1pMobile review - cheap rates with excellent customer service

By Adrian Vincent - 1 Feb 2024, 19:27 1pMobile review - cheap rates with excellent customer service
4.5 / 5
  • Cheap 1p rates are very attractive
  • Powered by EE
  • Boosts are competitively priced
  • Free EU roaming
  • Excellent customer service
  • Requires top up every 120 days to avoid account termination
  • Not many extra benefits or thrills
  • 1p per MB can end up being expensive

1pMobile have certainly carved themselves a niche in the UK’s mobile network market. Their attractive and cheap 1p rates means you don’t necessarily have to have an active plan for everyday use.

But they do offer allowances in the form of Boosts, if that’s your preferred way. You can even set up automatic renewal, so it acts just like a traditional contract, with set allowances every month.

1pMobile are also one of the cheapest providers if you want to get access to EE’s network. EE are consistently rated as the best network for coverage and fast download speeds. You’ll also get access to their blazingly fast 5G network, assuming you have a compatible phone.

Plus, if you have an active Boost, you can use your data up to 14GB for free when roaming in the EU, or else pay the same 1p UK rate per MB.

Despite its cheap offering, 1pMobile are one of the top rated networks in the UK when it comes to customer service, with UK only call centres and excellent customer reviews - something that’s not even guaranteed with much more expensive networks.

We’re not too fond of their account termination policy, however. You’ll need top top up at least every 120 days to keep your account active. Although not an issue for most, it might be a bit of a surprise for those who seldom use their phone, particularly more elderly people.

Overall, we have to say that 1pMobile is one of the better networks we’ve reviewed. They tick many boxes that we expect from a good, reliable network. Although you don’t get many thrills or extra benefits compared to some other networks, you do get excellent signal and download speeds via EE, and excellent customer service. Plus their flexible 1p rates and competitive Boosts make 1pMobile one of the UK’s cheapest networks.

Cheap 1p rates and unique Boosts

1pMobile are slightly different compared to other SIM only networks. While other networks have moved away from traditional pay as you go rates, 1pMobile have made a niche for themselves with their 1p rates (hence the name). You can choose to pay 1p per minute, text and data MB.

Although other networks still offer these traditional types of pay as you go rates, it’s usually not advertised as the primary way to use your SIM. In addition, the rates are typically expensive and hidden deep within the terms and conditions. Most other networks tend to focus on plans or packs instead, which gives you set allowances for 30 days.

But 1pMobile are different. They clearly and proudly advertise their 1p rates at the top of their homepage.

Nonetheless, 1pMobile also offer packs (advertised as Boosts), which is typically the way we recommend most people pay for a SIM plan. We only recommend you pay the 1p out of plan rate if you rarely use your phone, particularly when it comes to data usage. If you actively use your phone every day, paying per MB of data can be very expensive - for example, at 1p per MB, you’ll be paying £10 for 1GB, which is a bad deal. But otherwise, the 1p rate for calls and texts is quite an attractive offer.

1pMobile’s Boosts are moderately priced and can automatically renew. Although they offer the typical Boosts that you get from other networks (data, minutes and texts for 30 days), we’re more interested in their rather unique Boosts, that we haven’t seen anywhere else.

For £3 per month, you can get unlimited calls and texts, but with no data. This is a great plan for elderly people, or for those who don’t use the internet on their phone. You can still use the internet on your phone if you need to, but you’ll be charged at the out of plan rate (1p per MB) from your top up credit.

However, the most intriguing Boost is the £36 annual plan. It offers unlimited minutes and texts along with 250MB data each month, effectively costing just £3 per month. This plan is ideal for those who seldom rely on their phone's internet, using it primarily for emergencies or occasional needs, such as messaging.

On the contrary, 1pMobile also offer data-only Boosts.

Price Lasts for Data Minutes Texts
£36 1 year 250MB (per month) Unlimited Unlimited
£3 30 days None Unlimited Unlimited
£3 30 days 1GB None None
£5 30 days 1GB Unlimited Unlimited
£6 30 days 4GB None None
£7.50 30 days 4GB Unlimited Unlimited
£10 30 days 10GB Unlimited Unlimited
£12.50 30 days 25GB Unlimited Unlimited
£15 30 days 50GB Unlimited Unlimited
£20 30 days 200GB Unlimited Unlimited

You can purchase a Boost once, or you can set it up to automatically recur every 30 days - 1pMobile will attempt to pay using your top up credit first, before using your stored payment method.

There are a few catches with 1pMobile that you should be aware of. You need to top up every so often (usually 120 days) to keep your account active. Automatic recurring Boosts will count towards a top up.

Top up amount Required next top up
£10 120 days
£15 180 days
£20 240 days
£30 360 days
£40 480 days
£50 600 days

Should you fail to top up by the specified date, 1pMobile will deactivate your account. In such a case, you will be required to get in touch with them for reactivation. Note that in accordance with Ofcom’s rules, a network must keep your number for 6 months following deactivation, after which it can be deleted and quarantined.

However, you can set up auto top up for when your minimum top up date is due, or your balance reaches below £2.

Alternatively, new and existing customers can purchase a 1 year Flex deal. It costs £30, and gives you £30 top up credit that can be used as normal, including towards Boosts. However, you won’t be required to top up for a whole year.

Another caveat with 1pMobile is that you need to purchase at least £10 top up credit when ordering a new SIM. You can immediately use the credit towards a Boost, or let it sit in your account balance.

Excellent coverage powered by EE

As an MVNO, 1pMobile have partnered with EE to power their network, delivering 4G and 5G coverage.

This is probably one of the most enticing aspects of 1pMobile. EE is consistently ranked as the best network for coverage and average download speeds.

This means you’ll get the same performance as EE, but without the premium price.

RootMetrics’ latest study crowned EE as the best UK network for the 21st time in a row, highlighting its excellent coverage and fast download speeds.

Furthermore, a recent Ofcom Connected Nations report found that EE has 85% geographic 4G coverage, beating O2, Three, and Vodafone. This roughly translates into 4G coverage for over 99% of the UK population.

The best 5G availability in the UK

As well as excellent 4G coverage, you’ll also benefit from EE’s vast 5G network.

An Opensignal report from September 2023 rated EE as the UK’s best network for 5G availability, with 10.3% geographic coverage.

In addition, EE is constantly adding new sites every month. 5G is currently available in over 1,000 cities, towns and villages.

Fastest median download speeds from EE

With 1pMobile, you can expect the same download speeds as EE, which is consistently rated the fastest UK network.

A recent RootMetrics study found EE to have the fastest median download speeds at 68.6 Mbps, together with the fastest 5G speeds at 174.1 Mbps.

There are no caps on download speeds with 1pMobile, which means you can benefit from full 5G with a compatible phone.

1pMobile claim customers can expect typical download speeds for 4G at 90 Mbps, and 150 - 200 Mbps for 5G.

WiFi and VoLTE calling with all plans

All 1pMobile plans include WiFi and VoLTE (4G) at no extra charge.

This is especially useful for making voice calls in areas with limited mobile signal. With WiFi calling, you can make calls when connected to a WiFi network, for improved quality and performance, with reduced drop outs.

VoLTE is similar to WiFi calling, except it uses 4G when a strong enough signal is available.

Both technologies work automatically and seamlessly. 1pMobile will automatically use the strongest signal, and can switch between connections during a call without disruption.

Free EU roaming and cheap international rates

When roaming in the EU with 1pMobile, you will be charged at the same 1p rate for minutes, texts and MB of data.

Any data from Boosts will also work, however there is a maximum 14GB cap from your allowance. If you go over your allowance or the 14GB cap, you will be charged at 1p per MB (or £10 per GB).

You can also use unlimited minutes and texts if it’s included with your Boost. When within an EU country, you can call back to the UK, within the country you are currently in and to other EU countries.

1pMobile also have fairly competitive rates for countries outside the EU. For example, in the USA, it costs 2p per MB for data, 10p per minute for calls and 5p per text. While not the cheapest, it’s not an extortionate rate that many other networks charge.

A lack of additional benefits, but decent referral scheme

1pMobile is a relatively basic network. There aren’t any rewards schemes or extras that you can expect with more expensive networks, such as access to WiFi spots across the UK, or free cinema tickets every week.

In addition, there’s no 1pMobile app. Everything is managed through the 1pMobile website, including topping up and purchasing Boosts.

They do have a fairly decent referral program, however. For every friend or family member you sign up, you’ll both get £5 credit added to your account. Your friend or family member will instantly get the £5 credit added, and you’ll get yours once their account has been active for at least 30 days.

It’s pretty simple to use - you just need to copy a link from your account and share it with someone when they sign up.

UK based customer service with excellent reviews

One thing that surprised us most about 1pMobile is that all their call centres are located in the UK. This is not typical of most networks, particularly budget MVNOs.

While having UK only call centres doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll receive good customer service, it is a good indicator that a company is willing to invest in its customer support network and not offload it to another country to save some money.

In addition, a lot of MVNO providers don’t even have call centres, instead providing online text support only. But 1pMobile offer both.

Live chat is available on the 1pMobile website, as it is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Phone support is available on 03333 442278, from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. 1pMobile also make note that they don’t have a queue system, and calls are answered as quickly as possible.

However, it's worth noting that live chat and phone support are unavailable on weekends, which may be slightly inconvenient at times.

With a 4.6 star rating from over 16,000 reviews, 1pMobile is one of the highest rated networks on Trustpilot, with a verified “Excellent” rating. Many of the negative reviews mention the automatic account termination when not topping up within a 120 day period. Although we mentioned this earlier in our review, we’re not surprised that some customers find this as unexpected, given it’s generally not typical of most networks, especially with such a short period.