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Nowadays in the UK, there are a lot of mobile network options to choose from. Having a wide variety of options is good, but it can also be a little bit confusing, especially given how almost all the mobile networks offer unlimited data plans. They all come with different benefits and extras, and some even offer 5G, provided your phone supports it.
SMARTY is Three’s low-cost mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and just like its parent network SMARTY offers wallet-friendly SIM only plans with unlimited data, as well as unlimited UK minutes & texts.
SMARTY is powered by the Three network, offering 4G and 3G coverage and data speeds. Unfortunately, the carrier hasn’t made the jump to 5G just yet. The network says they’re focusing on improving their 3G and 4G services first to ensure their customers get excellent coverage across the country. Three has the fastest 5G data speeds, this means SMARTY customers will be getting the same super fast data speeds once the network launches it’s 5G service.
SMARTY offers some of the most competitively priced 30-day SIM only plans for low to high end data users and their unlimited data plan is always one of the cheapest on the market, if not the cheapest. You don’t have to undergo a credit check to become a SMARTY customer, which makes their SIM only prices even more impressive. All SMARTY plans also come with Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost.
In this article, we’ll take a look at SMARTY’s unlimited data plans as well as their network coverage & data speeds. We’ll also cover what other alternatives are on the market if you want an unlimited data plan.
- Cheapest unlimited data plan in the UK.
- Commitment-free, no credit checks.
- Fast 4G data speeds.
- Free month when you refer-a-friend to SMARTY.
- Wi-Fi Calling.
- 4G Coverage is not as good as competitors.
- No 5G coverage yet.
- No 4G Calling.
- Unlimited data is actually capped at 1,000GB.
Table of Contents
SMARTY Unlimited Data Plan
SMARTY is specialised in SIM Only plans that work on a prepaid, 30-day rolling basis with no credit checks and the network’s unlimited data plan is no exception. All SMARTY tariffs are 1 month long and you can cancel them anytime. There is also a 14-day money back guarantee, so if the service isn’t up to scratch you can get a full refund.
The carrier is powered by the Three mobile network, which means they don’t offer 2G coverage. SMARTY’s unlimited data plan is also unrestricted which means there are no speed caps. There are also no restrictions when it comes to tethering. You can turn your handset into a mobile hotspot and share your mobile data with other devices and friends freely.
However, SMARTY does have a usage cap of 1,000GB (1TB). The network says the data cap helps them to identify any commercial use of their services. You can check out our Best Business SIM Only deals guide to find a suitable network for this specific need though.
As stated earlier, SMARTY doesn’t have 5G yet, but they provide fast 4G & 3G data speeds to their customers. 5G is coming, but there’s no set in stone date.
You can keep your old number, if you’re planning to switch your mobile network and join SMARTY. All you have to do is order your free SIM & request a PAC code from your current network. After you get your PAC code, just log into your SMARTY dashboard (sadly, SMARTY doesn’t have a mobile app) and follow the steps.
|1 Month Plan|
Other SMARTY SIM Only Plans
In the UK, SMARTY offers two types of SIM only tariffs and they all come with unlimited UK minutes & texts. These two offers are: “All the data you need for less” plans & “Data discount” plans.
Both SIM deals offer commitment-free, 30-day plans and they’re competitively priced, just like their unlimited data counterpart.
Data Discount Plans
At the time of writing there are three different data discount plans. They start from £6/month for 1GB of data. 2GB of data is priced at £7/month and 3GB of data is priced at just £8/month. You get your money back for any unused data you still have at the end of every month.
Having said that, there is a base cost of £5, which covers SMARTY’s services. This means you can get back £1 per unused GB of data back.
|All SMARTY tariffs come with unlimited minutes & texts. |
All The Data You Need For Less
If you’re a heavy data user then these plans might be exactly what you’re looking for. However, these plans don’t include the “money back” feature. SMARTY’s large data plans are at a competitive price point and the network makes regular discounts. A ton of data to eat through for super low prices is SMARTY’s pull.
|All SMARTY tariffs come with unlimited minutes & texts. |
Network Coverage & Data Speeds
4G & 3G Coverage
SMARTY is powered by the Three network. Their customers get the same 4G and 3G coverage and the same data speeds as Three members do. Some parent networks limit the data speeds their MVNOs get, but Three doesn’t. You can be sure the experience will be identical.
Three’s 4G population coverage is as good as any other mobile network, however, geographical coverage is more important and in this area the carrier lags behind its competitors. As always, we recommend using SMARTY’s coverage checker to ensure your frequent areas are covered. Also keep in mind that Three and therefore SMARTY doesn’t have 2G, meaning a SMARTY SIM isn’t compatible with 2G mobile phones.
According to Open Signal’s October 2020 speed test results Three’s average 4G download speeds are around 22Mbps and their upload speeds are around 8Mbps. Open Signal didn’t test SMARTY, but since it’s using Three’s infrastructure the results would be identical. We should also mention that SMARTY’s 4G network isn’t ideal for competitive mobile gaming. The network’s latency is higher than its competitors and you might experience problems when you’re playing a game where the connection type is P2P (player to player).
Unfortunately, SMARTY doesn’t have 5G yet and we don’t know when the network will launch their 5G service. All we know is they’ll be using Three’s network and Three has the fastest 5G data speeds as well as the most 5G spectrum in the UK.
The network’s 5G service is live in 193 cities and towns at the moment. Three is leading in this area.On the bright side, Three’s 5G is available at no extra cost to all customers, it doesn’t matter if you’re on a long term contract or using the carrier’s traditional pay as you go service.
Voice Call Quality
Objective and independent testing bodies like Open Signal, umlaut and OOKLA don’t test MVNOs, and usually focus on the four main network operators. Hence we need to look at Three’s most recent performances in voice call quality tests to see how SMARTY performs.
There ranks last in umlaut’s call quality tests with a score of ‘sufficient’. According to umlaut, Three’s call setup times are significantly longer than EE and Vodafone, and somewhat on par with O2. Three offers features like 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost to compensate for this, but unfortunately SMARTY customers don’t get to benefit from 4G Calling yet.
Tethering refers to turning your mobile phone into a personal hotspot so that other devices can use your mobile data.
SMARTY lets you use your unlimited data freely. You can connect as many devices as you want without having to worry about any kind of penalties. However, there’s a fair usage limit of 1,000GB per month. On top of that you can only use up to 20GB of data when roaming abroad.
Even with the data cap we think SMARTY is a good choice, if you’re planning to tether on a regular basis. A good alternative is Superdrug Mobile. The network charges about the same for their unlimited data plan, but you get true unlimited data with no restrictions. Read our Superdrug Mobile Review to find out more about them.
You can use your SMARTY plan anywhere in 34 countries across the EU. While there are no limits to how many calls you can make or texts you can send, data usage is subject to a fair usage policy.
As for when you’re travelling outside the EU, the network functions like a traditional pay as you go service. You just buy one of their “Out of plan” add-ons and only pay for what you use. If you don’t finish up your data in 30 calendar days, you can just put that money towards your next monthly bill.
We recommend having a look at Vodafone’s pay monthly SIM plans, if you’re travelling around often. Check out our Vodafone Review to see which countries you can roam freely when you’re a Vodafone customer.
4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling
4G Calling (also known as VoLTE) is a free service, which lets you make and take calls over a 4G network. If you have 4G Calling, you can make or receive a phone call and your handset will stay on 4G, meaning you’ll be able to use data at 4G speeds even when you’re on a phone call.
It also eliminates most indoor blackspots and calls you make over 4G are a lot clearer, especially if the other party also has 4G Calling.
Wi-Fi Calling allows you to make calls using a Wi-Fi connection instead of a cellular one. You can make and receive calls as long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
To benefit from these features you have to be in an area with 4G coverage (or have access to the internet over Wi-Fi in the latter’s case) & have a phone that supports these features.
Your network and price plan must also have these features included. SMARTY has Wi-Fi Calling as of November 2020, but 4G Calling isn’t available yet. Most MVNOs skip these features to provide competitive prices. Another carrier that uses Three’s infrastructure, iD Mobile has both 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling. Read our iD Mobile Review and discover more about their deals.
You can check out BT Mobile or Virgin Mobile, if you want free Wi-Fi across the UK or even when you’re travelling in the EU. You can also read our BT Mobile Review and Virgin Mobile Review to discover more about their network coverage and price plans.
Data Rollover – Discount on your next bill
SMARTY doesn’t have a traditional data rollover scheme. Instead of giving you a second chance to use your leftover data the network offers their customers money off their next bill for any unused data. This scheme is only available on data discount plans though.
If data rollover is important for you, we strongly recommend checking out Sky Mobile’s plans. The carrier lets you keep your unused data for three years and you can exchange your leftover data for rewards and discounts. Read our Sky Mobile Review to discover more!
Free month for referring friends
When you get your SMARTY SIM, you can start inviting friends to SMARTY via a unique referral link. When they join the network you’ll both get a free month. There’s no limit to how many friends you can bring on, so if you refer to 12 friends you’ll get a whole year free.
SMARTY offers group plans or family plans. All you have to do is login to your account, go to your dashboard and select ‘Start a Group’. You can become a group owner by adding a new SIM. A SMARTY Group can have up to a total of 8 plans.
Once you start the group you immediately start saving an extra 10% on every plan that’s in the group. Plus, this works with the network’s data discount plans!
The group leader can manage all the SIMs and payments from their dashboard. You can change plans once a month or purchase add-ons for each SIM.
No Credit Checks
All SMARTY plans are commitment-free, their SIM deals work on a prepaid basis & each plan lasts for 30 calendar days. There are no contracts, and therefore no credit checks involved. You can also cancel or change your plan anytime without having to pay a penalty fee. SMARTY is one of the most flexible mobile networks in the UK.
If you want to learn all about credit checks, make sure to read our Mobile Phone Credit Checks Explained article.
Unlimited Data Plans
If SMARTY’s unlimited data plan isn’t what you’re looking for, you can also check out what the other networks offer.
We think SMARTY is one of the better options when it comes to unlimited data plans, but you may need more than just unlimited data or perhaps the network’s coverage isn’t good in your area.
If you’re interested in an in-depth look to see what each network offers with their plans, head on to our Best Unlimited Data Plans in the UK guide.
Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown
We think SMARTY’s unlimited data plan offers great value for its price. Unless there’s a special offer from Three or iD Mobile, SMARTY usually offers the cheapest unlimited data plan on the market. If you’re getting good coverage in your area and not interested in features and rewards, SMARTY’s unlimited data plan is probably the best deal out there.
Half Cooked’s overall rating for SMARTY’s Unlimited Data Plan: (4.5 / 5)
Frequently Asked Questions
Does SMARTY have 5G?
No, unfortunately SMARTY doesn’t have 5G yet. We’ll update this answer when the network launches their 5G service.
Does SMARTY have 4G Calling (VoLTE)?
No, SMARTY doesn’t have VoLTE yet. The network actually launched the service for a short period of time, but faced technical difficulties and had to pull it back.
Does SMARTY have Wi-Fi Calling?
No, at the moment SMARTY doesn’t offer this voice call quality improving feature.
What network does SMARTY piggyback?
SMARTY is powered by Three. SMARTY is a low-cost alternative to Three’s already competitively priced SIM only plans.
Does SMARTY sell handsets?
No, SMARTY doesn’t sell phones or tablets.
Does SMARTY have an app?
No, but they have a simple and useful website. The mobile version works quite well though.
Do I have to pass a credit check to join SMARTY?
No, SMARTY doesn’t ask for a credit check. You just pay in advance and use your SIM and plan.
Is there a fair usage limit to SMARTY’s unlimited data plan?
Yes. SMARTY’s fair usage limit for their unlimited data plan is 1,000GB (1TB) of data per month.