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iD Mobile Review and Network Coverage

8th July 2019

iD Mobile Logo

Who are iD Mobile and which network do they use?

iD Mobile is a mobile network owned by the Carphone Warehouse that uses Three’s network. It offers a range of great value Pay Monthly, Pay As You Go and SIM Only plans.

But it really stands out due to the fact that plans come with data rollover and spending caps - we'll cover those things in detail below.

There are some ways in which iD Mobile doesn’t do such a good job though, which we’ll also look at below, giving you a full review and overview of the network.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Affordable and flexible plans

Phone plans have restrictive data

Data rollover

Free EU roaming only, not worldwide

Offers Wi-Fi and 4G Calling

 

Our Rating

Coverage

As iD Mobile uses Three’s network it has the same coverage as Three, as you'd expect.

iD Mobile Coverage

Network Type Coverage by population
4G  99.8%
3G 98.3%
2G N/A

That means iD Mobile has around 99.8% UK population coverage with 4G and around 98.3% with 3G.

Use iD Mobile's coverage checker above to find out more about iD Mobile coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

Towns and cities with partial or full coverage include but are not limited to: Aberdeen, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Gloucester, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Sheffield, Southampton, Southend On Sea, Stoke On Trent, Swindon, Watford and York.

That's a very small subset of locations and the full list is growing all the time, so expect 4G from iD Mobile in your area soon if you don't have it already.

Network Speeds and Frequencies

OpenSignal – Mobile Network Experience, April 2019

Network

4G download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

32.5/10.4Mbps

37.9ms

iD Mobile (Three)

21.6/8.3Mbps

48.7ms

Vodafone

24.3/8.5Mbps

41.2ms

O2

15.8/7.2Mbps

39.2ms

In an OpenSignal report from April 2019, Three was found to have the third fastest 4G download speeds at 21.6Mbps on average. Since iD Mobile uses Three’s infrastructure it’s likely to offer similar speeds. Its average upload speeds also come in third, at 8.3Mbps.

However, Three’s latency (the amount of time it takes for the network to respond to a request), averaged 48.7ms in this report, which is slower than any rival.

Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1800MHz

Band 3

4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G

iD Mobile uses 800MHz and 1800MHz bands for 4G, as well as the 2100MHz band for 3G. The 800MHz band helps with indoor and rural coverage, while the 1800MHz helps meet data demands in congested areas. You can find in depth details of those bands in our 4G frequencies guide.

If and when it rolls out 5G, it’s likely to start leveraging the 3.4GHz and 3.6-3.8GHz bands, which Three also has access to and plans to use for 5G.

Planned improvements

iD Mobile’s improvements are tied to Three’s, and that’s no bad thing as Three’s network and 4G coverage is continually improving.

Three is currently focused on overhauling its network and launching 5G, and while iD Mobile hasn’t yet revealed any 5G plans, it’s still likely to benefit from some of the network improvements.

Traffic management

Currently iD Mobile doesn’t publish its traffic management policy, other than to say that “at certain times the Network traffic will be managed when it begins to affect other customers on our Network.”

Beyond that there’s no information on whether it will slow certain types or amounts of data traffic.

Plans

iD Mobile has a range of plans available from as little as £4 per month. All plans come with free roaming in the EU, data rollover and spending caps.

iD Mobile Plans

 

Phone plans

SIM plans

Data Rollover

EU Roaming

Spending Cap

Tethering

4G

Max Data

10GB

20GB

Contract

24 months

1 month

Deals

View Plans

View Plans

 

SIM Only Deals
iD

1 Month Contract

1 GB data

500 mins

UNLIMITED texts

£5.00 a month

View Deal

iD

1 Month Contract

1 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£6.00 a month

View Deal

iD

1 Month Contract

3 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£9.00 a month

View Deal

View All iD Sim Only Deals

You’ll find more information on the extras offered by iD Mobile below, but looking at the core plans, the network is middling both in terms of data limits and the number of available tariffs that you can choose from. Data limits on Pay Monthly plans are particularly disappointing, but still comparable with many other MVNOs.

Free Data Rollover

All plans come with data rollover, meaning that unused data is carried over to the next month. That’s a great feature because it means you are less likely to run out of data!

Spending Caps

iD Mobiles plans are perfect for those who want to control their spending. They let you set an out-of-plan spending cap of between £0 and your credit limit.

What that means is that once your allowance is used up you won’t spend more than a set amount each month. Caps are great for parents looking to control their child’s spending or for those fearful of unexpected bills.

Tethering

iD Mobile didn’t used to allow you to tether but has now reversed that decision, so you can use your phone’s data to get other devices online.

WiFi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling means making and receiving calls and sending text messages over Wi-Fi, rather than over a mobile network. This allows you to stay in touch even when there’s no signal, and it’s seamless – you use your normal number, dialler and SMS app.

iD Mobile offers Wi-Fi Calling, but currently only on select handsets, including iPhones from the iPhone 5S onwards, and select Android handsets, such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10. Head here for a full, up to date list of supported phones.

VoLTE

VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE and is sometimes called 4G Calling. It’s similar to Wi-Fi Calling, but it works over 4G – so you can continue to call and text when you have a 4G signal but no 3G or 2G signal.

iD Mobile offers 4G Calling but only on a subset of handsets, including iPhones from the iPhone 6 onwards, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Samsung Galaxy S10, Huawei Mate 20 Pro and others. You’ll find the full list of supported devices here.

Free Roaming Abroad

iD Mobile plans give you free roaming abroad in 50 countries, so are perfect for those who regularly travel to foreign countries. When abroad in a destination you can use texts, calls and data allowances (subject to a fair usage policy which varies from plan to plan) like you would at home.

Free roaming is available in Austria, Azerbaijan, Azores, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Réunion, Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Vatican City.

Pay As You Go

iD Mobile also offers a trio of Pay As You Go bundles which come with a combination of texts, data and minutes. Bundles last for 1 month and can be set up to recur each month.

Pay As You Go Plans

Plans Available

Add-ons available

Max Data Allowance

4GB

Add-on expiry 

1 month

Top Up Expiry

90 days inactivity

Tethering

EU Roaming

No credit check

Pay As You Go SIM Cards

Bundle

Minutes

Texts

Data

£5 Value

125

500

100MB

£10 Value

500

Unlimited

1GB

£15 Value

1000

Unlimited

4GB

View Pay As You Go Deals

Once your allowance runs out you’ll enjoy low rates of 3p per min, 2 per text and 1p per MB of data. And if you prefer you can top-up and use your allowance without a bundle.

Customer service

According to the Which? H1 2017 UK Mobile Network Survey, iD Mobile has a customer score of 63% and comes in 8th place overall. That’s based on responses from 4,026 members of the public.

It additionally has a score of 2/5 for customer service, 3/5 for ease/speed of contacting, 4/5 for value for money and 2/5 for incentives. This report suggests that iD Mobile is average to slightly below average for customer service, but of course one report isn’t much to go on. We’ll update this section if more relevant studies are carried out.

Conclusion

iD Mobile is a robust, good value 4G network. Its major strengths come from the low prices and the extras you get from the plans – whether that’s rolled over data or 4G and Wi-Fi Calling. If any of those things are important to you it’s one of just a small number of suitable networks.

It's a well above average 4G network overall, but those needing massive data allowances or wanting to roam beyond Europe should consider looking elsewhere.

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