Honest Mobile Review 2020: Get EE, O2 & Three coverage all at once whilst helping the environment!

Honest Mobile runs on Three’s network, but this unique provider also gives you access to EE and O2’s network to boost your signal. This article dives into one of the latest entrants to the UK mobile market.

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Honest Mobile is a brand new mobile virtual network provider operating in the UK. The network is using Three’s network to provide 3G and 4G Coverage, however, if you purchase their Smart Signal add-on you can also access EE’s and O2’s network, to boost your signal in locations where you may have some issues.

The carrier also rewards their loyal customers by reducing their bills each month by up to 30%. Thanks to Honest Mobile’s loyalty discount your bills will get cheaper each month you remain as a member. The network also has an app, which you’ll need if you want to use their Wi-Fi Calling feature. The app is also useful if you’re looking to switch between plans, just click on the app and choose your new tariff, it will take effect the next day.

Honest Mobile’s plans are pay monthly, commitment-free deals and they come with unlimited UK calls and texts.

Honest Mobile is also the UK’s first carbon neutral mobile network, meaning they offset all emissions associated with mobile usage (be it making calls, sending texts or using data), including the running of their HQ. They even plant trees on your behalf and you can track how many trees have been planted under your name!

Pro’s

  • Smart Signal add-on; Coverage from Three, EE and O2.
  • Environmentally friendly network.
  • Loyalty discounts of up to 30%.
  • Wi-Fi Calling and an app.
  • No credit checks required.

Con’s

  • Considerably pricier than competitors.
  • Wi-Fi Calling requires the app.
  • No seamless transition when switching between networks.
  • No 5G or 2G.
 

Half Cooked’s overall rating for Honest Mobile: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Table of Contents

Plans & Pricing

SIM Only Deals

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At the moment, Honest Mobile only offers three different SIM Only plans to choose from. The network allows you to upgrade to a larger plan at any given time, or downgrade to a smaller plan any time after 30 days have passed.

There are no credit checks to pass, as the network’s deals work on a prepaid basis. Having said that, for a mobile virtual network operator Honest Mobile’s tariffs are slightly pricier than some of its competitors. They offer a loyalty discount programme of up to 30%, but even then some other MVNOs such as SMARTY or VOXI offer better deals.

DataMinutes & TextsPrice
4GBUnlimited£15/month
10GBUnlimited£20/month
40GBUnlimited£25/month
4GB (Annual Membership)Unlimited£162
10GB (Annual Membership)Unlimited£216
40GB (Annual Membership)Unlimited£270

All their SIM only plans come with unlimited UK minutes and texts, as well as EU roaming. You can save an extra 10% by paying annually but this can’t be combined with the loyalty discount. With Black Friday just being around the corner, you might also want to check Honest Mobile’s deals during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales. Make sure to bookmark our Black Friday SIM Only Deals page to be the first one to know about any great discounts!

The Smart Signal feature, which allows you to switch between Three, EE and O2 is priced at £10 per month.

If you’re interested in cheap SIM Only plans we’d recommend checking out our SMARTY Review or our VOXI Review, if you are after more data or 5G coverage.

Pay As You Go

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Honest Mobile doesn’t offer any pay as you go services at the moment. Whilst their 30 day SIM Only deals work on a prepaid basis, there isn’t a traditional pay as you go option or anything similar.

We’d strongly recommend checking out 1p Mobile’s PAYG deals. Their rates are 1p a minute, 1p a text, 1p a MB and no other network can even come close to their PAYG prices. You can read our 1p Mobile Review to learn all you need to know about the carrier.

Pay Monthly Phones

honest mobile pay monthly phonesAt the moment, Honest Mobile doesn’t offer handset contracts, they’re completely focused on monthly SIM contracts. However, they’re planning to sell smartphones later in 2020.

If you’re looking for a new mobile phone, have a read of our O2 Review. We recommend O2, because the network has a wide range of mobile devices to choose from, including refurbished ones with warranty. O2’s phone store offers devices from the top tier manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Sony. On top of that, thanks to O2 Refresh you can split your airtime bill and phone bill into two and the network even lets you customise your own mobile contract.

Network Coverage & Speeds

3G and 4G Coverage

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Honest Mobile uses Three as its main network provider, but if you purchase their Smart Signal add-on, you also get 3G and 4G coverage from EE and O2. Unfortunately, the network doesn’t support 2G, meaning if you have a 2G only device, an Honest Mobile SIM won’t work with your phone.

Three’s network grants you over 99% population coverage, but when it comes to landmass coverage no other mobile network comes close to EE’s network as the carrier provides over 90% UK landmass coverage. So, to get the best out of your Honest Mobile SIM you might want to invest in the Smart Signal feature. If you’re interested, you can read our EE Review to discover more about their network coverage and data speeds. Smart Signal also provides network coverage from O2, so you get the best 4G coverage in the UK once you combine each of these networks.

Your data speeds will vary, but looking at Open Signal’s October 2020 network test results, we see that Three’s average 4G download speeds are around at 22.2Mbps. O2 tracks slightly behind Three, but EE’s average 4G download speeds go beyond 36Mbps and its upload speeds are over 9Mbps. We think you’ll be fine without the Smart Signal feature, because 20Mbps is more than enough to stream content in full HD, in fact it’s even enough for 4K streaming with minor hiccups here and there.

5G Coverage

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Honest Mobile doesn’t support 5G yet, but the network officially announced that they will offer 5G SIM Only plans starting from Q3 2020. Since both EE and O2 also support 5G, it will be interesting to see if their Smart Signal feature will provide 5G support too.

If you want to experience the benefits of 5G, we’d recommend checking our Three Review. All Three plans, including PAYG deals come with 5G at no extra cost. Plus Three is currently the fastest 5G mobile network in the UK according to OOKLA’s October 2020 speed test results.

Voice Call Quality

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When it comes to voice call quality, we rely on tests performed by independent bodies such as Open Signal, umlaut and OOKLA. These organizations are known for being objective and reliable, plus they perform countrywide voice call quality and speed tests.

When we look at the latest results they published, we can see that Honest Mobile’s main network provider Three is not doing as well as the other major network operators, but this doesn’t necessarily mean Three’s network coverage is bad. It’s just not as good as the others at the moment. If you opt for the Smart Signal bolt-on, you can jump to another network when you lose signal.

Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

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4G Calling (a.k.a. VoLTE) allows you to make and receive calls over your mobile provider’s 4G network. It’s like making a regular phone call, but your handset uses 4G instead of 2G or 3G. Thanks to 4G Calling your calls are clearer & connect faster. Plus when you’re on a call, you’ll stay connected to 4G. This feature also eliminates many indoor blackspots so you can stay connected in more places.

Wi-Fi Calling keeps your device connected by using an available Wi-Fi connection. Your device will stay connected even when you’re not getting any regular phone signal.

Honest Mobile offers Wi-Fi Calling support through their mobile application, but sadly, 4G Calling (VoLTE) isn’t yet available. To benefit from Honest Mobile’s Wi-Fi Calling you’ll need a compatible device and the Honest Mobile App.

If you want both 4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling, we recommend iD Mobile. Make sure to read our iD Mobile Review to discover all you need to know about their deals and coverage.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

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Honest Mobile customers don’t get any exclusive free Wi-Fi Hotspot deals, but they can benefit from O2 WiFi and Sky Mobile’s The Cloud at no extra cost. They can just sign up and start using these free Wi-Fi services wherever available. However, we should underline that these aren’t exclusive offers and any mobile customer in the UK can use these services for free.

If you think you need free Wi-Fi across the UK and also when you’re roaming abroad, we recommend checking out Half Cooked’s BT Mobile Review and Virgin Mobile Review.

Tethering

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Turning your smartphone into a personal hotspot means you can share your mobile data with other people, or to be more specific with other compatible devices such as laptops, tablets and other smartphones. All you have to do is turn your Wi-Fi Hotspot on and Honest Mobile allows you to tether freely, no restrictions whatsoever.

As always, we’d like to remind you that you should always stay on top of your usage when tethering as you can burn through your mobile data at a much faster rate. We suggest having a large data plan or even an unlimited data plan, if you’re considering tethering to other devices on a regular basis. You can have a look at Superdrug Mobile’s unlimited data plan; it’s competitively priced, comes with unlimited UK minutes & texts, plus you get double Health / Beautycard points on all your Superdrug purchases. Read our Superdrug Mobile Review to learn more about the network.

International Roaming

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Honest Mobile puts each country into a roaming zone: EU Roaming Zone, Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3.

The network lets you use your UK minutes, texts and data in 43 destinations in the EU Zone. If you ever go over your UK allowances while in one of these countries, you won’t pay more than what you would pay back at home. You can find how much you’d end up paying in other zones besides the EU Zone by checking the table below.

ZoneTo UK (/min)Out of Zone (/min)Receiving Calls (/min)Data /MB (/Mb)SMS (/SMS)
130p47p9p£321p
284p107p60p£321p
384p107p60p£321p

Honest Mobile will only let you use a maximum of 20GB of data when roaming abroad. The network also limits free international roaming to a maximum of 2 months. After the two month period surcharges will apply.

If you’re a frequent traveller, we’d recommend checking out Vodafone’s roaming focused deals. You can learn all about their roaming passes, network coverage, data speeds and plan prices by reading our Vodafone Review.

Honest Mobile’s Features

Smart Signal

honest-mobile-smart-signalHonest Mobile’s Smart Signal bolt-on will give you access to more masts across the UK. The carrier uses Three as its main network provider, but when you purchase the Smart Signal add-on you also gain access to EE and O2’s masts. If you lose signal on Honest Mobile, you’ll automatically connect to either EE or O2, whichever provides the better coverage where you are.

Loyalty Discount

honest-mobile-loyalty-discountThe carrier rewards loyalty with increasing monthly discounts. The Loyalty Discount increases by 5% each month and it’s capped at 30%. These discounts don’t apply to bolt-ons and additional charges though. Honest Mobile also offers a 10% discount when you purchase an annual membership, but sadly these two discounts can’t be combined together.

No Credit Checks

Honest Mobile’s deals work on a prepaid basis, meaning they don’t do any credit checks. You just pay for your tariff and you’re good to go.

Family/Group Plans

You can add as many SIMs as you want to your Honest Mobile account, which is great for families. However, there are no major benefits or discounts offered by the network, except data sharing across multiple SIMs. You can read our Best Family Mobile Plans guide to find out the best deal for your loved ones.

Carbon Neutral

honest-mobile-carbon-neutral-networkHonest Mobile is the UK’s first carbon neutral mobile network, meaning they offset all emissions associated with making calls, sending text messages or using data. They also do the same for running their HQ. On top of that, 1% of Honest Mobile’s revenue goes towards reforesting the world. Their Honest Mobile App even lets you track how many trees have been planted under your name.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

Half Cooked’s overall rating for Honest Mobile: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

  • Network Coverage and Speeds – Honest Mobile uses Three as its network provider. The carrier is offering 99% population coverage in the UK. Thanks to the Smart Signal feature, the network can also provide 3G&4G coverage from EE and O2.
  • Voice Call Quality – With the Smart Signal bolt-on you get the best 3G & 4G coverage in the UK. Without it your voice call quality is as good as Three customers get, which is still quite good, but not the best.
  • Tethering – Honest Mobile lets you tether freely, but remember, tethering burns through data at a much faster rate. Be careful!
  • Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling – You can benefit from Wi-Fi Calling via the Honest Mobile app, but 4G Calling (VoLTE) isn’t yet available.
  • Wi-Fi Hotspots – No exclusive Wi-Fi Hotspots for Honest Mobile customers. They can still use O2 WiFi and The Cloud though.
  • International Roaming – Honest Mobile customers can use their UK allowances in 43 destinations in Europe. There are no other special deals though.
  • Smart Signal – We love this feature. You gain access to both O2 and EE’s 3G & 4G network for £10 a month.
  • Loyalty Discount – Honest Mobile customers get up to a 30% loyalty discount, when they are customers for 6 consecutive months. Discounts increase 5% each month and they’re capped at 30%.
  • No Credit Checks – All Honest Mobile deals are prepaid, meaning there are no credit checks to pass.
  • Family/Group Plans – You can add as many SIMs as you want under your main account. You can also share data between these SIMs.
  • Carbon Neutral Network – Honest Mobile is the first and only carbon neutral mobile network in the UK. They offset all the emission they cause and 1% of their revenue goes to reforesting the planet.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What network does Honest Mobile use?

Honest Mobile’s main network provider is Three. The carrier also offers a bolt-on called Smart Signal, which allows your smartphone to switch to EE or O2 for network coverage.

Does Honest Mobile have an app?

Yes, Honest Mobile has a mobile app and we think it’s quite good. The app comes with Smart notifications and allows you to set a bill cap. You can also add more SIMs under your account, share data across multiple SIMs and track how many trees have been planted under your name.

How does Honest Mobile’s loyalty discount work?

The carrier’s Loyalty Discount programme increases each month reducing your bill. The amount of discount increases 5% each month and it’s capped at 30%. The discount doesn’t apply to Smart Signal bolt-on or the other bolt-ons.

Will I lose my Loyalty Discount if I change my plan?

No, your Loyalty Discount continues as usual. You can freely switch between plans. However, don’t forget that the loyalty discount won’t apply to Honest Mobile’s bolt-ons nor on usage outside your plan.

Does Honest Mobile offer handsets?

The network currently doesn’t offer phone deals, but they plan to. According to Honest Mobile’s official website, they’ll start offering mobile devices in late 2020.

Does Honest Mobile have 5G?

No, Honest Mobile doesn’t have 5G. Honest Mobile plans to offer 5G in Q3 2020.

Does Honest Mobile have 2G?

No, Honest Mobile is powered by Three, therefore doesn’t offer 2G. If your device only supports 2G, Honest Mobile SIMs won’t work with it.

Does Honest Mobile have WiFi Calling?

Yes, they do. Currently Honest Mobile’s WiFi Calling must be activated through the Honest Mobile app which you can download when you sign up.

Does Honest Mobile have 4G Calling (VoLTE)?

No, at the moment Honest Mobile doesn’t offer 4G Calling.

Does Honest Mobile support Apple Watches?

No, Honest Mobile doesn’t support 4G Apple Watches at the moment.

How much does Honest Mobile’s Smart Signal cost?

Honest Mobile’s Smart Signal costs £10 per month. You can turn it on and off whenever you want. Smart Signal may take up to 4 hours to activate when you initially toggle it on. Smart Signal will always default to choosing Three’s network, but if there’s no signal available it will search for an O2 or EE connection.

Can I manually switch between networks with Smart Signal?

On Apple phones you can manually choose Three (Honest Mobile), O2 or EE, however, Android devices won’t allow you to switch between networks.

Is my phone compatible with Smart Signal?

All Android and iPhone devices should work with Smart Signal. Keep in mind that on Android devices with Dual SIM, your phone will switch to the second SIM before your Honest Mobile SIM has a chance to switch network. Hence it’s not recommended to use Smart Signal with Dual SIM Androids.

Do I still pay the same if I switch networks?

Yes, your price plan won't change. Your monthly fee will remain the same.