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iD mobile SIM-only review

From the high-street giant Carphone Warehouse comes iD mobile: a mobile provider that claims to be “as individual as you are”.

iD mobile offers several SIM-only plans on 12-month contracts and more flexible 30-day plans, some of which let you rollover unused data or cap usage to to prevent you spiralling off into the badlands of bill-shock territory.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
3

iD offers 4G data, caps on usage, and 30-day contracts on competitively priced plans. But you can’t tether, 4G coverage isn’t great, and there is little in the way of extras.

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Coverage & data speed

Rating

3

As iD mobile is an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) its coverage is equal to that of its host network: Three. For practical purposes, this means you are highly likely to receive a mobile signal no matter where you are in the UK.

But while mobile signal is all but guaranteed, mobile internet signal isn’t. All iD mobile plans are 4G as standard, which currently has a total UK coverage of 91%. If you stray into an area that doesn’t have 4G coverage you’ll be bumped down to the slower – but more widespread – 3G network.

Data speed is important for downloading files, streaming films, and a myriad other online activities. While there isn’t any solid information on iD’s mobile data speed from Ofcom just yet, you can be certain that you’ll achieve faster download speeds on the provider’s 4G network than on its 3G network.

3G coverage
97%
4G coverage
91%
Average 3G speed*
Unavailable
Average 4G speed*
Unavailable
Call allowance
250 - 2000
Text allowance
5000
Data allowance
250MB to 10GB
Minimum contract
30 days or 12 months
Prices from
3G coverage 97%
4G coverage 91%
Average 3G speed* Unavailable
Average 4G speed* Unavailable
Call allowance 250 - 2000
Text allowance 5000
Data allowance 250MB to 10GB
Minimum contract 30 days or 12 months
Prices from £4 per month
Info

Scroll horizontally for more information.

Data usage

Rating

4

All iD mobile SIM-only plans come with mobile data. The smallest amount of data is 250MB, while the largest is 10GB. You can increase the available data further by purchasing one of iD mobile’s ‘add-ons’ (iD’s only real movement towards anything approaching the individualisation of plans).

If you choose a ‘ShockProof’ plan from iD mobile, you can add a cap to your usage that prevents you from using more than an extra £5-worth of data if you inadvertently cross your usage limit. Again, this takes out some of the worry from browsing, but it’s questionable why the cap is only present on this specific plan, and not on the rest of those offered by iD mobile.

Tethering (sharing mobile data with other devices) isn’t permitted on any iD mobile plan. If you attempt to tether you may be disconnected from the network.

Calls & texts

Rating

3

All iD mobile SIM-only plans (with the sole exception of the tablet-focused data-only plans) come with a set amount of inclusive minutes and texts. As with mobile data, you can further increase these inclusive allowances beyond their set limits by purchasing add-ons either through your online account or via the iD mobile app.

It’s worth noting that there are no unlimited options for either minutes or texts. Most competing mobile providers – such as BT Mobile, Vodafone, O2, Virgin Mobile, and The People’s Operator – offer this option.

Calls and texts made outside of these allowances are charged at the standard rates. Calls to UK mobiles and landlines cost 40p per minute; text messages cost 14p each; and calls to voicemail cost 40p per minute.

Extra features

Rating

2

Whether or not it should be considered an extra feature is debatable, but unlike many MVNOs, iD mobile has a high-street presence. You can purchase iD plans from any Carphone Warehouse shop, as well as receive help and assistance from a customer service agent.

Another arguable extra is the inclusion of usage caps on the ‘ShockProof’ plans. On these plans additional usage beyond your allowances is capped at £5, protecting you from inadvertently spending too much if you cross your limits without noticing. But it’s worth wondering why this option to cap usage isn’t available on any of iD’s other plans…

Value for money

Rating

3

In comparison to similar plans from other providers, iD mobile is fairly standard in terms of price. Its cheapest plan comes with 250 minutes, 5,000 texts, and 2500MB of data, and costs £4 per month. The most expensive includes 2,000 minutes, 5,000 texts, and unlimited mobile data, and costs £20 per month.

The majority of iD mobile SIM-only plans are 30-day, and can be cancelled at any time without penalty. Handsets can be taken on either 12-month or 24-month contracts.

The add-ons available for SIM-only plans are curious inclusions, and are unlikely to appeal to many due to their almost superfluous nature. Here’s an example of what we mean. The £10 iD SIM-only ‘ShockProof’ plan comes with 4GB of data. Through the add-on system, you can up to 1GB of data for an additional fee. However, if you instead upgrade the plan to the £15 ‘ShockProof’ SIM-only plan, you get more data and for considerably less. And there’s no limit on upgrading with 30-day plans. So the question is, why bother with the add-ons at all?

Overall Rating

3

iD mobile is a good choice if you’re looking for a simple SIM-only plan for a new or existing handset. It’s competitively priced, and the ability to cap usage on some plans can alleviate any worries about accidentally crossing usage limits and incurring fees.

But the inability to tether, the lack of notable extras, the relatively poor 4G coverage and the bizarre add-on system (which is “as individual as you are”) may deter some users looking for a more complete mobile experience.

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