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Co-operative Mobile reviews

Co-operative Mobile offers SIM-only, pay-as-you-go and pay-as-you-use plans, and sells several smartphones (including the exclusive Co-op Fairphone) on 24-month contracts. Coverage is widespread and calls to other Co-operative Mobile customers are free.

But it’s not all positive. The SIM-only plans are expensive compared to similar plans by competitors and they come with low allowances for minutes and data. Mobile internet speeds are slow, and extra features are thin on the ground. Here’s all you need to know…

All provider packages

Co-operative pay-as-you-use

2.8

Free

Co-operative pay-as-you-use
Co-operative SIM-only bundles

2

£8

Co-operative SIM-only bundles

About Co-operative Mobile

The Co-operative Mobile is a consumer co-operative. This means its members own it. If you’re a member, you can influence the direction of the company by taking an active role. From a mobile standpoint, the Co-operative Mobile is an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator); it uses EE to carry its calls, texts, and mobile data.

Payment options

There are several options: pay monthly, pay-as-you-go, pay-as-you-use and SIM-only. A pay monthly plan comes with a handset. For newer phones, you have to pay an upfront cost along with your standard monthly payment; but for other phones (including the Co-op exclusive Fairphone), you just pay the monthly fee.

On pay-as-you-go plans you can add credit for minutes, texts, and data as required. You can also choose from a selection of pay-as-you-go bundles to further augment your allowances. On a SIM-only plan you pay a set amount for a monthly allowance of calls, texts, and data.

You can remove your data allowance

If you don’t want to use the internet on your mobile phone, or if you only intend to use free public wi-fi or your home internet connection to get online, then you can remove your data allowance entirely. This will give you £2 off SIM-only deals. Just bear in mind that if you do go online you’ll be charged the standard rate of 20p per megabyte (MB).

Availability

Co-operative Mobile uses EE to carry its calls, text messages, and mobile data, giving overall coverage of 99% of UK homes and businesses. Nevertheless, some blackspots (areas without signal) still exist. This coverage map can tell you if you’ll be covered by Co-operative Mobile.

Speed

Speed affects how long it takes to load a webpage, download a file, or stream a video through your smartphone’s internet. Some activities, like streaming film and video, require a faster speed than activities like website browsing, which are less demanding. Co-operative Mobile doesn’t provide any official information about the speed you should expect when using the internet on a Co-operative Mobile SIM.

On EE – the network on which the Co-operative Mobile is carried – the average 3G download speed is 6.8Mbps. However, your Co-operative Mobile speed is likely to be slower than this.

All plans are 3G

There are no 4G plans with Co-operative Mobile. A 4G plan provides faster internet for downloading files and information than a 3G plan. While Co-operative Mobile doesn’t currently have 4G, they do state that they’re ‘working on it’, so it may be available in the near future.

Extras

Extra features are thin on the ground with Co-operative Mobile, but there are a few. The most notable is the ability to make unlimited free calls to other Co-operative Mobile users. These calls must be made from one Co-operative Mobile SIM to another, and only last for 60 minutes. If you stay on the line beyond the 60-minute period you’ll be charged standard rates. To avoid this, just hang up and redial.

Money off when you use your existing handset

If you choose a SIM-only plan, and intend to use your existing handset, then you receive a £10 discount towards the monthly price of your plan. When choosing a SIM-only plan for an existing smartphone, make sure you pick the correct SIM size.

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