iD Mobile review - one of the UK's cheapest networks

By Adrian Vincent - 14 Feb 2024, 19:02 iD Mobile review - one of the UK's cheapest networks
4 / 5
  • Very competitive phone contracts
  • Lots of SIM plans to choose from
  • Free EU roaming
  • Data rollover
  • Fastest 5G speeds in the UK, powered by Three
  • Mid-contract price increases for phone contracts
  • Online only support
  • Pay as you go is not worth it
  • Phone contracts do not have separate device and airtime agreements
  • No family plans

With some of the cheapest phone contracts around, and generously priced SIM only deals, iD Mobile have made a name for themselves within the budget conscious community.

Founded as a subsidiary company of Curry in 2015, iD Mobile has become one of the largest MVNOs in under 10 years.

Powered by Three’s network, you can expect good coverage with the fastest 5G download speeds in the UK.

Despite the low prices, you also get many extras, such as free EU roaming, data rollover and bill capping. You even get WiFi and 4G calling with all plans.

However, although their cheap prices may be tempting, you should be aware of their mid-contract price increases for phone contracts (interestingly, this doesn’t apply to SIM only deals, which have fixed prices for the duration of the contract).

With online only support, it becomes clearer as to how iD Mobile are able to offer extremely competitive prices. While their customer support isn’t necessarily bad, we understand many people prefer to speak to an actual human over the phone when something goes wrong.

Many SIM only plans to choose from

iD Mobile are widely recognised as one of the UK’s cheapest networks for SIM only deals, offering 1 month, 12 month and 24 month contracts.

As an MVNO, iD Mobile utilises Three’s network for 4G and 5G coverage throughout the UK. However, iD Mobile are considerably cheaper than Three, while still also providing free EU roaming - something which Three themselves now charge for.

There’s also plenty to choose from, with a total of 26 plans across 1 month, 12 month and 24 month contracts, ranging from £6 to £18 per month - all of which include unlimited minutes and texts.

Whether you’re someone who only uses a small amount of data per month, or someone who needs peace of mind with an unlimited data plan, iD Mobile will likely have a plan that suits your needs.

Price Data Contract length
£6 4GB 1 month
£6 5GB 12 months
£6 6GB 24 months
£7 12GB 1 month
£7 20GB 12 months
£7 25GB 24 months
£8 20GB 1 month
£8 25GB 12 months
£8 30GB 24 months
£9 36GB 1 month
£9 45GB 12 months
£9 54GB 24 months
£10 50GB 1 month
£10 60GB 12 months
£10 70GB 24 months
£12 100GB 1 month
£12 120GB 12 months
£12 150GB 24 months
£14 200GB 1 month
£14 250GB 12 months
£14 300GB 24 months
£15 250GB 1 month
£16 300GB 1 month
£16 Unlimited 24 months
£17 Unlimited 12 months
£18 Unlimited 1 month

So what exactly do you get for your money, apart from the usual allowances for data, minutes and texts?

Data rollover is included with all contracts, which automatically adds any unused data onto the following month. Although data can only rollover once, rolled over data will be used first, before your regular data allowance. This means you’re more likely to have unused data every month.

Bill capping allows you to set a spend limit if you go over your allowances. You can set your spend limit to £0, which means you won’t be charged any extra on top of your usual plan. For example, if your data allowance is 20GB per month and you reach this limit, you won’t be charged any extra, but data will stop working.

Cheap phone plans, but with a few caveats

When compared to other networks, iD Mobile claim you can save an average of £260 per year with their phone contracts.

While we can’t verify this exact figure, we can say that iD Mobile are indeed one of the cheapest networks for phone contracts. They consistently rank at the top of our comparison pages for the latest phones, such as with the iPhone 15 and Samsung Galaxy S24.

You also get all the benefits included with their SIM only plans, such as free EU roaming, data rollover and bill capping.

All phone contracts are 24 months. They offer a range of devices from different manufacturers, including more obscure brands such as Doro, Nothing and Xiaomi.

However, unlike most networks, iD Mobile’s phone contracts do not have separate agreements for the device and airtime plan - it’s just a single contract. This is slightly less flexible, for several reasons:

First of all, you can’t change your airtime plan mid-contract. This is something you can do with networks who have separate airtime and device contracts, where the airtime plan is typically on a 1 month rolling plan. With iD Mobile, it’s combined into one, meaning you’re stuck with the same plan for the entire duration of your contract.

Furthermore, cancelling your phone contract early will be more expensive. You’ll have to pay the entire remaining monthly payments. With other networks, which usually have separate airtime and device agreements, you generally only have to pay the remaining device payments, and not the airtime plan. Since iD Mobile combines these into one contract, you’ll essentially be paying for an airtime plan which you won’t be able to use if you decide to cancel early.

Despite these drawbacks however, this shouldn’t be problematic for most people. Consumers generally don’t need to change their plan mid-contract, and most don’t opt to cancel their contract early. However, it’s nice to have these options for peace of mind, just in case your financial situation changes, or you decide you need more or less data at a later date.

One import note about iD Mobile’s phone contracts is that they are subject to mid-contract price increases every 1st April. This doesn’t apply to SIM only plans, however. We’ll talk more about mid-contract price increases further down.

Good coverage with Three’s network

iD Mobile currently uses Three to power its network, utilising 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G infrastructure.

Despite the stereotype, Three have fairly good coverage compared to the other major networks, and is considered the best network for 5G in a recent report from RootMetrics, highlighting its good availability and fastest average download speeds. Since iD Mobile includes 5G with all plans at no extra cost, you’ll be able to benefit from the same 5G speeds and availability.

A recent report from OpenSignal found Three to have the best coverage in the UK, with 99.1% availability. EE came in second place at 98.5%, with Vodafone in third at 97.5%, followed by O2 in last place with 97.3%.

Three claims to have 5G coverage in over 500 cities and towns, with over 3,200 sites, reaching 56% of the UK population.

Some of the fastest 5G download speeds in the UK

iD Mobile have some of the fastest 5G download speeds in the UK, utilising Three’s network, which has won several first place awards for its 5G service. Ookla, who are known for their popular speed testing tool, have named Three the fastest 5G network in the UK for 3 years in a row, achieving median download speeds of 226.27 Mbps and median upload speeds of 13.14 Mbps.

Three also fare well for 4G speeds. RootMetrics found Three to have the second fastest median 4G download speeds, only just beaten by EE.

In conclusion, you can expect some of the best download speeds in the UK with iD Mobile, utilising Three’s expansive network. While EE might have slightly faster 4G speeds, Three beats all the major networks by wide margins when it comes to 5G.

Data Rollover is a nice plus

Data Rollover is included with all SIM only and phone plans with iD Mobile. Any unused data from your allowance will rollover to the following month.

Data that has been rolled over will not roll over again - it can only rollover once. However, data usage will be deducted from any rolled over data first, before being deducted from your regular data allowance. This essentially gives you a greater chance of having unused data to rollover every month.

You don’t need to set it up or do anything - it’s completely automatic.

For example, let’s say you have an iD Mobile SIM only plan with a 20GB data allowance. At the end of the month, you’ve only consumed 5GB, so you have 15GB of unused data. This means your data allowance for the following month will be 35GB, as the 15GB will rollover. Now let’s say you consume 10GB in the second month. Since data usage is first deducted from any rolled over data, you’ve essentially untouched your regular 20GB data allowance. So the whole 20GB will rollover to the third month, for a total of 40GB. Note that data can only rollover once, so the remaining 5GB of rollover data at the end of the second month will not rollover again to the third month again.

Although several networks offer data rollover, what we like best about iD Mobile’s version is that data usage will first be deducted from any rolled over data.

WiFi and 4G calling with all plans

iD Mobile provides free WiFi and 4G calling with all plans, including SIM only deals and phone deals.

It works by automatically using WiFi or 4G when on a call, to improve signal strength, reliability and call quality.

This means you’ll still be able to get a signal from blackspots within your area.

WiFi calling works when you’re connected to a WiFi network and you can’t receive at least 2 Mbps speeds when connected to 3G or 4G. It’s completely automatic, and should be enabled in your phone’s settings by default. Most modern smartphones support the technology out of the box.

Similarly, 4G calling, also known as VoLTE, uses any available 4G signal when on a call, rather than a 2G signal.

Both technologies are seamless, meaning iD Mobile can automatically switch between regular 2G, 3G, 4G and WiFi during a call, without disruption. In fact, you won’t notice transitions at all.

With iD Mobile, any minutes used will come out of your regular allowance, and won’t consume any data. So there’s basically no downside.

Bill capping is a must have

Bill capping works by limiting how much you can spend with the out of plan rate when you go over your regular allowance. For example, if you go over your data allowance, iD Mobile will charge you 10.24p for data. You can limit this by setting a bill cap.

You can easily set your bill cap online or via the iD Mobile app. You can also change the limit at any time.

If you reach your bill capping limit, you won’t be charged over this amount. However, the service you are trying to use won’t work. Think of it as a safeguard to prevent unexpected expensive bills.

Any extras purchased, such as data add-ons, are not restricted by bill capping. This means if you use your data allowance, you can still purchase a data add-on to continue using data on your phone.

If you don’t want to spend any amount over your normal monthly cost, you can set the bill capping limit to £0.

Bill capping is a must have for iD Mobile customers, particularly if you’re on a contract with automatic direct debit payments. It can prevent unexpectedly large bills and charges.

Free EU roaming

With iD Mobile, you can use your allowance for free with 50 European destinations, up to 30GB per month. You can also use your minutes and texts within the EU destination you are in, and back to the UK.

If you go over the 30GB limit, but you’re still within your data allowance (including rollover data and data add-ons), you will be charged £3 per GB. If you go over your data allowance, you will be charged at the same out of plan rate for data in the UK, which is currently 10.24p per MB.

Interestingly, Three, who power iD Mobile and are generally more expensive, charge their customers £2 per day for EU roaming.

For more information, see our iD Mobile roaming guide.

No family plans, but generous referral scheme

Although iD Mobile do not have any family plans, you can both get a reward for referring a friend or family member, up to 100 people in total.

If you refer someone and they sign up to a 24 month phone contract, you’ll both receive a £30 Currys voucher. This is reduced to £15 for 12 or 24 month SIM only plans, and £10 for 1 month rolling SIM plans.

iD Mobile will provide you with a unique link to share with friends and family. They must purchase their plan directly from the website, and not from a comparison site or third party retailer.

In order to qualify, the person you are referring must make two full monthly payments. It takes 60 to 90 days for the referral to be approved and paid.

Watch out for price increases with phone plans

Unlike most MVNOs, iD Mobile have mid-contract price increases, but only for their 24 month phone contracts. All their SIM only plans do not have any mid-contract price increases, remaining fixed for the duration of the contract.

If you take out a 24 month phone contract with iD Mobile, the monthly fee will increase every 1st April using the CPI rate for January (published mid-February) plus a 3.9% fee.

For 2024, the January CPI rate is 4.2%, which was published on 14th February. This means the mid-contract price increase for 24 month phone contracts will be 8.1% (4.2% CPI + 3.9% fee) on 1st April. This amount will compound for consecutive mid-contract price increases every 1st April.

Unfortunately, the way iD Mobile’s phone contracts are structured means that mid-contract price increases will be greater compared to other networks which also have mid-contract price increases. This is because with other networks, the device and airtime plan are separate contracts, with mid-contract price increases only applying to the airtime plan. However, since iD Mobile phone contracts are combined as a single contract without separate airtime and device plans, the mid-contract price increase will be applied to the whole monthly price.

This is definitely something you should consider when taking out a phone contract with iD Mobile. With high and unpredictable inflation rates at the present moment, you could end up paying significantly more every month from when you first signed your contract. So the initial cheap prices may increase to a substantial amount.

Pay as you go is a miss

If you want to join a network that is designed with traditional pay as you rates, we suggest you look elsewhere.

iD Mobile do not offer free SIM cards. You must purchase a SIM card with a 1 month plan.

Although you can cancel the 1 month plan at any time, and top up your account to use it like a traditional pay as you SIM, there are a few caveats that make this unreasonable.

First of all, you need to top up at least £10 every 2 months to keep your account active. If you don’t top up the minimum amount, iD Mobile will deactivate your account. You might as well pay the £6 monthly plan, which includes 5GB data and unlimited minutes and texts. This works out to £12 every 2 months - only £2 more.

iD Mobile’s out of plan rates for contracts are more expensive compared to their pay as you go rates. Although still not the cheapest, calls only cost 3p per minute, and 2p per text. Data is quite expensive however, which costs £10 per GB (1p per MB). So this is the rate you will be charged if you go over your allowance with a 1 month plan, which is not unreasonable for emergencies, but is not practical or feasible for long term use.

Only average customer service, with online support only

In Ofcom’s recent complaints data for mobile providers, iD Mobile ranked in the middle for complaints, with an industry average of 4 complaints per 100,000 customers. Three was joint with 4 complaints. BT Mobile and O2 were the only 2 networks with worse results than iD Mobile, receiving 5 and 6 complaints per 100,000 customers, respectively. So while not bad, it’s not exactly a great result for iD Mobile.

On the other hand, iD Mobile fairs quite well when it comes to customer reviews. They have a 4 star rating on Trustpilot with over 25,000 reviews.

However, 24% of reviews are 1 star ratings, which is considerably more than most networks. The majority of these 1 star reviews mention the inconsistent signal (powered by Three) and poor communication from customer service.

One downside of iD Mobile is that they do not have any call centres. All support is 100% online, with a live chat service and community forum.

Live chat is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm, and weekends from 9am to 6pm.

The community forum is quite active, with 50,000 posts and over 90,000 members. There are also iD Mobile employees participating in the forum, for official support.