Apr 10th, 2019
- Money off your bill for any unused data
- No credit check SIM product
- Free month for referring customers
- Competitive prices
- Data plans limited to 8GB.
- Webchat only customer service.
- No free entertainment packages or Wi-Fi Calling.
Half Cooked’s overall rating for SMARTY: (4 / 5)
SMARTY offers very competitively priced 1 month SIM only plans for lower to middle tier data users. Being simple and honest means you know exactly what you get with SMARTY with no nasty bill shocks. No credit checks mean anyone can become a SMARTY customer and their 1 month SIM only plans you can cancel at any point. With their 14 day money back guarantee you can be assured if the service isn’t up to what you expect you can receive a full refund.
However, if you are a heavy data user that’s looking for some additional perks some of the larger providers offer SMARTY probably isn’t best for you.
To sum it up, Half Cooked believes SMARTY is a great all-rounder for people looking for a cheaper option for their phone contract.
Skip to the Half Cooked summary to find out how SMARTY performed in each of our main categories by checking the table of contents below.
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 (4 / 5)
SMARTY Mobile is owned directly by Three mobile and benefits from running on the Three network, you will get the same data speeds as a Three customer with your SMARTY SIM.
Per Open Signal for H1 2018 Three is only behind EE in terms of data speeds with an average download speed on 4G of 23 MB/s vs EE who leads the way with 29MB/s.
Three despite winning the uSwitch Mobile 2017 award for ‘The best network for data’ voted for by consumers fell behind giffgaff in 2018.
Network coverage with SMARTY is strong with 99.8% 4G coverage and 98.3% 3G coverage. SMARTY also has a coverage checker which will let you know the quality of coverage in your area.
Voice Call Quality (3 / 5)
With SMARTY running on Three’s network we need to look at Three’s recent performances in call quality tests to understand the service you will receive with your SMARTY SIM.
Three only operates on the 3G & 4G network and does not use any 2G spectrum. Three offers 4G super voice which means increased indoor and rural coverage. This means users can make calls in areas they couldn’t before and signals are stronger than ever. The faster data speeds mean information can be sent faster and better call clarity. To have access to this you need to ensure your phone is 4G compatible.
However, looking at tests run by P3 communications, an independent testing body who have widely been accepted as authoritative and highly objective, Three came third out of the major operators with a score of ‘good’ with call connection times being the main reason for tracking behind EE and Vodafone. Considerably longer call set up times were observed in larger cities – about 1.5 seconds longer.
Tethering (4 / 5)
SMARTY’s slogan is simple, honest mobile. With that, it allows customers to use their SMARTY data in any way they like, which includes tethering from their mobile device.
Unlike several other mobile networks, tethering from your SMARTY SIM will not be throttled.
Despite this, the SMARTY Large SIM plan data allowance is only 8GB which means you will have to purchase additional add-ons if you exceed this. Luckily additional data is charged at the same rate as the data in your SIM plan, £1.25 per GB.
Although SMARTY launched roaming as of July 2018, customers can still not tether abroad.
International Roaming (3 / 5)
As of July 2018 customers are now able to use their SMARTY SIM’s to roam abroad.
Customers can roam within their plans throughout the EU as per the roaming regulations that went live last year, this is provided across all operators.
There is no inclusive roaming across non-EU countries such as you get with Three’s ‘Go Roam’ proposition. You will have to pay per minute, text and MB of usage for any non-EU countries. This is common among a number of the more cost-focused MVNO’s, these perks are only generally found on the larger more expensive operators.
You can find out the cost of any destination you want to roam to on SMARTY’S site by clicking here.
Half cooked’s analysis has found that SMARTY’s non-EU roaming rates rank amongst the cheapest out of the operators, ranking just ahead of giffgaff.
Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots (1 / 5)
Wi-Fi calling allows customers to place calls and send texts using wireless networks instead of using their 3G/4G network. This is a great perk if you are somewhere without a mobile connection but have access to Wi-Fi. Half cooked recommends checking your network coverage for SMARTY by clicking here in areas you frequent, to ensure you are covered.
SMARTY doesn’t offer its SIM customers Wi-Fi calling but this is a trend found amongst a number of the smaller, cheaper MVNO operators. Providing the value that SMARTY does means cutting back on Wi-Fi calling despite its owner Three having their own Wi-Fi calling service called ‘Three InTouch’.
Wi-Fi hotspots are another perk not offered to SMARTY customers. Again, this is something you will rarely find amongst the lower cost operators.
SMARTY’s SIM only deals rank amongst the most competitive in the market and as a result perks such as Wi-Fi hotspots are not available. This will be something you need to weigh up to see if you can do without.
Many public places such as restaurants and airports now offer free Wi-Fi so you may find that this wouldn’t be an issue.
Data Rollover – Discount on your next bill (5 / 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.
SMARTY takes data rollover one step further and offers customers money off their next bill for any unused data. This is a unique offer for SMARTY SIM customers.
One of the problems with rollover data is that it usually expires but with SMARTY your usage out of your current plan is calculated and then deducted from your very next bill.
You can click here to jump to SMARTY’s FAQ page and understand exactly how the data discount works.
Spending Caps (5 / 5)
SMARTY are ‘On a mission to make mobile simple and honest’ and that’s certainly the case with their spending cap. SMARTY SIM customers won’t get any nasty bill shocks with the usage capped dependent on the data package you purchase.
Any additional spending such as calling premium numbers, roaming abroad and data usage above the plan limit can only be done by purchasing an add-on. This offers SMARTY Mobile customers a simple way to take back control over their phone bill.
Click here to find out how much SMARTY add-ons cost.
Customer Rewards – Free month for referring friends (3 / 5)
SMARTY has their own referral scheme called ‘Refer-a-friend’ which offers the customer a free month of your regular SIM plan for referring friends as well as providing a free month to the friend you referred.
Referrals work by you sending a special referral link from your account dashboard to your friend or family member who uses this to sign up. Once this person has been using their SMARTY SIM for a minimum of 14 days you unlock the free month which will then be credited to both of your accounts at the next payment date.
There’s no limits to referrals so if you manage to refer up to 12 friends you could be looking at a year of free mobile!
It’s a pretty straightforward reward scheme but it lacks behind other schemes such as giffgaff’s which provides to option to any customers of taking referrals credits as cash via PayPal.
No Credit Check (5 / 5)
There are no credit checks on SMARTY when purchasing a SIM!
SMARTY works by paying for monthly SIM plans upfront with credit or debit card, this is the same for any of their data or cash add ons. This means there is no direct debit or BACS payment and no credit check.
Even if you are under 18, have poor credit or have recently moved into the UK you can get yourself a SMARTY SIM.
Other Perks (1 / 5)
Some mobile networks are now offering discounts when customer buy multiple mobile contracts and/or SIM only deals.
Unfortunately, this is not something that SMARTY currently offer. Providers that are offering family plans include BT Mobile, Vodafone and 02. Even so, SMARTY’s SIMO deals still remain competitive at their price point.
Inclusive entertainment packages is something else not offered by SMARTY. This isn’t offered by any 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.
SMARTY can remain competitive at their low price point by not offering these perks.
Customer Service (3 / 5)
To provide their competitive price point SMARTY needs to keep their costs down and one way in which they have done this is by not offering over the phone customer service. If you have a query, this can be redirected to their web chat team or solved using their help articles.
SMARTY’S webchat is open 7 days a week from 8 AM to 8 PM and this is their only point of contact. If you send a message outside of these hours make sure you leave an email address or phone number to ensure you receive a response.
SMARTY offer’s only four 1 month SIM only plans each with unlimited minutes and texts.
The plans are tiered into different data allowances with a 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB version priced at £6.25, £7.50, £10 & £15 respectively. These plans can then be supplemented with additional data add ons with data at the same price as your in-plan data at £1.25 per GB.
If you use more than 8GB per month then SMARTY starts to become less competitive but especially at the 1GB £6.25 & 2GB £7.50 price points SMARTY has amongst the most competitive pricing in the market, and if you don’t use all your data your bill will be even cheaper than this.
Half Cooked Overall Breakdown
Half Cooked’s overall rating for Smarty: (4 / 5)
- Network Coverage and Speeds – SMARTY runs on the Three network which has 99.8% 4G coverage and some of the quickest data speeds in the market second only to EE.
- Voice Call Quality – P3 Comms rated voice call quality as ‘Good’ with the main issue being longer call set up times than other networks.
- Tethering – Simple and honest mobile means you can use your data in any way you want, tether without any throttling of data speeds.
- International Roaming – All EU destinations included per regulations and competitive non EU roaming costs but no inclusive non-EU roaming destinations.
- Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots – No Wi-Fi calling or Wi-Fi hotpots available to SMARTY at the moment.
- Data Rollover – Discount off your next bill – SMARTY’s unique benefit, get money off your monthly bill for any data you don’t use in your plan.
- Spending Caps – Never get any shock bills with SMARTY, any usage outside of your monthly plan is through add ons.
- Customer Rewards – Free month for referring friends – Get a free month for yourself and a friend when you refer, no limit on number of referrals and the number of free months you can earn.
- No Credit Checks – No credit checks with up front bills means anyone can become a SMARTY customer
- Other Perks – Competitive data deals for SMARTY customer means no extra perks such as inclusive entertainment packages.
- Customer Service – Customer service only available through webchat, open 7 days a week this is supplemented by SMARTY’s help centre.