Feb 28th, 2019
- Running on the EE network – best coverage & fastest speeds
- Cheap SIM only deals starting at £6
- Easy to use Spending Caps to prevent any bill shocks
- No data rollover or unused data
- Plans aimed towards low data users
- No free entertainment packages or customer rewards
Half Cooked’s overall rating for Plusnet: (4 / 5)
Plusnet Mobile offer competitively priced SIM deals starting from £6 a month whilst running on EE, the UK’s fastest & most reliable network. With access to roaming in 40 EU destinations, you’ll be covered if you travel abroad and their Smart Cap helps ensure you don’t receive any bill shocks.
Despite this, you won’t be getting some of the additional perks you would with some of the larger networks which offer free access to popular subscription based services such as Apple Music or unlimited streaming on Netflix. But for a mobile plan which gets the basics right at a price point that can be as low as £6 a month Half Cooked recommends Plusnet as a good cheap and cheerful provider.
Click here to go direct to plusnet mobile’s website and see their latest SIM offers.
Skip to the half cooked breakdown to find out how plusnet performed in each of our main categories by clicking here.
Otherwise read on for our full review or skip to a specific section from choosing from the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
Network Coverage & Speeds
Network Coverage & Speeds (5 / 5)
Plusnet mobile is an MVNO meaning it doesn’t have its own network but instead piggybacks off of a larger network, in this case EE. Using EE’s network plusnet benefits from the fact that it’s customers have access to the largest mobile network in the UK. With 99% 4G coverage & 98% 2G & 3G coverage you will struggle to be without network access on your SIM.
However, before you purchase you can always use plusnet’s coverage checker to find out the quality of network coverage in your area.
Per Open Signal for H1 2018 EE leads the way in terms of network speeds with an average download speed on 4G of 29 MB/s the closest competitor is Three who trails behind with an average data speed of 23 MB/s.
EE now have 4G+ in certain areas of London which can push data speeds up to 90 MB/s however currently this is not available to plusnet customers. Plusnet has no mention of any type of speed caps so you should expect to hit speeds of 30 MB/s when using a plusnet SIM.
Voice Call Quality (4 / 5)
Using EE’s network we can look at their performance in recent call quality tests to understand the service quality of voice calls you can expect to receive using plusnet’s SIM’s.
The EE network has 2G, 3G & 4G spectrum which has good quality indoor and rural coverage.
If we look at tests run by P3 communications which are considered the gold standard for independent testing of service quality EE comes out on top of all the major operators with a grade of ‘very good’ for both voice and data as well as a high degree of operational excellence.
One thing to note however is that because this was a test on EE’s network this could be due to factors such as 4G voice calling which currently isn’t available to plusnet customers. Unfortunately there is currently no testing done for virtual network such as plusnet.
Tethering (5 / 5)
Tethering is using the data you have on your SIM and creating a mini Wi-Fi hotspot to connect other Wi-Fi enabled devices to the internet. These days this is a common benefit found among several networks as is also offered by plusnet mobile.
You can tether on all plusnet plans which puts it above some of its low-price competitors such as iD Mobile. Your usage while tethering isn’t limited, however if you are going to tether you will likely use up your data faster and should check out the cost of their ‘bolt-ons’ which can get pricey with 1GB costing £6.
International Roaming (3 / 5)
In terms of roaming you can expect to get free roaming within your normal plan anywhere in the EU. This is in line with the EU regulation changes in June 2017 and means there are 40 EU destinations you can use your plusnet mobile SIM in for free.
Anywhere outside of the EU will be charged per min, text & MB of data that you use – this information is available on plusnet’s website where they price countries depending on which of the pre-determined bands they fall into.
Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots (1 / 5)
Wi-Fi calling is an option available with several providers which allows customers to send texts & place calls using Wi-Fi instead of using their mobile network. This is particularly useful if you are in an indoor area with poor coverage.
Plusnet unfortunately do not offer Wi-Fi calling – Wi-Fi calling is generally only found on the more expensive networks such as the big 4 of O2, EE, Vodafone & Three. Although iD Mobile is one of the cheaper MVNO’s that also offer and keep their price plans very competitive. We recommend using the coverage checker to understand the coverage you will have at home and work and decide how much you will need the option of Wi-Fi calling.
Wi-Fi hotspots are a great perk for saving on your data usage but unfortunately not offered by plusnet mobile. This is again another perk associated with the more expensive operators with O2 having over 7,000 Wi-Fi spots in the UK.
But these days with many open Wi-Fi networks available in public locations such as shopping centres, bars & restaurants you’ll probably find this won’t be an issue.
Data Rollover (1 / 5)
Data rollover means you can roll your unused data from one month to the next. For e.g. if you have a 2GB plan and only use 1GB the following month you will have 3GB as the extra 1GB would be rolled over.
This is somewhere plusnet scores poorly, a lot of the network providers are now offering customers to carry over their data to at least the following month. An example of another low-cost provider whose prices are comparable with plusnet’s is SMARTY mobile who actually offer money off for unused data.
More often than not, you tend to find you have some data leftover at the end of the month and with a number of operators providing the option to carry that data forward or even money off your bill plusnet can’t compete.
Spending Caps (5 / 5)
Spending caps are a great way to control your monthly phone bill and to prevent any nasty surprises come the end of the month.
Plusnet Mobile offer a great flexible way to control your spending. Whether you are looking to put a cap on your own spending or if the SIM is purchased for one of your kids, plusnet will automatically put on a Smart Cap of £10 and this can be changed to be anywhere between £0-£30 in £1 increments.
This can be updated whenever you want in case your spending habits change.
Customer Rewards (3 / 5)
Customer rewards are now a stable in the mobile industry, a number of the providers are offering extra perks to customers to incentivise customers to either join them or deter them from leaving.
Plusnet offer a perk for any of their existing broadband customers. If you have a broadband or home phone service with plus net you get ‘Mates Rates’. This means that any plan you choose will have double data and for each existing customer they get up to 5 Mates Rates mobile accounts. This is a great little perk that rewards loyalty.
Multi Buy Discounts/ Family Plans (1 / 5)
Some networks are now offering customers discounts on any additional SIM or phone contract purchases they make to incentivise people to sign up their family & friends.
Plusnet Mobile currently don’t offer any discounts to customers in the form of Multi buy or family plans. With prices, already very low, starting at £6 there isn’t much room for discounts.
Some of the bigger operators offer discounts, however you may find after you calculate the discount you might still be better off with a plusnet plan.
Other Perks (1 / 5)
Several networks have started to offer inclusive entertainment packages & free data streaming as an incentive for customers to join.
Inclusive entertainment packages are something currently not offered by plusnet. EE for e.g. offers free access to Apple Music for contract customers. Again, this perk is not offered by any of the lower cost MVNO’s to remain competitive at their price point.
You also won’t find any free social media streaming such as that with Three’s ‘Go Binge’ proposition which helps you save significant data on popular apps such as Netflix & Apple Music.
You might not find great perks with Plusnet but you will be hard pushed to get the same value that they offer amongst many other operators. If you do value these perks we recommend looking at Three, O2 or EE.
Sim Only Deals
Plusnet only offer 5 one month SIM only deals. These range from £6 to £15 and are targeted towards generally lower data users.
Their entry level plan is £6 and offers 250 minutes, 500 texts & 250 MB of data with their top end plan at £15 offering unlimited minutes & unlimited texts with 4GB of data.
If you generally use more than 4GB of data a month and are looking for a low cost SIM only deal we don’t recommend plusnet as any additional data can become pricey. With a 1GB bolt on costing £6. However, if you are a low data user plusnet could be the perfect network for you.
Plusnet currently only offer SIM only deals and don’t have any phone contracts or PAYG plans.
Half Cooked Overall Breakdown
Half Cooked’s overall rating for Plusnet:
(4 / 5)
- Network Coverage and Speeds – Plusnet runs on EE’s network which has 99% 4G coverage and also has the quickest data speeds on the market.
- Voice Call Quality – P3 Comms rated voice call quality as ‘very good’ for both voice and data.
- Tethering – Tethering is available on all Plusnet mobile deals.
- International Roaming – All EU destinations included per regulations but no other additional destinations included.
- Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots – Plusnet don’t offer Wi-Fi calling or Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Data Rollover – Data rollover isn’t available with Plusnet – you have to use all your data or lose it at the end of the month.
- Spending Caps – Smart Cap means you can limit your overspend on your plan from anywhere between £0-£30 so you won’t be getting any nasty bill shocks.
- Customer Rewards – If you’re a Plusnet Broadband customer you can get double data across all mobile plans.
- Multi Buy Discounts / Family Plans – No family plans available to Plusnet Mobile customers due to already highly competitive pricing.
- Other Perks – Competitive data deals for Plusnet means no extra perks such as unlimited streaming.