VOXI vs SMARTY Review 2020: Endless Social Media or Money back for unused data?

Read Half Cooked’s unbiased VOXI vs SMARTY review to help you choose between the two networks. Continue below for our full breakdown.

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Who is VOXI?

voxi-article-logoVOXI is Vodafone’s low-cost mobile virtual network (MVNO).This means the carrier is powered by Vodafone’s network. VOXI initially launched for under 30’s, but the operator now is available to everyone in the UK.

Being a low-cost mobile network operator, VOXI sacrifices some premium features you’d find on Vodafone. You’re also given less options to choose from as VOXI offers four different price plans. The most outstanding perk you get for being a VOXI customer is their ‘Endless Social Media’ offer. This covers some of the most popular social media apps including Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook. You also get 5G coverage and Endless Video, if you opt for either 15GB or 45GB data plans. VOXI’s unlimited data plan already covers the area of Endless Video and it offers 5G data speeds.

Pro’s

  • Endless social media usage on all plans. Also Endless Video on three out of four plans.
  • Flexible 30-day rolling plans, you may cancel anytime.
  • Unrestricted tethering.
  • Amazon gift cards from £10 to £20.

Con’s

  • No data rollover.
  • Limited price plans and only online customer support.
  • No Wi-Fi Calling or 4G Calling.
 

Who is SMARTY?

smarty logoOwned and powered by Three Mobile, SMARTY is also a low-cost mobile virtual network operator. SMARTY has some of the most competitively priced monthly SIM only plans for low to high end data users, plus all deals include unlimited minutes & texts. Just like VOXI, SMARTY also offers flexible monthly rolling plans. However, the carrier also proposes a discount plan unique to the market. Any unused data left over at the end of the month is discounted from the customers next bill.

We think SMARTY is one of the best low-cost MVNOs in the UK’s mobile market and a great all around network, especially if you’re looking to get your hands on well priced, well rounded SIM only deals. SMARTY is the winner of Uswitch’s Best Value SIM Only 2020 award.

Pro’s

  • Money off your bill for any unused data on ‘data discount plans’.
  • No credit checks. Monthly rolling plans, you may cancel anytime.
  • All plans include Unlimited Texts & Minutes.
  • Cheapest no commitment Unlimited Plan in the UK.

Con’s

  • Customer service is online only.
  • No Wi-Fi Calling or 4G Calling.
  • No phone deals.
 

Table of Contents

 
 

Plans & Pricing

SIM Only Deals

voxi logoThere are four tariffs to choose from if you want to sign up for a VOXI SIM. They all come with unlimited minutes and texts, and most importantly with ‘Endless Social Media’ usage. This feature allows you to use Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest apps without burning through your data. You also gain access to Endless Video, if you purchase either the 15GB or 45GB data plan, which also come with 5G coverage. This feature works with Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, My5, TV Player and UKTV Play.

You’ll need some data left in your plan to benefit from the endless social media perk and/or endless video though. If you completely finish your data, you can always purchase VOXI’s ‘Extra-Data’ add-on and continue using this feature. There are no strings attached, nor credit checks for joining VOXI and all five plans are monthly rolling & flexible deals.

VOXI also offers two more add-ons; one for video and the other one for music. Passes last for a calendar month and when they’re active they’ll allow you to watch videos or listen to music without using your data. With the ‘Video Pass’ you can freely watch Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Disney Life, My5, tvP and UKTV Play. ‘Music Pass’ supports Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, Deezer, Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, SoundCloud and Napster.

VOXI’s unlimited data plan is on the expensive side, but it offers 5G download speeds.

 

smart-review-logoSMARTY proposes two different types of SIM only deals; ‘Data Discount Plans’ and ‘All the Data You Need for Less’ plans. If you are using a data discount plan you’ll get your money back for the data you didn’t use. On SMARTY’s discount plans you get back £1 per unused GB of data, but there’s a base cost of £5 covering SMARTY’s expenses, services & unlimited minutes & texts. So if you’re on the cheapest SMARTY tariff priced at £6/month, you can only get a £1 discount on your next bill.

All the data you need for less plans are super competitively priced. Even the unlimited data tariff is priced at just £20/month, making SMARTY the network with one of the cheapest unlimited data offers.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

smarty-winnerBoth networks offer great value for each one of their plans, however SMARTY’s prices are a bit better and there are more options to choose from. This is a close win for SMARTY.

Pay As You Go

Customers can use VOXI on a traditional pay as you go basis, but given how expensive the network’s rates are we don’t recommend it. On top of that, you’re not allowed to use data when using VOXI as a PAYG service. You may only make and receive calls & texts. VOXI SIMs remain active for 270 days since the last chargeable activity. Once the time is up, your phone number will be deleted and your SIM will be deactivated. Thankfully, the network will warn you 90 days prior.

You can’t use SMARTY as a traditional PAYG service. You may top-up credits to your account, but this is for international calls and roaming. To keep your SIM card active you have to renew your plan regularly.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-voxiBoth operators work on a pay as you go basis, as you can opt out of any VOXI or SMARTY tariff whenever you wish. However, you may also use VOXI as a traditional PAYG service and keep your SIM active for 270 days without having to pay a penny. SMARTY doesn’t offer anything like this. Our winner here is VOXI.

Pay Monthly Phones

voxi-handsetsVOXI provides some decent phone plans. Although the initial length of the phone contract is 30 months, the network allows you to pay larger chunks, so you can cut your contract to a shorter length. You’ll have to purchase a monthly plan with your handset, but you may cancel the plan and switch to another network anytime you want.

SMARTY doesn’t have a phone store, and as a result there are no phone contract offers.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-voxiVOXI has a wide range of handset options alongside flexible contracts. SMARTY doesn’t offer any phone deals at the moment. It’s a clear win for VOXI.

Network Coverage & Speeds

2G, 3G & 4G Coverage

4G network coverageVOXI is a sub-brand of Vodafone and the network shares the same coverage with its parent. Vodafone is the oldest mobile network operator in the UK and it offers over 99% population coverage. The carrier also has the second most landmass coverage. SMARTY is powered by the Three Network. Three is one of the four major network operators in the UK, but its network coverage is clearly behind Vodafone’s according to several tests done by independent bodies.

Vodafone has a better infrastructure than Three Mobile. Three Mobile also lacks a 2G service which can be important in some remote, rural locations where coverage is limited.

According to Open Signal’s October 2020 test results Vodafone’s average download speed is around 22.4Mbps and average upload speed is recorded at 8.5Mbps. SMARTY’s parent network Three’s average 4G download speed was measured at 22.2Mbps and upload speed at 8Mbps.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-voxiPowered by Vodafone, VOXI offers better network coverage and slightly better 4G data speeds compared to Three Mobile’s low-cost network operator SMARTY. In terms of data speeds the difference isn’t that significant, but we give the win to VOXI, because it’s still faster and offers much better 4G coverage.

5G Coverage

5g coverageMVNOs rarely offer 5G coverage and it’s understandable considering how they are mostly low-cost alternatives to the four major mobile networks. However, VOXI offers 5G data speeds if you purchase one of the following plans: 15GB, 45GB or Endless Data.

VOXI’s 5G coverage is live in 57 cities and towns in the UK, as well as 197 cities and towns across Germanly, Spain, Ireland and Italy.

SMARTY plans to offer 5G, and the carrier officially announced that it’s coming, but we don’t know when it will launch or how it will affect the network’s prices.

Sky Mobile or BT Mobile are the two other MVNOs with 5G plans in the UK at the moment.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-voxiAnother clear win for VOXI here. We’ll come back and update this section when SMARTY launches its 5G service.

Voice Call Quality

voxi vs smarty voice call qualityTo measure voice call quality, we rely on test results published by independent bodies such as Open Signal, umlaut and OOKLA. Powered by Vodafone, VOXI shares the second spot when it comes to voice call quality. In fact, in some locations Vodafone, and therefore VOXI even takes the top spot. Piggybacking off Three, SMARTY follows behind VOXI.

EE Mobile has the best voice call quality results in the UK. If you wish to learn more about the carrier, check out our EE Mobile Review!

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-voxiVodafone’s network coverage and voice call quality is superior to Three Mobile’s. VOXI is powered by Vodafone, while SMARTY is by Three, therefore VOXI gets another win here.

Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

voxi vs smarty 4gcalling wificalling4G Calling (VoLTE) is a service which allows you to make and receive phone calls over a 4G network. This feature lets you make higher definition calls and you get much better reception.

Wi-Fi Calling allows your phone to make HD voice calls by utilising a Wi-Fi network. With Wi-Fi Calling turned on you can stay connected even when there isn’t any mobile network coverage.

Neither VOXI nor SMARTY have 4G Calling or Wi-Fi Calling. In VOXI’s case; Vodafone makes sure if you want these perks you should join the parent network. However, SMARTY plans to include both these services eventually and is looking to offer them in the near future.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

We can’t pick a winner here, given how both VOXI & SMARTY lack 4G Calling (Super Voice, VoLTE etc.) and Wi-Fi Calling. If these features are necessary for you, you should check out their parent networks, Vodafone and Three.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

Unfortunately neither VOXI nor SMARTY offer any free Wi-Fi Hotspots to their customers. Their parent networks offer limited access to some others, but they don’t have their very own Wi-Fi Hotspots like O2 Mobile.

To maximise saving data through Wi-Fi hotspots, we strongly recommend checking out BT Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

This is another draw for both these MVNOs, as neither VOXI nor SMARTY have any free Wi-Fi hotspots.

Tethering

voxi vs smarty tetheringTethering or turning your handset into a personal hotspot means sharing your mobile phone’s data with other supported devices like laptops, smartphones, gaming consoles etc.

There are no specific fair usage limits for personal hotspots on VOXI, unless the network detects extreme usage. You can freely tether to as many devices as you wish and the only data limit to tethering is your allowance. You can also share the endless social media perk with other smartphones, laptops and tablets. Tethered devices can use both the social media apps and their websites without burning through their regular data.

Devices such as video game consoles, TVs, Chromecast, Roku or Fire TV Stick will use data from your general data allowance.

You can use your SMARTY data for tethering, but if you’re on the network’s unlimited data plan keep in mind that there’s 1TB fair usage policy. Also, if you are using a SMARTY ‘data discount’ plan, tethering can get pricey. Any additional out of bundle usage comes at a cost of £1 per GB.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-voxiVOXI’s ‘Endless Social Media’ works on tethered devices which is a big plus in our eyes and there’s no fair usage policy. SMARTY plans generally have more data though. We’re giving the win to VOXI, but it’s almost a draw.

International Roaming

voxi vs smarty roamingEver since the EU roaming regulation changes, all the mobile networks operating in the UK must provide free access to all EU countries.

VOXI’s inclusive roaming is available in 47 countries. Endless social media works just as usual, however, the endless data plan is subject to a roaming cap of 25GB/month. Past this cap, you’ll be subject to surcharges.

SMARTY customers don’t get to benefit from Three’s amazing ‘Go Roam’ feature. However, we’ve found that SMARTY’s non-EU roaming rates rank amongst the cheapest out of the mobile network operators in the UK. There are 35 destinations in total where you can use your minutes, texts and data like at home on SMARTY. Make sure to check the network’s inclusive EU roaming zone list.

If you are looking for other international roaming alternatives you might want to read Half Cooked’s extensive Roaming Abroad – 2020 guide.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-voxiVOXI simply offers more roaming destinations and overall a better roaming scheme, especially when you consider that endless social media still works in the EU zone.

Features

VOXI’s Features

Endless Social Media

The ‘Endless Social Media’ feature is unique to VOXI and we rate it quite highly. This scheme offers unlimited social media usage on Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook Messenger. The only exception is when you’re completely out of your regular data allowance, then you won’t benefit from this feature.

If you’re using social media apps regularly, have a look at Half Cooked’s best unlimited social media & streaming networks guide to find out the best network for you.

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Endless Data Plan

voxi-endless-dataVOXI’s unlimited data tariff comes with 5G coverage in 44 cities & towns in the UK and the number continuous to grow. At £35/month we find this deal is a bit pricey, particularly compared to SMARTY’s unlimited deal. Endless social media and passes become obsolete and the jump in price doesn’t really feel justified given how you’re still missing out on features like Wi-Fi Calling or 4G Calling.

You can get an unlimited data deal on Three Mobile for less & with more additional perks.

Endless Calls & Texts

All VOXI plans include unlimited calls, texts and picture messages (MMS) to UK numbers.

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Endless Flexibility

All VOXI plans are interchangeable and you may cancel them anytime you want. Each plan lasts for 30 calendar days and then you can continue with the same plan, switch it up depending on your needs or cancel.

While we like this flexibility, this feature isn’t really specific to VOXI at all. Most other MVNOs also propose such flexibility. We think, currently the most unique proposition is giffgaff’s goodybags. If you’re looking for the most flexible deals on the UK market, we strongly recommend you to check out our VOXI vs giffgaff review.

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Friends with Benefits

By inviting a friend to join VOXI, both you and your friend can get up to £20 in Amazon gift cards. You may invite as many friends as you like. The larger the invited person’s data plan is, the larger the Amazon give card you can both earn.

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SMARTY’s Features

Data Rollover – Discount on your next bill

smarty-data-rolloverSMARTY’s data rollover works in a different way. The network offers customers money off their next bill for any unused data. In the UK only SMARTY proposes a deal like this. However, only the discount plans are eligible to get money back for leftover data.

You may also want to check out Sky Mobile, if you’re interested in saving your leftover data for longer periods. Powered by the O2 Network, Sky Mobile lets you keep your unused data for three full years!

Unlimited Data

SMARTY offers a great value unlimited data plan priced at £20/month. This is also one of the cheapest monthly rolling unlimited data options in the UK. However, unlike VOXI, the network doesn’t have any 5G coverage at the moment. The carrier won’t throttle your data speeds, however, there’s a 1TB fair usage policy.

To learn which other networks have unlimited data deals check out Half Cooked’s best unlimited data plans in the UK guide.

Spending Caps

If you’re a SMARTY customer, you won’t get any nasty bill shocks at the end of the month. On the network, additional spending such as calling premium numbers or data usage above the plan limit can only be done if you purchase add-ons.

Customer Rewards – Free month for referring friends

smarty-refer-friendSMARTY’s referral program is called, well, ‘Refer-a-friend’. When you refer a friend to SMARTY you both get a free month. There is no limit to ‘refer-a-friend’ so you can refer up to 12 friends and get a whole year free on SMARTY.

Family/Group Plans

smarty-group-planDespite being a low-cost mobile network operator, SMARTY still offers a family/group plan option and we think it’s a good one.

There can be a maximum number of 8 SIMs (including the owner) in a SMARTY Group and members save an extra 10% on each SIM. Group owners can manage payment details, edit plans and see the activities of other plans in the group.

If you wish to discover more about family plans Half Cooked has a detailed family and group mobile plans in the UK guide.

No Credit Check

SMARTY wants to make it as easy as possible for you to get a SIM only contract, therefore there are no credit checks when joining the network. However, the same applies to VOXI and many other MVNOs. The carrier works by paying upfront with a credit or debit card. Purchasing extra data and add-ons also work the same way.

This means 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.

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Half Cooked’s Verdict

Both networks offer some great features. SMARTY’s moneyback scheme is unique, but so is VOXI’s Endless Social Media perk. SMARTY offers the cheapest unlimited data deal in the UK, but VOXI’s unlimited deal comes with 5G download speeds.

We don’t think there’s a clear winner when it comes to extra features, it all comes down to what you prefer and need.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

While VOXI has more wins in this extensive comparison, most of those are very close ones. SMARTY’s plans are cheaper and they have a wider range of data plans. On the other hand VOXI offers better coverage and data speeds.

At the end of the day, we believe you can’t go wrong with either network.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I tether with my VOXI endless data plan?

Yes, you can use VOXI’s endless data plan while utilising your phone as a personal hotspot. If you’re on VOXI’s regular data plans, you can share your endless social data with tethered devices as long as they are using the social media apps and not using a browser.

Can I keep my phone number if I join VOXI?

Yes, you can easily keep your number if you wish to join VOXI. Get your PAC code from your current network, then sign into your VOXI account. From here you’ll head to the ‘transfer number’ section. You’ll be required to enter the PAC code and choose a date. VOXI will do the rest.

What is VOXI’s endless social media?

All price plans on VOXI offer unlimited social media usage. Currently you can use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Pinterest without eating up your regular data. Keep in mind though, you have to use the apps, not the browsers.

Does VOXI have an unlimited data plan?

Yes, VOXI has an unlimited data plan, dubbed as the ‘endless data plan’. It also comes with 5G coverage.

Are YouTube and Netflix free on VOXI?

If you have the 15GB or 45GB data plan you can watch YouTube and Netflix without burning through your general data, but the network doesn't offer free subscription to either platforms.

Are Vodafone and VOXI the same?

VOXI belongs to Vodafone, but they are not the same. VOXI is a low-cost mobile virtual network operator piggybacking off Vodafone’s network. However, the average data speeds and network coverage should be identical.

Does VOXI have 4G Calling?

No, unfortunately VOXI doesn’t offer 4G Calling or Wi-Fi Calling to its customers. You’ll have to pick Vodafone or another operator for this feature.

Does VOXI have Wi-Fi Calling?

No, VOXI doesn’t have Wi-Fi Calling. Most MVNOs don’t offer Wi-Fi Calling or 4G Calling.

Does SMARTY have 5G?

Not at the moment, but SMARTY officially announced that it will provide 5G coverage as soon as possible.

Does SMARTY have Wi-Fi calling?

No, SMARTY doesn’t have Wi-Fi Calling or 4G calling (VoLTE). SMARTY makes little cuts here and there to offer the most competitive prices on the UK mobile market.

Does SMARTY have 4G calling?

No, SMARTY doesn’t offer 4G Calling (a.k.a VoLTE or Super-Voice). The network aims to bring this feature at one point, but currently the network doesn’t offer any 4G Calling services.

Can I use my phone as a personal hotspot on SMARTY?

Yes, you can turn your handset into a personal hotspot on SMARTY. There are no speed restrictions or limitations to how many number of devices you can tether to. However, if you have the unlimited data plan there’s a 1TB/month fair usage policy.

Does SMARTY have an app?

No, there’s no app available for SMARTY at the moment. However, you can access all your personal information and plan details through an online dashboard.

How can I check how much data I have left on SMARTY?

It’s really simple. Just head on to smarty.co.uk and log in to your dashboard. Here you can see how much data you’ve got left at any point in the month.

Does SMARTY have phone deals?

SMARTY doesn’t offer any phone deals. If they ever propose phone deals we’ll update this section accordingly.

Do I need to undergo a credit check to join SMARTY?

SMARTY keeps things simple. You won’t have to undergo a credit check to join the network. This means you can get a SIM even if you’re under 18 or recently moved to the UK.

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