Asda Mobile review - competitive SIM plans

By Adrian Vincent - 6 Feb 2024, 20:02 Asda Mobile review
4 / 5
  • Powered by Vodafone, with good coverage and speeds
  • 5G with all SIMs
  • Free EU roaming
  • Competitive Bundles
  • Phone plans are some of the cheapest we've seen
  • Expensive pay as you go rates
  • Unlimited data plans include speed limits
  • Lacking in extras, such as a rewards scheme
  • No family plans

Asda Mobile are one of the lesser known networks in the UK, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad.

Powered by Voafone, they offer a wide range of flexible 30-day plans, or officially referred to as “Bundles”.

With Bundles starting from just £5, Asda Mobile are one of the cheapest networks in the UK, ranking alongside the likes of Lycamobile and Lebara.

However, the same can’t be said for their pay as you go rates. Data costs 10p per MB, which is equivalent to a whopping £100 for 1GB (yes, one hundred Great British Pounds).

Having said that, such traditional pay as you go rates are generally not the way to use a SIM in 2024, with most people opting for contracts or 30-days plans instead, which include data allowances. And Asda Mobile’s 30-day Bundles are quite competitive in this regard, so we can’t really knock them down for this.

We’re not too fond of their unlimited data plans, however, all of which include speed limits, ranging from a basically unusable 1 Mbps, to 150 Mbps for the most expensive plan.

You’ll get access to Vodafone’s 5G network with all Asda Mobile SIMs, which rank among the fastest speeds in the UK.

Unlike Vodafone, you do get access to free EU roaming with all Bundles, up to 5GB per month.

In conclusion, we’re surprised Asda Mobile don’t have a larger market share in the UK. They’re powered by Vodafone, offer competitive plans, have good customer support and even include free EU roaming. However, they’re a relatively basic network - there’s no extra thrills or add-ons, such as a reward scheme or data rollover. We understand this might be a tough sell for some, but for those who want a cheap network that gets the basics right, Asda Mobile ticks a lot of the right boxes.

Cheap 30-day Bundles with optional auto-renew

Asda Mobile SIM bundles are all 30-day plans, and include 5G at no additional cost. They’re flexible in the sense that you can switch or cancel your plan at any time, without any long term commitments.

Bundles are the recommended way to use Asda Mobile. They last for 30-days, and include a data allowance, with unlimited minutes and texts for all plans. If you don’t want a Bundle, or you go over your allowances, you will be charged at the standard pay as you go rate, which we will talk about in the next section (hint: it’s expensive!).

You can set up Bundles so they automatically renew every month. Of course, as they’re only 30-day plans, you don’t have to commit to auto renew - you can stop whenever you like.

The best way to manage Bundles is via the Asda Mobile app. You can also top up and view transaction history.

Bundles range between £5 and £25:

Price Data Speed cap Unlimited mins & texts
£5 3GB No Yes
£7 5GB No Yes
£8 10GB No Yes
£10 15GB No Yes
£15 25GB No Yes
£20 50GB No Yes
£20 Unlimited 2 Mbps Yes
£22 Unlimited 10 Mbps Yes
£24 Unlimited 150 Mbps Yes
£25 100GB No Yes

With prices starting from just £5, it’s clear Asda Mobile are targeting the budget market. You can get slightly more data with Lebara and Lyca at the same price, with both offering 5GB - but otherwise, Asda Mobile’s entry plan is among the cheapest for 30-day SIMs.

Note that all unlimited data plans include a speed limit. The £20 Bundle has an incredibly slow 2 Mbps speed limit, which is so slow in fact, that we’d go as far as to say it’s useless - you won’t be able to stream Netflix or YouTube without constant buffering. In addition, with such a restrictive speed, you won’t be able to download much anyway, essentially negating the benefit of an unlimited data plan in the first place. For comparison, average data speeds with Vodafone, who power Asda Mobile, hover around 35 Mbps.

The £22 bundle includes a faster 10 Mbps speed limit. While you should be able to stream video at this speed without buffering, Full HD and 4K video will definitely cause some problems.

On the other hand, the £24 unlimited data plan has a 150 Mbps limit. Considering Asda Mobile’s median 5G speeds hover around 150 Mbps, you’re unlikely to notice you even have a speed limit with this plan - so it’s essentially unrestrictive in our opinion. So much so in fact, we don’t even see the point in the 150 Mbps limit existing in the first place - Asda Mobile might as well remove the cap altogether.

There’s one more plan that Asda Mobile offer - the Talk and Text plan. It costs £4 per month for unlimited minutes and texts, but doesn’t include a data allowance. You can still use data, but you’ll be charged at the pay as you go rate (10p / MB) instead, providing you have top up credit in your account. For most, this plan is pretty useless, but if you’re someone who rarely uses the internet on your phone, or you’re always connected to a WiFi network, it might actually offer good value. Either way, we recommended you spend £1 more and get the £5 Bundle, which also has unlimited minutes and texts, but also includes 3GB data.

Pay as you go is available, but very expensive

If you don’t want a Bundle, or you go over your Bundle allowance, you’ll be charged at the standard pay as you go rate:

Service Cost
Calls to UK mobiles & landlines 15p / min
Texts 10p
Picture messages (MMS) 25p
Data 10p per MB (£100 per GB)
Voicemail Free

Compared to 1pMobile, who currently offer the cheapest pay as you go rates (1p per text, minute and MB), Asda Mobile are very expensive in this regard. In fact, you’ll end up spending £100 per GB of data - an absurd amount.

You can, however, set up a spending cap via the Asda Mobile app or through your account. By default, this appears to be set to £40, as stated in the terms and conditions.

You’ll need to have credit in your account to use pay as you go. There’s no auto top up, so you’ll have to do this manually. This easiest way to top up is through the Asda Mobile app. Alternatively, you can top up via text or phone, and even order a free top up card to use in stores. The minimum top up amount is £5, and the maximum is £50.

If you run out of data, we recommend you buy a data add-on, rather than pay the expensive 10p per MB rate. You can purchase add-ons through the Asda Mobile app or your online account:

Data add-on Price
1GB £2
3GB £5
6GB £7
12GB £10

In conclusion, we don’t recommend Asda Mobile if you plan on using your SIM with pay as you go rates only. You’ll get better value with a Bundle, or by joining 1pMobile instead.

Furthermore, if you have a Bundle, but you run out of data for the month, you should purchase a data add-on, or else you’ll end up paying a ridiculous £100 per GB of data with the standard out of plan rate.

Phone plans are a hidden gem

One thing that surprised us most about Asda Mobile is their phone plans - they’re a hidden gem.

First of all, their prices - they’re some of the cheapest around. For example, the iPhone 15 starts from £743.99. In fact, we’re struggling to see a better offer from any other UK retailer.

In addition, Asda Mobile also have an agreement with PayPal Credit, offering 0% interest payments over 24 months.

So what’s the catch? Well in all honesty, it’s fairly minor. You’ll need to sign up for SIM Bundle when purchasing a phone, however you can immediately cancel it since all Asda Mobile Bundles are only 30-day plans, with no long term commitment required. For example, the cheapest bundle is the £4 Talk & Text plan, but you’ll only need to pay this once before cancelling.

Good network coverage powered by Vodafone

Asda Mobile is powered by Vodafone, which means you’ll get identical coverage and download speeds.

Vodafone currently claim to deliver 4G to over 99% of the UK’s population.

A recent report by RootMetrics ranked Vodafone as the second best network for overall availability, only just beaten by EE.

However, the same report did note that Vodafone lacks behind the other 3 major networks when focusing on 5G availability alone, reaching 41.9% of the population. For comparison, Three clocked in the highest at 57.6%, followed by O2 at 54.5% and EE with 52.3%.

Overall, you’ll get good coverage with Asda Mobile, but not the best. We recommend checking coverage in your area before signing up.

5G availability isn’t the best, but excels in major towns and cities

All Asda Mobile SIMs include 5G powered by Vodafone, at no additional cost.

While Vodafone lag behind when it comes to 5G coverage, RootMetrics did find that they have better reception and signal in areas where 5G is also available from O2, Three and EE.

Vodafone claims to have 124 5G locations throughout the UK. However, as an Asda Mobile customer, you won’t get access to the same 5G network across Europe, as you would as a Vodafone customer.

In addition, there’s no mention of 5G Ultra on Asda Mobile’s website, which is a technology available to Vodafone customers, that claims to deliver increased 5G coverage and reduced battery usage.

The second fastest average download speeds in the UK

According to RootMetrics’ latest study, Vodafone is the second fastest network in the UK, with average download speeds of 34.5 Mbps. This means you can expect the same speeds as an Asda Mobile customer.

When looking at 5G specifically, Vodafone also performs well, with median download speeds of 158.3 Mbps. For comparison, EE is the fastest at 171.1 Mbps, followed by Three at 165.7 Mbps and O2 with 67.7 Mbps. The results show that 5G speeds are basically negligible in difference between the top 3 networks.

Therefore, you can expect fast download speeds with Asda Mobile, but not necessarily the fastest in the UK. If you have an unlimited data plan, you should also be aware of the speed limits, including 2 Mbps, 10 Mbps and 150 Mbps.

WiFi and 4G calling for free

WiFi and VoLTE (4G) calling are included with all Asda Mobile plans, without the need for an app.

WiFi calling should automatically be enabled in your phone’s settings. If not, it simply takes a few seconds to do so.

So what exactly does it do? Asda Mobile will automatically choose WiFi or 4G when making calls, to improve quality and signal strength. It will seamlessly connect between connections, even during a call, to provide the best quality possible.

It’s completely free and doesn’t use your data allowance, even when connected with 4G calling. Most phones sold in the last few years should be compatible.

However, unlike with Vodafone, you won’t get access to WiFi and 4G calling on the London Underground.

If you’re using the pay as you go rate with your Asda Mobile SIM, you’ll be charged the same amount when using WiFi calling. If you have a Bundle, you won’t be charged any extra, since all Bundles include unlimited minutes and texts.

Roam for free in the EU, up to 5GB per month

All Asda Mobile Bundles include free EU roaming in 46 destinations.

However, you should be aware that there is a 5GB limit per month.

If you don’t have a bundle, or you go over your regular data allowance, or you go over the 5GB limit, you will be charged at the same pay as you go rate for data in the UK, which is currently 10p per MB.

For more information, see our guide on Asda Mobile roaming.

No family plans, but there is a referral programme

Like most MVNOs, Asda Mobile do not offer family plans. Any additional members of your family who wish to join Asda Mobile must sign up themselves, with separate accounts.

However, Asda Mobile do have a referral scheme. For anyone that you refer, both of you will get a £5 Asda gift card, to be used online or in-store.

The person you’re referring will need to have an active Bundle for 3 months, in order for both of you to receive the £5 gift card.

There’s no limit on the amount of people you can refer.

Good customer service, but call centres may be outside the UK

Since Asda Mobile has a market share below 1.5%, they don’t appear in Ofcom’s complaints data for mobile networks.

However, according to Trustpilot, they have over 6,500 reviews for an average 4 star rating, which is rated as “great”.

There are several ways to contact customer support, including phone support, Twitter and an online contact form.

Customer service opening hours are between 8am and 8pm on weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.

You can call for free on 0808 006 2732, or 2732 from your Asda Mobile number.

A lot of budget networks tend to skimp on phone support, and only offer an online live chat instead. It’s nice to see Asda Mobile have dedicated phone support, despite being one of the cheapest UK networks.

We’re not too sure where their call centres are located, however. There’s no mention of this on their website at all, which usually means they’re located abroad, and not exclusively within the UK.