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Who is SMARTY
SMARTY is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) owned and powered directly by Three. SMARTY offers some of the most competitively priced 1 month SIM only plans for low to high end data users and all of their plans come with unlimited texts and minutes. You don’t have to go through any credit check to become a SMARTY customer and given all their plans are based around 1 month SIM only offers, 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.
At Half Cooked, we rate SMARTY as the best low-cost MVNO in the UK mobile market and a great all around network for customers looking to get their hands on well priced, well rounded SIM only deals. SMARTY also won Uswitch’s Best Value SIM Only 2020 award.
- Money off your bill for any unused data on ‘data discount plans’.
- No credit checks, 1 month plans, you may cancel anytime.
- All plans include Unlimited Texts & Minutes.
- Cheapest 1 month Unlimited Plan in the UK.
- Now has Wi-Fi Calling.
- No 5G.
- No 4G Calling.
- No handset plan options.
Table of Contents
SMARTY Plans & Pricing
At the time of writing this review, SMARTY presents two types of SIM only deals and they all have unlimited minutes and texts. Both types of SIM deals offer commitment-free, 30-day plans and they’re competitively priced.
Data Discount Plans
SMARTY’s data discount plans start from £6/month for 1GB of data to £8/month for 3GB of data. If you are on one of the data discount plans you will get your money back for the data which you didn’t use. However, the base cost of its data discount plans is £5, covering SMARTY’s expenses and services and providing unlimited minutes & texts. You get back £1 per unused GB of data.
All The Data You Need For Less
SMARTY’s big data plans are for data hungry people and they don’t come with any discounts for unused data. These plans offer a massive amount of data, including an unlimited plan, at a very competitive price point. In fact the only cheaper unlimited data offer comes from SMARTY’s parent network, Three, but you have to sign a 12 month contract to get your hands on that deal. Meanwhile, SMARTY’s unlimited data plan is a 1 month deal, with no commitment and require no credit checks.
Data Discount Plans
|All SMARTY tariffs come with unlimited minutes & texts. |
All the Data You Need For Less
|All SMARTY tariffs come with unlimited minutes & texts. |
In the past SMARTY didn’t offer any family or group plans, but this recently changed for the better. SMARTY manages to stay competitive at their low price point and still offers discounted group plans.
To take advantage of this feature, customers must be in SMARTY Group. A group can have a maximum number of 8 SIMs including the group owner and members save an extra 10% on every SIM. The group owner can manage all the payment details, edit every member’s plan and see all other group members’ activities. There can only be one owner per group and the owner role can’t be transferred to another user. Make sure to read our SMARTY family mobile plans review to learn more!
You can check Half Cooked’s Best Family Mobile Plans in the UK guide to learn more about what other networks offer for family and group plans.
Pay As You Go
As stated above, all seven SMARTY plans include unlimited minutes, texts and depending on the plan, some amount of data. You can use your inclusive bundles in the UK and/or in the EU. However, to call international numbers or special rate numbers you must top up your SMARTY account with an add-on. Calling rates differ from country to country, so we recommend checking SMARTY’s official website for any specific information you might be seeking. While you can add credits to your account, you can’t use SMARTY on a Pay As You Go basis. If you want to keep your SIM card active, make and receive phone calls etc. you must renew your plan regularly.
Pay Monthly Phones
At the moment, SMARTY sticks to being a SIM only mobile virtual network. You can use your SMARTY SIM with any unlocked 3G and 4G smartphone. Keep in mind though, SMARTY doesn’t support 2G, therefore 2G only handsets won’t work.
Network Coverage & Speeds
3G & 4G Coverage
SMARTY is owned and powered by Three and benefits from running on the Three Network. This means SMARTY customers get the same network coverage for 3G and 4G and the same data speeds as Three users do.
Opensignal’s April 2021 speed test results show that Three’s average 4G download speed is at 19.3Mbps and its upload speed is around 6.8Mbps. While SMARTY itself wasn’t tested, sharing the same network with Three, results would be identical. EE is still the fastest 4G network provider with 39Mbps 4G download speed and 9.1Mbps upload speed.
Network coverage is one of SMARTY’s strong suits. The network has 99.8% 4G population coverage and 89% 4G landmass coverage. While these numbers look great, as Half Cooked, we strongly recommend you to use SMARTY’s Coverage Checker to ensure your areas are covered. Also keep in mind, SMARTY is not compatible with 2G handsets, this means a SMARTY SIM card can’t work in a 2G-only mobile phone.
At the time of writing, SMARTY doesn’t offer any 5G Coverage, yet. 5G is coming to SMARTY, but there’s no specific date set in stone. SMARTY will use Three’s network for their 5G Coverage, just as they do for 3G and 4G coverage. Currently, Three offers 5G Coverage in 194 towns and cities in the UK. According to Opensignal’s April 2021 test results the network’s average 5G download speeds are around 115Mbps. Three 5G upload speeds average around 12.7Mbps.
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
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.
When it comes to voice calling Three only operates on 3G & 4G networks and does not use any 2G spectrum.
Looking at the tests run by umlaut (formerly known as P3 Communications), an independent testing body who have widely been accepted as authoritative and highly objective, Three came 4th out of the major operators with a score of ‘sufficient’, call connection times being the main reason for tracking behind EE, Vodafone and O2’s network. According to umlaut’s voice call tests the call setup times of Three was considerably longer than those of EE and Vodafone, and slightly worse than O2’s. However, when we tested our SMARTY SIM over at Half Cooked, we had no issues with calls dropping.
Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling
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 to have if you are somewhere without a mobile connection, but still have access to Wi-Fi.
SMARTY customers can now benefit from Wi-Fi calling, provided their mobile phones are compatible to take advantage of this perk. However, Half Cooked still recommends checking your network coverage for SMARTY in areas you frequently visit to ensure you are covered.
SMARTY piggybacks on Three, which offers 4G Super Voice (4G Calling a.k.a VoLTE). It basically means increased indoor and rural coverage with much better voice quality, but unfortunately SMARTY doesn’t support this feature yet.
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 this to be a non-issue.
In any case, check out Half Cooked’s free Wi-Fi Hotspots guide to learn which networks have this data saving perk!
SMARTY’s slogan is “Simple, honest mobile”. The network stays true to their motto, allowing 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 at all.
With SMARTY’s unlimited data plan, you can tether as much as you want with a 1TB fair usage policy which is a lot of data to burn through! However, if you are on one of SMARTY’s ‘data discount’ plans, tethering may get pricey, with any additional out of bundle usage coming at a cost of £1 per GB.
As of July 2018 customers are now able to use their SMARTY SIM’s to roam abroad. SMARTY customers can roam within their plans throughout the EU without any additional charges, like at home.
Sadly there is no inclusive roaming across non-EU countries such as you get with Three’s Go Roam proposition, but considering SMARTY is a low-cost network this is understandable. 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 official website. Half Cooked’s analysis has found that SMARTY’s non-EU roaming rates rank amongst the cheapest out of the operators.
If you are looking for better international roaming alternatives or simply want to see your other options, you can read Half Cooked’s extensive Roaming Abroad 2020 guide.
Data Rollover – Discount on your next bill
Data rollover means you can continue using your leftover data from one month to the next. Let’s say you have a 2GB data plan and only used 1GB of it, the following month you will still have 3GB to use!
SMARTY takes data rollover to a new level 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. However, only Data Discount plans get money back for unused data.
If you’re aren’t bothered about rollover – SMARTY also has a number of ‘Big Data Plans’ including 10GB for 9£, 30GB for £10, 100GB for £15 and Unlimited Data for £20. We rate these plans as some of the best value for money SIM only deals available 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.
If you’d like to keep your unused data for longer, the only better option out there is Sky Mobile. Piggybacking on the O2 Network, Sky Mobile lets you hold onto your unused data for three full years!
SMARTY is ‘On a mission to make mobile simple and honest’ and that’s certainly the case with their spending cap. SMARTY customers won’t get any nasty shocks facing their bills 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 add-ons. Thanks to his SMARTY Mobile customers have more control over their phone bills.
Customer Rewards – Free month for referring friends
SMARTY has their own referral program called ‘Refer-a-friend’. The program gives the customer a free month of their regular SIM plan for referring friends, as well as providing a free month to the friend referred. There is no limit to ‘refer-a-friend’ so if you refer 12 friends, you get a whole year free on SMARTY.
Referrals work by sending a special referral link from your account’s dashboard to a friend or a 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 then will be credited to both accounts at the next payment date.
If you are interested in a different kind of reward, VOXI, powered by Vodafone offers up to £20 Amazon vouchers to both referral and referee. VOXI deals come with the ‘Endless Social Media’ perk, which you might want to check out.
No Credit Check
SMARTY aims to make it easy for anyone to get a SIM only contract for their phone by doing no credit checks. This goes for all of their SIM plans. SMARTY works by paying for monthly SIM plans upfront with a credit or debit card, this is the same for any of their extra data or cash add-on’s.
This means there is no direct debit or BACS payment and well, no credit check. Even if you are under 18, have a poor credit record or have recently moved into the UK you can get yourself a SMARTY SIM. SMARTY Mobile App isn’t a thing yet, but the application will be launched soon.
If you are looking for more options to choose from, we’d recommend you to read our iD Mobile Review. Just like SMARTY, iD Mobile is also powered by Three, hence both networks will provide the same coverage and you’ll have more variety of SIM deals to choose from.
Half Cooked’s 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. Soon to launch 5G!
- Voice Call Quality – umlaut rated voice call quality as ‘Sufficient’ 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.
- 4G Calling, Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots – SMARTY customers can enjoy Wi-Fi Callingç But there’s no 4G calling or Wi-Fi hotspots are 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.
- 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 upfront bills means anyone can become a SMARTY customer
SMARTY Frequently Asked Questions
Does SMARTY support 5G?
No, not at the moment, but they announced that 5G is coming to SMARTY.
Does SMARTY have Wi-Fi calling?
Yes, SMARTY customers can benefit from Wi-Fi Calling as of November 2020.
Does SMARTY have 4G calling?
No, SMARTY doesn’t have 4G Calling (VoLTE) at this moment.
Does SMARTY allow tethering?
Yes, SMARTY allows tethering and their fair usage is capped at 1TB, which is quite generous.
Does SMARTY have an app?
No, SMARTY doesn’t have an app right now.
How can I check how much data I have left on SMARTY?
All you have to do is go to smarty.co.uk and log in to your dashboard. Your dashboard will show you how much data you’ve got left at any point in the month.
Can I get a handset with SMARTY?
SMARTY doesn’t offer any handset plans at the moment.
Do I need a credit check to get a SMARTY SIM?
There are no credit checks. You can easily get a SMARTY SIM and start using it.