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Honest Mobile Review

13th May 2024

Honest Mobile

Honest Mobile has a more distinct USP than many MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), as rather than simply being cheaper than the big four, it aims to be better for the planet.

What does that mean? Well, Honest Mobile is carbon negative and a Certified B Corp. And that’s not all, as well as having planet-friendly plans, Honest Mobile also aims to be fair to customers by reducing your price over time to reward you for sticking with the network – that’s the opposite of the annual price rises found on many networks.

Of course, none of that matters much if Honest Mobile can’t get the basics right, so is this Three MVNO a good all-round network, or does it falter? Read on to find out.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Carbon negative

Very few plans to choose from

Prices drop over time

High starting prices

Inclusive EU Roaming

 

Our Verdict 

Table of Contents

Plans

Honest Mobile only offers SIM Only plans, and only a very small number of them.

Honest Mobile SIM Only Plans

Plans Available

Max Data

Unlimited

Contract length

30 days or 12 months

 Deals

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Honest Mobile sells just a trio of SIM Only plans, which you can get in either a 1-month or 12-month duration.

Pick the 12-month option and the monthly price you pay will be lower, but of course you’re also then committing to the plan for at least 12 months. However, you can change your allowances whenever you want, you just can’t cancel for a year if you pick a 12-month plan.

Honest Mobile’s SIM Only plans come with up to unlimited data, and they all come with unlimited minutes and texts. They also include 5G, and a range of other perks and features, which we’ve discussed further down.

Value for money

Honest Mobile’s top plan – offering unlimited data – is very affordable, coming in at £25 per month if taken on a 30 day duration. That’s the same price as an unlimited plan on Lebara for example and cheaper than VOXI.

It can even get cheaper if you pick a 12-month duration, and because prices drop over time it can reach as little as £17.50 with a loyalty discount.

That puts the price marginally lower than even Smarty, which is one of the very cheapest networks.

However, the cheapest plan on Honest Mobile is quite a lot more expensive than some rival networks, and is pricey even for the amount of data that you get. So in other words if you want unlimited data then this is a good value network, but its other plans – giving you a choice of 4GB or 10GB – aren’t so attractively priced.

SIM Only Deals
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Extras and benefits

Honest Mobile has various additional features on its plans, which you can read about below.

Honest Mobile Perks and Policies

5G

Roaming

(EU Only)

Tethering

Wi-Fi Calling

VoLTE

Data Rollover

Spending Caps

Unlimited Data

Family Plans

Credit Check

5G

Honest Mobile delivers 5G as standard, at no extra cost, on all of its plans. So all you need is a 5G phone.

Roaming Destinations

Honest Mobile allows EU roaming at no extra cost, up to a fair usage limit of 20GB. However, Honest Mobile’s approach is slightly different to most networks in that it gives you five free roaming days each trip you take, with subsequent days costing £2 per day to access your allowances.

Tethering

Honest Mobile lets you tether without limits, other than your standard data allowance. If you pick a plan with unlimited data, then there are no real limits at all.

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling is offered by Honest Mobile. This means you can make and receive calls over Wi-Fi, seamlessly with your normal number. So it’s great when there’s no mobile signal.

VoLTE

VoLTE is also offered by Honest Mobile, and this means you can call and text over 4G, rather than being limited to 3G and 2G. The upshot is that you’ll be able to call and text in more places than on a network without VoLTE..

Data rollover

There’s no data rollover on Honest Mobile, though the network notes that if you frequently end up with loads of data left at the end of the month, you’ll receive a notification inviting you to downgrade to a lower allowance plan (though you can do this at any time even if you haven’t received a notification).

Spending caps

Honest Mobile offers spending caps, meaning you can limit the amount that you spend on out of bundle charges.

Unlimited data

You can get up to unlimited data on Honest Mobile, though the network notes that you might be limited to 3G speeds if you use more than 650GB of data in a single month.

Family plans

Honest Mobile doesn’t advertise any family plans, so there aren’t any discounts or perks for having additional SIM cards on your account.

Credit checks

There are no credit checks on Honest Mobile, so you’ll be accepted for a plan even if you have a bad credit record.

Unique perks

Honest Mobile prides itself on being good for the planet, which it achieves through turning every kilo of CO2 that your phone emits carbon negative – and you can see your impact in the Honest Mobile app.

Honest Mobile is also a Certified B Corp, which means it has been certified as delivering good social and environmental performance. So you can feel good about being an Honest Mobile customer.

Honest Mobile also stands out through lowering your bill over time. Your bill will be reduced every month, until it’s up to 30% lower than it started.

Plus, you have the option of getting an eSIM on Honest Mobile. That’s not a unique perk, but it’s certainly one that not every network offers.

Network

Which network does Honest Mobile use?

Honest Mobile uses Three’s network, which means its coverage and speeds should be much the same.

Coverage

Three’s – and by extension Honest Mobile’s – 4G coverage is almost comprehensive, and its 5G coverage is rapidly improving, but you can see the current status below.

Honest Mobile Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

5G

Now available in at least 588 locations

4G 

99.8%

3G

98.7% (switched off by 2024)

2G

N/A

Speeds

Opensignal – Mobile Network Experience, September 2023, and April 2020

Network

Download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

40.0/9.3Mbps

36.0ms

Honest Mobile (Three)

34.5/6.3Mbps

48.3ms

Vodafone

27.9/8.0Mbps

39.0ms

O2

20.9/5.0Mbps

38.1ms

Honest Mobile use’s Three’s infrastructure, so we can look at Three’s speed results to get a picture of Honest Mobile too.

On that front then, in an Opensignal report from September 2023, Three recorded an average download speed of 34.5Mbps, along with an average upload speed of 6.3Mbps. That’s using a combination of 5G, 4G, and 3G.

For latency, in an April 2020 report Three’s 4G latency was found to be an unimpressive 48.3ms. We’re using this older report here because latency wasn’t included in more recent ones.

Where Three really excels though is 5G, with an average 5G download speed of 205.5Mbps according to Opensignal data from September 2023. That the highest average any network achieved there.

Three’s median 5G download speed was found to be 165.7Mbps in a RootMetrics report from the second half of 2023, and its 95th percentile speed was found to be a massive 853.4Mbps – which have every other network beat.

There’s also Speedtest data from the second half of 2023, which put Three’s median 5G latency at a respectable 31ms.

Traffic management

On the subject of traffic management, all Honest Mobile appears to say is: “If our network is experiencing high demand or unusually high traffic we might need to slow down the speed of your mobile service.”

Network Frequencies

Honest Mobile Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

700MHz

n29 5G

800MHz

Band 20 4G

1400MHz

Band 32 4G

1800MHz

Band 3

4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G

3400MHz

n78 5G

3600-4000MHz

n77 5G

Honest Mobile uses the same spectrum as Three, meaning it should have access to the spectrum in the chart above.

Broadly, the lower the frequency of the spectrum the better it is at travelling over long distances and the better it is at passing through obstacles, but higher frequency spectrum is typically available in greater capacity, which helps deal with large numbers of connections. So a mix of frequencies is ideal, and that’s exactly what Three – and by extension Honest Mobile – has. Note though that different frequencies are used for 3G, 4G, and 5G.

You can find out more about of all these bands in our 4G and 5G frequencies guide.

Customer Service

Honest Mobile claims that its average customer service response time was just 35 seconds in 2023, which is impressively low.

Beyond that, it also fares well on Trustpilot, with a score of 4.7 out of five (equating to a rating of ‘excellent’).

Conclusion

Honest Mobile’s main selling points are being good for the environment and reducing your phone bill over time.

Those are great selling points, and there’s loads more to like about Honest Mobile too, including free EU roaming, support for eSIMs, and useful features like Wi-Fi Calling and spending caps.

However, unless you want unlimited data then you can definitely get more data for your money elsewhere, and with only three plans to choose from there aren’t many options on Honest Mobile.

Alternatives

You could of course choose Three instead, since it has the same coverage as Honest Mobile. However, it lacks the environmental credentials, and free roaming doesn’t come as standard.

Smarty is an – in most cases cheaper – alternative that also uses Three’s coverage, so if price is key, then that’s worth considering.

Alternatively, if you want different coverage there are loads of options to consider – check out our full list of network reviews to find out more.

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