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The People’s Operator SIM-only review

The People’s Operator (TPO) has several competitively priced SIM-only plans, all of which come on 30-day contracts with widespread 3G coverage and 4G-ready data. TPO also gives 10% of your monthly bill payment to a charity of your choice.

But there are a few drawbacks. There aren’t any unlimited data plans available for unmetered mobile internet use and you may also need to unlock your phone to use a TPO SIM card. Here’s the full lowdown…

Cable.co.uk overall rating

The People's Operator offers several SIM-only deals, all of which are cheap when compared to similar plans by other providers. You won’t be subjected to a credit check when joining. Allowances are limited, you can’t tether, and download speeds may be slower than its host network, Three. You may also need to unlock your handset to use a People’s Operator SIM.

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Coverage & data speed



The People’s Operator is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), meaning it uses another mobile provider’s network to carry its calls, text messages, and data. TPO uses the Three network, which covers approximately 98% of UK homes with 3G service and around 91% with 4G.

TPO now offers 4G as standard if you’re in a 4G covered area. Your smartphone can connect to the internet with either 3G or 4G, but videos, music, websites and images will load much faster on 4G.

Download speed determines how long your smartphone takes to download data like webpages. There is no solid information on the download speed you should expect from The People’s Operator and it doesn’t advertise an estimate. Nevertheless, an approximation can be garnered from parent network, Three, which achieves an average download speed of 7Mbps and 17Mbps over 3G and 4G, respectively.

3G coverage
4G coverage
Average 3G speed*
Average 4G speed*
Call allowance
200 - Unlimited
Text allowance
500 - Unlimited
Data allowance
512MB - 6GB
Minimum contract
*According to Ofcom
Prices from
3G coverage 97%
4G coverage 91%
Average 3G speed* Unavailable
Average 4G speed* Unavailable
Call allowance 200 - Unlimited
Text allowance 500 - Unlimited
Data allowance 512MB - 6GB
Minimum contract 30-days
Prices from £7.50 per month
*According to Ofcom

Scroll horizontally for more information.

Data usage



TPO’s most expensive plan comes with 6GB of mobile 4G-ready data. This will be sufficient for moderate use, including video streaming. The basic plan comes with 512MB of data, enough for emailing, social networking, browsing the web as well as watching a few YouTube videos. If you reach your data limit you won’t be able to use the internet until your allowances renews the following month.

You won’t be able to tether with your mobile. Tethering involves sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices, such as a laptop or tablet. If you do attempt to tether, you’re liable to be disconnected from the network.

Calls & texts



All People’s Operator SIM-only plans come with inclusive minutes and texts. Within these allowances, you can make calls to UK landlines and mobiles, and send texts to UK mobiles, for free. Once these allowances expire you are charged the standard rates for calls and texts. These cost 35p for calls to UK landlines and mobiles, and 12p for text messages to UK mobiles.

Calls to international numbers are blocked by default (including numbers located in the Isle of Man, Jersey, or Ireland). If you wish to call an overseas number, you first need to contact customer services to request permission. The same applies for roaming (using your handset in another country). You can contact The People’s Operator on: 0845 225 2505.

Extra features



With any plan, you’re able to donate a portion of your bill payment (10%) to charity. This can be any charity of your choice; you aren’t forced to donate to charities from a pre-determined selection. To donate, you need a partner code. You can usually find this on your chosen charity’s website or by contacting them over the phone. Once you have this code, you need to provide it during the sign-up process.

You may need to unlock your phone to use a TPO SIM. To this end, you get a £3 discount off the cost of unlocking your mobile. You have to use the mobile unlocking website chosen by The People’s Operator, however, which may not be the cheapest choice.

You won’t have to undergo a credit check when you join, so The People’s Operator may appeal if you know you have a poor credit score.

Value for money



The People’s Operator has some of the cheapest SIM-only plans in the UK. The cheapest is £7.50 per month and comes with 200 inclusive minutes, 500 inclusive texts and 512MB of mobile data. The top plan is £20. It comes with 2400 minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of 4G mobile data. All plans come on 30-day contracts. These are rolling, which means they automatically renew at the end of each 30-day period. These allowances are very generous compared to plans from other providers. For unlimited allowances you will have to shop elsewhere.

There are a few more things to consider with TPO. 4G isn’t available everywhere; you can’t make international calls by default; you can’t tether; and you may need to have your handset unlocked before you can join.

Overall Rating


The People’s Operator is an ethical company. It’s also cheap – compared to the competition – and you won’t be subjected to a credit check when you join. However, there are no unlimited data plans and you can’t tether.

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