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

You can generate a unique link and invite your friends/family to Lycamobile. If they make a purchase you’ll earn rewards.

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Lycamobile is one of the better mobile networks, if your goal is to make affordable international calls on a regular basis. The MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) is specialised in international calls. They offer great international calling rates and their pay as you go bundles include international minutes.

Lycamobile uses O2 as its network provider, and offers decent 4G coverage in the UK. The carrier also provides 2G and 3G coverage when 4G isn’t available. In its core, Lycamobile is a basic mobile network since there are no special features or extras besides international calling benefits. The network doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi hotspots, 4G Calling, and Wi-Fi calling.

The network’s SIM Only deals work on a prepaid basis, meaning there are no credit checks to pass. Their customers can buy a 30-day SIM only bundle with UK minutes, texts and data. Some specific bundles also offer international minutes allowances of up to 500 minutes.

Pro’s

  • Inclusive international call bundles & great rates for PAYG international calls.
  • Unlimited international minutes plan.
  • No credit checks required.
  • Discounts when purchasing certain plans online.

Con’s

    • No 5G coverage.
    • No free Wi-Fi, 4G Calling or Wi-Fi Calling.

No tethering

Half Cooked’s overall rating for Honest Mobile: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Table of Contents

Plans & Pricing

SIM Only Deals

Lycamobile SIM Deals

Lycamobile’s SIM Only plans offer single packs of minutes, texts and mobile data that are valid for 30 days. The network offers two types of SIM only deals: Pay monthly bundles and a traditional pay as you go service.

Pay monthly bundles offer greater value and they’re the cheaper option overall, if you’re not a light mobile data user. On top of that Lycamobile’s SIM Only plans are commitment-free, meaning you’re not locked into any kind of time-bound contract. You may also switch to traditional pay as you go once your bundle is over. All Lycamobile SIMs come with 4G, however the network currently doesn’t offer 5G coverage. As stated above, Lycamobile is famous for their low-cost international phone call deals and most plans include some inclusive international minutes. Some plans also give you unlimited international calls.

Lycamobile proposes six different types of pay monthly bundles: National, International, Student Plan, Monthly Plan, Data & Three Month Plans.

National Plans

These plans start from £5/month offering 1000 UK minutes & texts along with 2GB of data & 100 international minutes. There’s also an unlimited 4G data plan under this category, but it doesn’t have any international minutes.

Data
Minutes, Texts, Int. MinutesPrice
2GB
1000 UK mins, 1000 UK Texts, 100 International mins.
£5.00
6GB
1000 UK mins, 1000 UK Texts, 100 International mins.
£10.00
16GB1000 UK mins, 1000 UK Texts, 100 International mins.
£15.00
Unlimited1000 UK mins, 1000 UK Texts, 100 International mins.
£30.00

International Plans

Lycamobile’s International Plans don’t come with a lot of data. The largest data allowance you can get is 10GB of data with their All in one Plus 20 plan. This deal has unlimited UK minutes & texts, as well as unlimited international minutes to selected countries.

If you opt for the All in one Plus 15 plan, you get 5GB of data per month, unlimited UK minutes & texts, unlimited international minutes and 1000 minutes to India.

Pakistan Plus S gives you 500 international minutes to selected destinations, including Pakistan, which is normally absent on other tariffs. However, you only get 1GB of data allowance, 500 UK minutes and 100 UK texts.

The All in One 10 option gives you 1GB of data, 500UK minutes, 1000 UK Texts and 500 international minutes per month.

Data
Minutes, Texts, Int. MinutesPrice
1GB (All in One Plus 10)500 UK Mins, 1000 UK Texts, 500 International Mins£5.00
1GB (Pakistan Plus S)500 UK Mins, 100 UK Texts, 500 International minutes including Pakistan£10.00
5GB (All in One Plus 15)Unlimited UK Mins & Texts, International Mins. + 1000 mins to India£15.00
10GB (All in One Plus 20)Unlimited UK Minutes & Texts, International Mins.£30.00

Student Plans

Lycamobile’s Student Plans aren’t that wallet-friendly, but they’re still a good option if you’re studying in the UK and your loved ones are living abroad. These plans start from £10/month with 2GB of data, and go all the way up to £25/month with 15GB of data, unlimited UK minutes & texts and 100 international minutes.

Value Saver plan gives you unlimited calls to other Lycamobile customers, wherever they might be.

Data
Minutes, Texts, Int. MinutesPrice
2GB (Student Pass)1000 UK Mins, 100 International Mins, Unlimited UK Texts £10.00
3GB (Value Saver)1000 UK Mins, Unlimited UK Texts, Unlimited Lyca to Lyca calls£12.00
6GB (Data Saver)Unlimited UK Minutes & Texts, 100 International Mins£15.00
15GB (Data Lovers)Unlimited UK Minutes & Texts, 100 International Mins£25.00

Monthly Plans

Lycamobile’s Monthly Plans are exceptions to their regular SIM Only deals, as these are 12 month contracts starting from £5 a month. You save a lot of money when you opt for a 12 month contract, however you’ll be locked into a long-term contract and lose the flexibility Lycamobile offers.

Data
Minutes, Texts, Int. MinutesPrice
1GB (Pay Monthly Plan S)500 UK Mins, 500 UK Texts, 500 International Mins£5.00
4GB (Pay Monthly Plan M)Unlimited UK Mins & Texts, 100 International Mins£8.00
10GB (Pay Monthly Plan L)Unlimited UK Mins & Texts, 100 International Mins£15.00

Keep in mind that discounted prices are applicable for the first 3 months only. Starting from your fourth month they will increase back to the standard rate.

Data Only Plans

As you can guess, these plans only offer mobile data and nothing more besides inclusive EU roaming.

Data
Minutes, Texts, Int. MinutesPrice
500MB (Data 5)-£5.00
1GB (Data 7.5)-£7.50
2GB (Data 10)-£10.00
3GB (Data 12)-£12.50

Three Month Plans

These are Lycamobile’s price plans which are valid for 90 days. Having said that, they’re not contract deals. They also work on a prepaid basis and they’re greatly discounted. International calls are not included, but you get unlimited UK calls and texts.

These deals are only available through online purchases using a debit/credit card.

Data
Minutes, Texts, Int. MinutesPrice
6GB (Three Month Plan S)Unlimited UK Calls & Texts£15.00
16GB (Three Month Plan M)Unlimited UK Calls & Texts£22.50
40GB Three Month Plan L)Unlimited UK Calls & Texts£30.00

Alternatively you can wait for the Black Friday Sales as they are just around the corner. Over the Black Friday period most mobile network operators in the UK slash their prices. If you want to be the first one to know about these deals make sure to bookmark our Black Friday SIM Only Deals and Offers 2020 page!

Pay As You Go

Lycamobile pay as you go deals

The network also offers an old school pay as you go service. You can simply get a free SIM card and top-up. Then you can start making calls, sending texts and/or browsing the internet. You won’t have to purchase a monthly bundle or sign up for a long-term contract. This is Lycamobile’s most flexible offer.

Lycamobile’s PAYG customers can call or text other Lyca customers for free. You can see Lycamobile’s rates below:

Call Rates: UK Landlines – 12p/minute, UK mobile phones 19p/minute, Special Numbers: 29p/minute

Messaging Rates: 19p/text

Data Rates: 12p/MB

The network’s international pay as you go rates vary from one country to another, therefore we recommend using Lycamobile’s official website to check the rates for the country you wish to call. If you’re looking for a UK based PAYG SIM we strongly recommend 1p Mobile, as they offer the best rates plus they use EE’s network. Read our 1p Mobile Review to discover more!

Pay Monthly Phones

Lycamobile Pay Monthly Phones

 

You can get a handset from Lycamobile. The network has smartphones from the top tier manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung. There are also more budget friendly options such as Oppo, Hammer, Alcatel, Rokit and Doro.

The network gives you multiple options when you’re purchasing a phone from them. You can buy the handset outright by paying in full with a credit or debit card. Alternatively you can spread the cost of the device with a choice of monthly payments (6,12,24 or 36 months). You’re also given the option to make as little as 3 equal monthly instalments. The last option is “Buy now, pay later”, which lets you pay 30 days after the delivery of your phone.

You can also get your device insured from LycaInsurance. If you have poor credit history, or no credit history at all getting a contract handset will be hard. If that’s the case we strongly recommend reading our Mobile Phone Credit Checks Explained guide.

Network Coverage & Speeds

2G, 3G and 4G Coverage

Lycamobile 4G Network Coverage

Lycamobile is using O2 as its mobile network provider, this means their customers get identical coverage on 4G, 3G and 2G in the UK. O2’s 4G population coverage is over 99%, but when it comes to UK landmass coverage O2 and therefore Lycamobile trail behind the likes of EE and Vodafone.

According to Open Signal’s October 2020 speed test report O2 has the slowest data speeds among the four major network operators in the UK. Since their data speeds are identical, we can say that Lycamobile’s average download speeds are around 18Mbps, while their average upload speeds are measured at 8Mbps.

If you want the best 4G coverage in the UK with the fastest download speeds we strongly recommend checking out EE. The network has the widest 4G coverage (also 5G) in the UK, plus EE’s download speeds average around 36Mbps. They also offer the fastest average upload speeds averaging around 9Mbps. Read our EE Review to learn more!

5G Coverage

Lycamobile 5G Coverage

Being a low-cost mobile virtual network operator, Lycamobile currently doesn’t support 5G. However, the host network, O2, provides 5G coverage in 75 cities and towns in the UK. Looking only at OOKLA’s October 2020 5G download speed tests, O2 is the second fastest  mobile network in the UK with download speeds at 176.9Mbps. If you want to check out the network’s 5G coverage make sure to have a look at our O2 Review.

If you want O2’s 5G coverage and download speeds with cheaper prices we also recommend checking out Tesco Mobile’s 5G service. You can even get an unlimited 5G data plan from Tesco Mobile. Another O2 powered MVNO, Sky Mobile also offers 5G, free for their VIP customers. Their regular customers can opt to pay an extra £5/month and enjoy 5G speeds as well. Make sure to read our Best 5G SIM Only Deals in the UK guide too!

Voice Call Quality

Lycamobile Voice Call Quality

When it comes to voice call quality, we prefer to trust independent testing bodies like Open Signal, umlaut and OOKLA. They are widely accepted as authoritative & objective when it comes to network testing.

O2 used to trail far behind the other major providers, but they made considerable improvements over the last few years and they now offer top-notch voice call quality. O2 even managed to leapfrog Three according to the latest test results and the carrier is slowly closing the gap with Vodafone. O2 is currently ranked as the third best mobile network in the country with a score of ‘satisfactory’, overtaking Three.

We also recommend checking out giffgaff’s flexible goodybags, if you want to stay on O2’s network, but don’t want to sign up for a long term contract. You can read our giffgaff Review to learn everything you need to know about the low-cost MVNO.

Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

Lycamobile 4G Calling & WiFi Calling

4G Calling (also known as VoLTE) is a service that lets you make and take calls over a mobile network’s 4G network. This feature also eliminates most indoor blackspots.

When 4G calling is turned on (provided your phone, network operator and plan supports it) your phone will stay on 4G so your internet won’t slow down. You’ll be able to use data at 4G speeds even during a phone call.

Wi-Fi Calling uses an available Wi-Fi connection rather than using your carrier’s network connection and keeps you connected even when you’re not getting any phone signal. Your handset can make a voice call via your Wi-Fi network.

Most MVNOs opt out of these two perks to offer more competitive prices, and Lycamobile is one of them. 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling aren’t available to Lycamobile customers. If you want to benefit from these two perks, but don’t want to sign up for a long-term contract we strongly recommend checking out iD Mobile’s deals. You can also read our iD Mobile Review to discover all the other great features of the carrier.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

Lycamobile Free WiFi

As a Lycamobile customer you can enjoy Sky Mobile’s The Cloud service and O2 WiFi at no extra cost, but these are not exclusive deals. Any mobile network customer with a smartphone can use these free Wi-Fi hotspots. Lycamobile doesn’t offer any special free Wi-Fi deals.

If you want to save your mobile data wherever possible, we’d recommend checking out BT Mobile or Virgin Mobile. Both networks offer millions of free Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK and in the EU, exclusive to their customers. Alternatively you can purchase a BT Wi-Fi membership. Make sure to have a look at our BT Mobile Review and Virgin Mobile Review to find out everything you need to know about these networks.

Tethering

Lycamobile Tethering

Tethering refers to using your mobile phone as a personal hotspot. This action allows other compatible devices to connect to your handset and use your mobile data. Compatible devices include laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and such.

Unfortunately, Lycamobile doesn’t allow tethering on any of their price plans. Pretty much all the other mobile network operators in the UK allow tethering at no extra cost so this is a major letdown.

Tethering can burn through your data at a much faster rate, so we recommend opting for an unlimited data plan, or at least a large data plan. SMARTY is a great choice when it comes to tethering. Their deals are competitively priced, contract-free and SMARTY’s unlimited data plans are always one of the cheapest in the UK, if not the cheapest. Read our SMARTY Review and you’ll discover more and more about the carrier and their amazingly priced, no credit check SIM Only plans.

International Roaming

Lycamobile International Roaming

All Lycamobile plans come with inclusive EU roaming, but there’s no extra add-ons to increase the amount of countries where you can use your UK allowances. The network’s great for international calls from the UK, but not the best option when it comes to roaming.

For frequent travellers we strongly suggest checking out Vodafone’s roaming focused price plans. You can read our Vodafone Review and find out all about the carrier’s roaming passes, coverage and data speeds, as well as their plan prices.

Lycamobile Features

Unlimited International Calls

Almost all Lycamobile plans come with inclusive international minutes, but some certain plans offer unlimited international calls to 40 destinations. These plans almost always include unlimited UK minutes & texts too. However, they don’t offer as much data as some of the other tariffs. If you’re a heavy data user, you might want to look for alternatives.

Unlimited Data Plan

The network offers an unlimited 4G data plan priced at £30/month. On top of that, if you’re a new online customer you’ll pay £19/month for the first 90 days and after that £25/month. When purchasing from a retail store there are no discounts available though. This plan doesn’t include any international minutes either. However, at this price we’d recommend having a look at VOXI’s unlimited data plan as it’s only £5 more and it comes with more features, including 5G support. Read our VOXI Review and all your questions about the network will be answered!

No Credit Checks

Lycamobile plans require no credit checks to pass which essentially makes them commitment-free. You can simply pay in advance for one of their monthly bundles, or use the network as a traditional pay as you go service. You may also want to check out our best pay as you go deals in the UK. Unhappy with Lycamobile? Since you don’t have to cancel a mobile contract you can switch to a new mobile network and even keep your current phone number.

Refer & Earn

You can earn up to £20 for each friend that you bring on board. All you have to do is generate your unique link and invite friends to Lycamobile. Once they make a successful purchase your reward will be on its way.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

Half Cooked’s overall rating for Honest Mobile: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

  • Network Coverage and Speeds – Lycamobile uses O2’s network to provide 4G, 3G and 2G coverage. The carrier is offering 99% population coverage in the UK, but lags behind the likes of EE & Vodafone in terms of UK landmass coverage.
  • 5G Coverage – Currently, Lycamobile doesn’t support 5G.
  • Voice Call Quality – Lycamobile customers get the exact same network coverage O2 customers do. They get decent 4G coverage across the UK, but not the best. Top spot belongs to EE.
  • Tethering – Lycamobile doesn’t allow tethering.
  • Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling – These two voice call quality improving features are not included in any of the Lycamobile price plans.
  • Wi-Fi Hotspots – Sadly, there are no exclusive Wi-Fi Hotspots for Lycamobile customers.
  • International Roaming – Lycamobile customers can use their UK allowances in the EU, but that’s it. Most of the deals also include international call allowance though, at least you can call abroad from the UK.
  • Unlimited International Calls – Lycamobile’s best feature is unlimited international calls to 40 destinations across the world. One of the deals also give you 1000 minutes to India.
  • Unlimited Data Plan – You can get an unlimited data plan from Lycamobile. If you purchase this deal online you’ll get major discounts too.
  • No Credit Checks – Lycamobile offers pay monthly bundles and a traditional pay as you go service. You don’t have to undergo a credit check to join the network.
  • Refer & Earn – You can generate a unique link and invite your friends/family to Lycamobile. If they make a purchase you’ll earn rewards.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What network does Lycamobile use?

Lycamobile is powered by O2’s network. The mobile virtual network operator is specialised in low-cost international calls.

Is Lycamobile the best for international calls?

We think Lebara’s rates are a bit more wallet-friendly, but Lycamobile certainly has great offers too. In some countries giffgaff rates are the best. At the end of the day, it all depends on which country you want to call.

Does Lycamobile have 4G Calling (VoLTE)?

No, at least not at the moment. Lycamobile doesn’t support 4G Calling.

Does Lycamobile offer Wi-Fi Calling?

No, Lycamobile doesn’t support Wi-Fi Calling either.

Does Lycamobile have 5G?

At the moment Lycamobile doesn’t have 5G and they might not offer it for the foreseeable future as they’ve made no announcements about it yet.

Are there any exclusive free Wi-Fi hotspots for Lycamobile customers?

No, unfortunately Lycamobile customers don’t get to benefit from exclusive free Wi-Fi deals.

Can I get a pay as you go SIM from Lycamobile?

Yes you can and Lycamobile’s pay as you go rates aren’t bad either. The network offers great rates for international calling.

Does Lycamobile have an unlimited plan?

Yes, and you even get a discount if you purchase the plan online via a credit/debit card.

Can I keep my phone number when switching to Lycamobile?

Yes, you can. Just get your PAC code from your current operator and submit it on Lycamobile’s website once you get your free SIM.