Feb 17th, 2020
- Money off your bill for any unused data
- No credit check SIM product
- Unlimited Minutes & Texts from £5/month
- Unlimited Plan Offer
- Webchat only customer service.
- No free entertainment packages or Wi-Fi Calling.
Half Cooked’s overall rating for SMARTY: (4.5 / 5)
SMARTY offers some of the most competitively priced 1 month SIM only plans for low to high end 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 mean there is no commitment required. A 14 day money back guarantee also ensures that if the service isn’t up to expectations you can receive a full refund.
Half Cooked rates SMARTY as the top low-cost virtual operator in the UK mobile market and a great all around network for customers looking for a well priced, well rounded SIM only deal.
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 Signals Network Experience report from October 2019 Three has an average 4G download speed of 21.6 MB/s ranking ahead of O2’s network, but EE leads the pack with an average 4G download speed of 33.7 MB/s.
Network coverage with SMARTY is strong with 99.8% 4G coverage and 98.3% 3G coverage. SMARTY also has a coverage checker which you can use to find out the quality of coverage in your area.
Giffgaff is another low cost MVNO providing great value to its customers, see how it compares to SMARTY by checking out our SMARTY vs giffgaff review.
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 on 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 with 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’s network.
Considerably longer call set up times were observed in larger cities – about 1.5 seconds longer. However, when we tested our SMARTY SIM over at Half Cooked, we had no issues with calls dropping.
Tethering (5 / 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.
Now with SMARTY introducing their unlimited data plan, you can tether as much as you want with only a 1TB fair usage policy which is a lot of data to burn through! However if you are on one of SMARTY’s money back plans, tethering can start to get pricey, with any additional out of bundle usage coming at a cost of £1.25 per GB.
International Roaming (4 / 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 without incurring any additional charges.
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 in on SMARTY’s site. Half cooked’s analysis has found that SMARTY’s non-EU roaming rates rank amongst the cheapest out of the operators.
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 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 with 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’. However, looking on SMARTY’s help centre it looks like Wi-Fi calling is in it’s plans for the near future.
Wi-Fi hotspots are another perk not offered to SMARTY customers. SMARTY’s SIM only deals rank as some of 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.
If you’re aren’t bothered about rollover – SMARTY also have a number of ‘Big Data Plans’ including 30GB for £10 & Unlimited data for £20. We rate these plans as some of the top value for money plans in the UK.
To learn more about unlimited plans, check out our article on the best unlimited mobile plans in the UK. 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.
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 and also gives customers the opportunity to win prizes such as the latest flagship devices.
No Credit Check (5 / 5)
All SIM’s on SMARTY are no credit check SIM deals. SMARTY works by paying for monthly SIM plans upfront with a credit or debit card, this is the same for any of their data or cash add on’s.
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 O2. Even so, SMARTY’s SIMO deals still remain one of the most 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.
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 Plans are split into two types, these are ‘Big Data Plans’ which offer high data packages at super low prices & ‘Data Discount Plans’ which offer customers money back each month for any unused data. All plans on SMARTY have unlimited minutes and texts.
The ‘Big Data Plans’ available are below:
30GB for £10, 50GB for £15 & Unlimited for £20.
The ‘Data Discount Plans’ that are available are below:
1GB for £6.25, 2GB for £7.50, 4GB for £10.
Half Cooked Overall Breakdown
Half Cooked’s overall rating for Smarty: (4.5 / 5)
- Network Coverage and Speeds – SMARTY runs on the Three network which has 99.8% 4G coverage and solid data speeds.
- 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.