience report.
- Data rollover – iD Mobile automatically rolls over your data if you have any left at the end of the month, and adds it to the following month’s allowance. You’ll be using the rolled-over data first, but don’t worry – all this happens automatically.
- Tethering – You’re free to tether on iD Mobile – this means you can turn your phone into a mobile hotspot so you can get online with another device such as a laptop or tablet. iD Mobile does warn, however, that laptops in particular use a lot of data, so customers should keep an eye on their usage via the iD Mobile app or their online account.
- Wifi calling – iD Mobile supports wifi calling – a technology that allows you to make voice calls over wifi when you’re unable to get a 3G, 4G or 5G signal. It means that in places that would previously have been indoor blackspots, you can now make good quality calls, as long as you can connect to a wifi network.
- Data gifting – There’s no facility to gift your data to friends and family. Tethering would be a good way to share your data if someone else needs to get online and you’re feeling generous.
- Data caps – iD Mobile lets you set a data cap of anything from £0 up to £25 to limit your out-of-plan spending – this is for things not included in your text, calls and data allowance.
Roaming on iD Mobile
Most UK mobile providers offer inclusive EU roaming, which allows you to use your data, calls and text allowances throughout Europe as if you were at home in the UK. Some providers include more countries than the bare minimum in their European roaming zone, and they have different policies for the rest of the world.
All iD plans come with inclusive EU roaming and that means there are 50 destinations where you can ‘roam like at home’. You can use inclusive data, add-ons, receive voicemails and call or text the UK from any of these destinations, but international calls are slightly more complicated in four of them.
iD Mobile categorises its roaming destinations as being in Band 1 or Band 2. In Band 1 destinations you can call or text any other band 1 destination using your inclusive minutes or texts. But in Band 2 destinations you can only call and text the UK and the country you’re in.
The Band 1 destinations are Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus (south), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Saint Barthelemy, Saint-Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Vatican City.
The Band 2 destinations are Azerbaijan, Belarus, Macedonia and Kazakhstan.
Before you go abroad you’ll need to change your phone’s settings so you can roam, and you’ll also have to activate roaming on your iD Mobile account.
Calling abroad from the UK on iD Mobile
The cost of making international calls depends very much on the country you’re calling. The same principle applies to texts and picture messages. International calls are not covered in your inclusive minutes, so you’ll need to make sure your spending cap is set high enough to allow you to make your call.
Frequently asked questions
Can I still use my iD Mobile SIM if I use up my allowance?
Yes, but you’ll be charged for each text you send, phone call you make and MB of data you use. Your best bet would be to get a data or calls add-on – these work out to be far more economical if you need to make a lot of calls or use more than a tiny bit of data.
Can I keep my old number if I switch to iD Mobile?
Yes, you can keep your old number. You’ll need to ask your old provider for a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) then follow the steps in the iD Mobile app or via your iD Mobile online account. Most numbers are then transferred in 1-2 working days – and you’ll be able to keep using your iD Mobile while you wait for your number to be ported.
Does iD Mobile run credit checks?
For most of its products, iD Mobile does run a credit check before deciding whether or not to offer you a contract. The check takes in information from your financial history, court records and the electoral roll.
If you have a poor credit rating, you are more likely to be accepted for a pay monthly SIM-only deal than one that includes a handset, as there’s no equipment included and contract lengths tend to be shorter. There are no credit checks carried out for pay-as-you-go SIM cards.
How long will my iD Mobile SIM take to arrive?
If you order online or over the phone, your SIM card will be sent via First Class post and should take 2-3 days to arrive. You can also pick one up at your nearest Carphone Warehouse store.
How do I buy an iD Mobile pay-as-you-go SIM?
You can pick up iD Mobile pay-as-you-go SIMs in Carphone Warehouse stores, or order them directly from iD Mobile online or on the phone.
Do I need to get my phone unlocked to switch to or from iD Mobile?
iD Mobile only locks iPhones, so any other handset you get from iD Mobile you’ll be able to use with another’s provider’s SIM. Most providers lock all their handsets so the chances are you’ll need to get your phone unlocked before you can use an iD Mobile SIM. Contact your provider for help unlocking your phone.
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