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Audacious Review and Network Coverage

25th February 2020

Audacious Mobile

Audacious Mobile has ceased operation and is no longer taking new sales orders.

Audacious is a unique mobile network in that it’s designed for people with hearing loss. It uses an online test to measure your hearing and then is able to reprocess the sound of calls to suit your hearing profile, so you can hear them better. And you can re-take the hearing test at any time, so your sound profile keeps up with your hearing as it changes over time.

By and large, customers seem to feel that this really works, with Audacious claiming that 9/10 people experience clearer mobile phone calls when using its network and tech.

That’s likely reason enough for some people to choose Audacious, but there are other things to consider, such as its coverage (which it shares with EE as it’s an EE/BT MVNO), and its available plans, prices and extras. You’ll find an overview and assessment of all these things below.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Improves call clarity

Few plans

Reasonably affordable

Low data limits

Short-term contracts

Limited extras 

Our Verdict 

Coverage

Audacious Network Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

4G 

>99%

3G

98%

2G

99%

 

Audacious uses EE's infrastructure, which means it has coverage in the same places. That means greater than 99% 4G coverage, which is likely equal to or greater than the coverage of all rival networks.

3G and 2G coverage is also strong, as you can see in the chart above – though at this point all UK networks provide great 4G and 3G coverage, so there’s not much difference there. The important thing is just making sure you have coverage in your area, which you can use Audacious’ coverage checker to see.

4G Network Coverage Comparison

Network

4G coverage by population

Audacious (EE)

>99%

Vodafone

99%

O2

99%

Three

99.8%

4G from EE (and therefore also Audacious) is available in thousands of cities, towns, villages and other communities, including but not limited to the following cities:

Aberdeen, Armagh, Bangor, Bath, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Chichester, Coventry, Derby, Derry, Dundee, Durham, Edinburgh, Ely, Exeter,  Glasgow, Gloucester, Hereford, Inverness, Kingston upon Hull, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Newry, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Peterlee, Perth, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Ripon, Sheffield, Southampton, St Albans, St Asaph, St David’s, Salford, Salisbury, Stirling, Stoke, Sunderland, Swansea, Truro, Wakefield, Wells, City of Westminster, Winchester, Wolverhampton Worcester and York.

5G coverage

Audacious doesn’t yet offer a 5G service, and given that its focus is on call clarity rather than data speed this may not be a priority for the network.

If and when it does start offering 5G though it would currently be reliant on EE for coverage, just as it is for 4G, and that’s a good thing, as EE was the first UK network to launch a 5G service, and its coverage is rapidly improving.

Network Speeds and Frequencies

Audacious uses standard 4G speeds, which are roughly 5 times faster than a standard 3G network.

OpenSignal – Mobile Network Experience, October 2019

Network

4G download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

33.7/8.9Mbps

37.3ms

Three

21.6/7.4Mbps

46.3ms

Vodafone

25.1/7.8Mbps

39.4ms

O2

16.9/5.7Mbps

37.4ms

There isn’t much data on the exact speeds offered by Audacious, but there is some on EE, which might be similar, given the same infrastructure and spectrum is used.

As you can see in the chart above showing data from late 2019, EE managed average 4G download speeds of 33.7Mbps, average 4G upload speeds of 8.9Mbps, and average 4G latency (the time a network takes to respond to a request, measured in milliseconds) of 37.3ms. All of which is better than rivals.

Audacious Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1800MHz

Band 3

2G & 4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G & 4G

2600MHz

Band 7

4G

 

EE (and therefore also Audacious) uses the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz frequencies for 4G. The 800MHz frequency is both long range and good at penetrating walls, making it good for both rural areas and indoor coverage.

The 2600MHz frequency is shorter range but better at handling lots of simultaneous connections, making it a good fit for cities and other busy places. The 1800MHz and 2100MHz frequencies stand between these two. You can find in-depth details of all these frequency bands in our 4G frequencies guide.

If and when Audacious starts offering 5G, it’s likely to use the 3400Mhz band for that, which is the highest frequency of all these bands, so it’s shorter range but good for congested areas.

Planned Improvements

Audacious is reliant on EE for most network improvements, and EE’s focus right now it mostly on expanding its 5G coverage, which will benefit Audacious if and when it starts offering a 5G service of its own.

Traffic Management

Audacious doesn’t appear to publish a traffic management policy as such, but as part of its acceptable use policy it states that you must “act in accordance with all commercially acceptable use policies of any third party telecommunications suppliers and the reasonable use standards normally expected over the Internet; e) you use the Services for private, consumer, non-commercial use and don’t resell our Services.”

And that you must “use only equipment approved for use with the network and do not act in a way which may damage or affect the operation of the network or any systems or the quality of the Services or our other customers, including by using GSM gateways or SIM-boxes or generating artificially inflated traffic.”

Otherwise you risk having your service suspended or terminated.

Plans

Audacious offers just four SIM Only plans. There’s no Pay As You Go and no plans that come with a phone.

Audacious SIM deals

Plan

Monthly Cost

Buy Now

0GB data

250 mins

250 texts

£5 a month

SEE DEAL

1GB data

500 mins 

500 texts

4G Plan

£7.50 a month

SEE DEAL

5GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

4G Plan

£10 a month

SEE DEAL

10GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

4G Plan

£20 a month

SEE DEAL

 

Plan Benefits

EU Roaming

Global Roaming

Tethering

Data Rollover

Wi-Fi Calling

VoLTE

All plans on Audacious last just 30 days and at the bottom end there’s one with no data at all – which is a rarity these days, but will suit some users. Data is quite limited even at the top end though, so this network isn’t ideal for heavy internet users. However, you can get unlimited minutes and texts, and of course that hearing technology that the network sells itself on.

There’s very little in the way of extras, though tethering and free EU roaming are both included.

Data Only Plans – For Tablets and Dongles

Audacious doesn’t currently offer any data-only plans.

Pay As You Go

Audacious doesn’t currently offer any Pay As You Go services.

Tethering

While we couldn’t find any mention of tethering on the Audacious website, a customer service agent told as that “as far as I know, if your mobile phone allows you to hotspot to another device, our SIMs should support that function.”

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling means making calls over Wi-Fi, but at the time of writing this service isn’t offered by Audacious.

VoLTE

VoLTE stands for Voice Over LTE, sometimes called 4G Calling. It means making calls over 4G, but this isn’t currently offered by Audacious.

Roaming Destinations

Audacious lets you use your allowance of minutes, texts and data at no extra cost in the following places:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Customer Service

There’s not much data on Audacious’ customer service, but at the time of writing it has a 4.4/5 rating on Trustpilot. That’s based on just 57 user reviews, which isn’t many, but it’s a very good score, equating to ‘excellent’.

Conclusion

Audacious has one clear purpose: making phone calls clearer. That could be beneficial to anyone, but for those with significant hearing issues it makes Audacious not just the best but potentially the only choice – especially as its tech appears to really work for most people.

In all other ways it’s an unremarkable network. Prices are fairly low, but not as low as some, data limits are low, extras are few, and it just has SIM Only plans. It ticks all the basic network boxes but doesn’t do much more than that, but with its hearing tech it arguably doesn’t need to.

As such the high rating we’ve given it is based primarily on its USP – if you don’t need or care about clearer calls, this probably isn’t the network for you. But at the time of writing it’s a fairly new network, so who knows, one day it might excel in other ways too.

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