Lebara Mobile Review 2020: Low-Cost Pay As You Go Network with International Calling

Lebara offers well priced SIM-only deals that include UK minutes, texts and data as well as inclusive international calling starting from £5/month

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Lebara Mobile is a virtual network operator powered by Vodafone and they offer two different types of price plans to their customers: 30-day SIM only plans and a classic pay as you go service.

Lebara Mobile uses Vodafone’s network to provide 4G, 3G and 2G coverage in the UK and they offer over 99% population coverage. Lebara’s UK landmass coverage is also quite good thanks to Vodafone’s infrastructure. Having said that the average download speeds of Lebara seems to lag behind its host network, but not significantly so you should still get decent data speeds.

The network still provides cheap international calls for both 30-day bundles and PAYG, but nowadays they also provide well priced SIM only plans that come with UK allowances.

Pro’s

  • Inclusive international calls.
  • Variety of 30-day bundles.
  • No credit checks.
  • Extra credit when you you top-up £20 or more.

Con’s

    • Low data allowances.
    • No 5G, or other extras & features.
    • Expensive add-ons.
    • No tethering

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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All Lebara Mobile SIM Only plans are valid for 30 days and they come with international minutes to 41 countries. If you have friends and family abroad, Lebara’s SIM only plans offer decent international call options.

Almost all their SIM Only offers also include unlimited UK minutes & texts, as well as unlimited international minutes. They also come with data options starting from 2GB all the way up to an unlimited data plan.

If you’re looking for another alternative specifically for international calling we’d recommend checking out Lycamobile. You can read our Lycamobile Review to discover their offers and extra features. You might also want to keep an eye on Lebara Mobile’s Black Friday SIM Only deals. We expect to see some major discounts from all the mobile network operators, including Lebara. Bookmark the page and be the first one to catch the Black Friday SIM Only discounts!

Pay As You Go

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Lebara Mobile also lets you use their traditional Pay As You Go at a rate of 25p/minute, 19p/text and 9p/MB of data. This isn’t the best value available in the market for PAYG calls, especially when you have an option like 1p Mobile.

Having said that, when you make calls or send texts to other Lebara numbers you won’t be charged for the first 30 days when you top-up (or buy a 30-day bundle) a minimum of £10. When you top-up £5, free minutes and SMS are only valid for seven days.

Their international calling rates are usually quite wallet-friendly, but these vary depending on which country you want to call.

If you plan to use your PAYG SIM in the UK, we strongly recommend checking out our 1p Mobile Review first.

Pay Monthly Phones

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Lebara Mobile doesn’t offer handsets so if you want to join their network you’ll be needing your own handset. Don’t worry though, Lebara offers a 3 in 1 type SIM, which means it should fit in all available handsets.

If you’re looking to get a handset from a mobile network, we recommend O2’s flexible phone deals. The carrier offers a wide range of devices from manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and others and you can split your bill into two: an Airtime bill & a phone bill. See our O2 Review to learn more about their phone deals.

Network Coverage & Speeds

2G, 3G and 4G Coverage

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Lebara Mobile is using Vodafone’s network to provide 4G, 3G and 2G coverage in the UK. Vodafone is the oldest mobile network operator in the UK and their infrastructure is one of the best. You’ll get over 99% 4G population coverage and they’re only second to EE in terms of UK landmass coverage.

According to the latest speed test results published by Open Signal, Vodafone’s average mobile download speeds are around 22.4Mbps, but a large number of Lebara Mobile customers have reported that their download speeds can be slower at times. However, they seem to be getting about 20 to 22Mbps on average so these download speeds are reasonably close.

If you want the absolute best mobile network in terms of 4G coverage we suggest EE or one of the MVNOs powered by them. You can read our EE Review to learn what makes them the best network for 4G network coverage.

5G Coverage

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Lebara Mobile doesn’t have 5G and the network is yet to announce a launch date for their 5G service. Their host network Vodafone offers 5G, but we don’t expect Lebara Mobile to provide 5G coverage any time soon.

If you want 5G coverage at a reasonable price we strongly recommend checking out Three’s SIM deals. They are competitively priced and offer great value, plus the network has the fastest 5G download speeds per OOKLA’s October 2020 network tests (speedtest.net). Even their traditional pay as you go customers can benefit from 5G coverage at no extra cost. You can read our Three Review to discover more about their 5G deals. You can also check out our Best 5G SIM Deals in the UK to find out the most suitable 5G SIM plan for you.

Voice Call Quality

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Lebara Mobile makes good use of Vodafone’s strong network coverage in the UK. According to the most recent networks tests performed by umlaut and Opensignal, Vodafone ranks second only behind EE. In fact, in some regions Vodafone even overtakes EE in terms of voice call quality.

In the last two years Vodafone has been improving their network at a faster rate than all the other major network operators in the UK. Lebara Mobile wasn’t tested, but since the network is powered by Vodafone their test results would be identical. You can read our Vodafone Review if you wish to learn more about this topic. You may also want to have a look at our Vodafone Basics Plans Review and see how you can get great voice call quality for even cheaper prices. Alternatively you can opt for the network’s Big Value Bundles, which offer both 4G and 5G coverage starting from £10/month.

Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

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If you have 4G Calling you can make and receive calls over a 4G network. It’s actually the same as making a regular phone call over 2G and 3G, but your calls will have higher audio quality and you’ll connect faster. This feature also eliminates many indoor blackspots.

Wi-Fi Calling keeps your phone connected when your cellular service isn’t available or you’re having poor connection. You can make and receive calls even when you’re not getting any phone signal.

Unfortunately neither 4G Calling nor Wi-Fi Calling are offered by Lebara Mobile. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative with these features we recommend iD Mobile’s competitively priced SIM Only plans. If you want to learn more about the network and their deals you can read our iD Mobile Review.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

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Unfortunately, Lebara Mobile doesn’t offer any free Wi-Fi hotspots, you don’t get to benefit from this data saving feature anywhere in the UK. The carrier doesn’t offer any type of data rollover perks either.

Lebara Mobile customers can still benefit from Sky Mobile’s The Cloud and O2 WiFi at no extra cost, but these aren’t exclusive deals as they’re available to all mobile network customers in the country, provided their phones support it.

If you want to maximise saving your data through free Wi-Fi hotspots we recommend having a look at BT Mobile or Virgin Mobile. Both networks offer millions of free Wi-Fi hotspots, exclusive to their customers. You can read our BT Mobile Review and Virgin Mobile Review to discover more about them!

Tethering

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On Lebara Mobile you can use your data allowance to tether multiple devices or create a mobile hotspot. Always keep in mind that when tethering, the data used will come out of your monthly allowance and surcharges apply if you go over your plan’s allowance. We strongly suggest opting for an unlimited data plan, or at least a large data plan if you want to tether on a regular basis. You can read our ‘How much mobile data do I need?’ guide to find out what kind of mobile data user you are and then decide if tethering is right for your budget.

We usually recommend SMARTY’s SIM Only deals for tethering, because you can get loads of data at a super-cheap price point. In fact, the network offers one of the cheapest unlimited data plans in the UK. Read our SMARTY Review to find out more! Superdrug Mobile’s Unlimited Plan is also a good alternative, plus both networks are powered by Three, meaning you get the exact same network coverage, but with different benefits. You can discover what benefits await you by reading our Superdrug Mobile Review.

International Roaming

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You can use your Lebara Mobile UK allowances when travelling to an EU or EEA country at no extra cost. If you’re using Lebara’s traditional pay as you go service, you will be charged at domestic rates. Plus, all Lebara Mobile plans come with international minutes to 41 countries, so you’re covered both in the UK and abroad.

Lebara customers can use their UK plan allowances to keep connected in India as well. You’re allowed to use upto 10GB data, 200 minutes to call within India or back to the UK, 200 minutes of incoming calls and upto 200 SMS to India or the UK at no extra cost. As for Lebara PAYG customers, standard UK charging rates will apply.

Some of the Lebara plans are subject to a fair use policy. Lebara Mobile’s call, text and data rates vary outside their inclusive roaming zone.

If Lebara’s roaming isn’t covering your travel destination you can also read our Best UK Networks for International Roaming guide and find the most suitable network for your international roaming needs.

Lebara Mobile’s Features

Unlimited International Calls

At the time of writing, Lebara Mobile offers six price plans to choose from and outside the two starter bundles they all come with unlimited international minutes to 41 different countries.

Unlimited Data Plan

Lebara Mobile’s unlimited data plan also comes with unlimited international minutes to 41 countries as well as unlimited UK minutes and texts. This plan is the ultimate deal for calling abroad, but it’s priced at £35/month. At the moment you get 4G data with this plan as Lebara currently doesn’t offer 5G. We still believe this plan offers great value if your friends and family live abroad. Alternatively you can check out VOXI’s unlimited data plan that comes with 5G and other benefits. We’d recommend opting for VOXI’s unlimited plan if you’re mainly going to use your SIM or calling UK phone numbers. You can read our VOXI Review and decide which plan suits you the best. VOXI is also powered by Vodafone so you’ll be getting the same network coverage regardless of your choice.

Student Discount

You can benefit from Lebara Mobile’s student discount by registering with Student Beans. You’ll get 50% off on all SIM Only plans, after you sign up with Student Beans, copy your discount code and use it at checkout.

No Credit Checks

You don’t have to undergo a credit check to join Lebara Mobile, their plans are contract-free and work on a prepaid basis. They also offer a traditional pay as you go service, but we’d suggest looking at other options as well since their rates aren’t the best for the UK. You can read our best pay as you go deals in the UK guide to find the most suitable PAYG plan for you. Let’s say you’re on Lebara Mobile, but not happy with the network for a reason. Because you’re not locked into a contract, you won’t have to cancel your mobile contract. You can simply switch to a new mobile network operator and keep your current number.

Refer & Earn

You can earn up to £50 per referral when you invite your friends and family to join Lebara. All you have to do is log on to your Lebara account, get your unique referral link and share it with your friends and family.

Cash rewards start from £10 and you can earn £50 when you refer a friend to Lebara’s SIM Only Plan with 25GB of data. Another great thing about this reward programme is there’s currently no cap on the number of referrals you can do. You’ll get your referral reward within 60 days of a successful referral.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

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

  • Network Coverage and Speeds – Lebara Mobile is powered by Vodafone. The network offers 4G, 3G and 2G coverage. Vodafone is the second best mobile network in the UK in terms of network coverage and average data speeds.
  • 5G Coverage – At the time of writing Lebara Mobile doesn’t offer 5G.
  • Voice Call Quality – Lebara Mobile customers enjoy high quality voice calls thanks to Vodafone’s great infrastructure.
  • Tethering – You can freely tether to any device you want on Lebara Mobile, however, always remember that you’ll burn through data at a much faster rate when tethering.
  • Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling – Unfortunately, 4G Calling (VoLTE) or Wi-Fi Calling aren’t available on Lebara.
  • Wi-Fi Hotspots – There are no exclusive free Wi-Fi hotspots for Lebara Mobile customers.
  • International Roaming – ou can use your UK allowances in the EU, EEA and India, but that’s really it. No add-ons or special deals for further inclusive roaming.
  • Unlimited International Calls – 4 out of 6 Lebara Mobile plans come with unlimited international calls to 41 destinations.
  • Unlimited Data Plan – Lebara Mobile offers an unlimited data plan bundled with unlimited international minutes to 41 destinations across the world.
  • No Credit Checks – You don’t need to go through any credit checks to get a Lebara SIM Only deal.
  • Refer & Earn – You can generate a unique link and invite your friends/family to join Lebara Mobile. You can earn up to £50 cash rewards.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What network does Lebara Mobile use?

Lebara Mobile runs on the Vodafone network offering fast and reliable 4G coverage, as well as 3G and 2G. The network’s average download speeds are around 20mbps.

Do I need to pass a credit check to get a Lebara SIM Only deal?

No, you don’t have to undergo any credit checks to get a Lebara SIM and SIM Only deal. You can start using your Lebara Mobile SIM right away.

Can I get a Lebara SIM Only deal if I have a bad credit history?

Yes, you easily can. Lebara SIM only plans are available for everyone and the network doesn’t do credit checks. Even if you have a bad credit history you can get one of their SIM Only deals.

Can I cancel my Lebara Mobile plan?

Lebara SIM Only plans are 30-day rolling tariffs, meaning you can change or cancel them anytime.

Do I get inclusive roaming in the EU on Lebara Mobile?

Yes, roaming in the EU is free on the Lebara network, but some plans are subject to fair use policies.

Can I keep my existing phone number when switching to a Lebara plan?

Yes, you can keep your phone number if you wish to switch to Lebara Mobile. In fact, you will also receive a £10 top-up credit from Lebara as a welcome bonus. Just text PAC to 65075 from your current operator and get your PAC code. Then activate your Lebara SIM and pass it on the PAC Code to Lebara. Your number will be moved on the date selected by you.

Does Lebara have 5G?

No, Lebara Mobile currently doesn’t support 5G. The network was a bit slow to switch to 4G as well, and they didn’t announce a launch date for 5G yet.

Does Lebara offer 4G Calling or Wi-Fi Calling?

Unfortunately, 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling are two services Lebara Mobile customers don’t get to benefit from.