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TalkTalk SIM-only review

TalkTalk offers a selection of good value SIM-only deals but you have to be a TalkTalk broadband customer to get one. Most plans run on 12-month contracts and it’s possible to have a family account with up to three SIMs on one monthly bill.

TalkTalk SIMs are cheap and convenient for existing TalkTalk customers, but are they worth switching broadband providers for? There is no 4G provision and the customer service frequently gets a bashing from disgruntled consumers. Here’s what you need to know about the SIM-only deals before you sign up.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
2.4

Like its broadband, phone and TV services, low prices are the main attraction at TalkTalk Mobile. With SIM-only deals from £3.95 per month, they’re an attractive proposition for existing TalkTalk broadband customers. However the lack of 4G and poor customer service may put some people off.

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Coverage & data speed

Rating

2

TalkTalk Mobile uses the Vodafone network to deliver its mobile phone services, which has 99% coverage for 2G so most people can talk and text throughout the UK. The next generation of mobile phone technology, known as 3G, is slightly less widespread but increasing all the time as Vodafone expands its network. If you have TalkTalk coverage for 3G in your area (find out here), you’ll be able to get online and use the internet at a reasonable speed.

TalkTalk doesn’t publicise its 3G speed, but using Vodafone’s as a guide, you could expect an average download speed of around 7Mbps according to Ofcom. This is adequate for browsing, emailing, downloading songs and watching low-resolution video, but will struggle with more demanding activities like streaming HD films and video calling. Disappointingly, TalkTalk does not offer a 4G service for a faster internet performance, despite it being available from Vodafone.

3G coverage
96%
4G coverage
n/a
Average 3G speed*
7Mbps
Average 4G speed*
n/a
Call allowance
100 - 1000
Text allowance
250 - unlimited
Data allowance
200MB - 3GB
Minimum contract
One month
*Coverage and speed for Vodafone (TalkTalk’s parent network), according to Ofcom
Prices from
3G coverage 96%
4G coverage n/a
Average 3G speed* 7Mbps
Average 4G speed* n/a
Call allowance 100 - 1000
Text allowance 250 - unlimited
Data allowance 200MB - 3GB
Minimum contract One month
Prices from From £3.95
*Coverage and speed for Vodafone (TalkTalk’s parent network), according to Ofcom
Info

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Data usage

Rating

2

TalkTalk Mobile’s standard data limits range from 200MB per month to 3GB. The options will suit a range of different internet users. Habitual mobile internet users may be better off looking to rival providers as excessive surfing can get expensive at TalkTalk. If you hit the limit on your plan, there’s no option to buy an add-on and you’ll incur extra charges of £1 per 50MB per day. However, you won't be able to carry over any unused data to the next day.

Calls & texts

Rating

3

There’s a wide range of calling options to suit different types of customer, up to 1000 monthly minutes for those who love chatting. Your chosen package includes calls to UK landline numbers starting 01, 02, and 03. Calls to 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers are free, other 08 numbers cost 25p per minute plus service charge. Roaming charges and call rates to international numbers vary between destinations.

TalkTalk Mobile phone deals are fairly standard with 250 texts included with the cheapest plans, rising to unlimited for the bigger bundles. This includes texts to UK mobiles only; texting internationally costs 20p per message. Picture and video messages (known as MMS) also cost extra at 35p per message within the UK up to a maximum file size of 100KB. Large files incur an additional 17p cost for each 100KB. International MMS rates vary and start from 60p per message.

Extra features

Rating

2

As you might expect with a budget provider, freebies and extra features are thin on the ground at TalkTalk Mobile. There is an option to have a family account. You can have up to three individual TalkTalk SIM cards per household, all charged monthly and linked to the main residential fixed-line broadband account.

You can also add extra minutes, texts and data to your SIM plan with a flexible Monthly Boost. Each come with two options costing £2.50 and £5. There's a choice of either 100 or 250 UK minutes, 500 or 1000 texts and 150MB or 500MB data. You can also add 200 international minutes for an extra £5.

Value for money

Rating

3

TalkTalk Mobile deals are cheap, cheerful – and frequently discounted. If you’re a happy TalkTalk residential customer, adding a SIM or three to your broadband account is an affordable way for you and your family to keep in touch on the go. You get a fair allowance of calls, texts and data for your money and the bundles are certainly cheaper than the main mobile networks. However, they become less competitive when the double data deals and discounted rates come to an end.

The downside is the lack of 4G service, which could be an issue for those who do a lot of streaming and downloading of movies, videos and music on their mobile. Another issue is TalkTalk’s reputation for disappointing customer service, as it frequently performs badly in Ofcom’s annual customer satisfaction report.

Overall Rating

2.4

TalkTalk Mobile SIM-only deals are exclusive to TalkTalk broadband customers. You get low prices and good value bundles of calls, texts and data, plus widespread nationwide coverage on Vodafone’s 2G and 3G networks. Long-standing deals and discounts make the SIM bundles cheap however, and the prices aren’t so competitive without the special offers. Major drawbacks include the lack of 4G, as well as little in the way of extra features, and TalkTalk’s poor reputation for customer service.

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