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iD Mobile Coverage and Network Review

8th November 2018

iD Mobile Logo

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.

We’ll also look at the areas in which iD Mobile isn’t so good, to give you a full overview and review of the network.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Affordable and flexible plans

Tethering not supported

Data rollover

Maximum 20GB data allowance

Offers Wi-Fi and 4G Calling

Free EU roaming only, not worldwide

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 Networks Update, October 2018

Network

4G download speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

28.9Mbps

39.77ms

iD Mobile (Three)

18.78Mbps

48.15ms

Vodafone

21.92Mbps

40.78ms

O2

14.61Mbps

42.38ms

In an OpenSignal report from October 2018, Three was found to have the third fastest 4G download speeds at 18.78Mbps on average. Since iD Mobile uses Three’s infrastructure it’s likely to offer similar speeds.

However, Three’s latency (the amount of time it takes for the network to respond to a request), averaged 48.15ms in this report, which is slower than any rival.

Speedtest – Mobile Speedtest Data, Q3-Q4 2017

Network

Download/upload speeds

EE

28.80/9.29Mbps

Vodafone

17.26/8.16Mbps

iD Mobile (Three)

14.58/7.35Mbps

O2

14.11/7.13Mbps

A Speedtest report from late 2017 paints a similar picture, as it shows Three’s average download speed as being 14.58Mbps and its average upload speed as being 7.35Mbps.

Those scores are worse than either EE or Vodafone, but they still top O2 and they factor in both 4G and 3G use.

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.

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 recently revealed that it has begun a £2 billion+ investment designed to overhaul its network in preparation for 5G. Some of that upgrade work is already complete and should benefit both Three and iD Mobile even before 5G is available.

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.”

iD Mobile also doesn’t allow tethering, but 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, but tethering is not permitted.

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

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.

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 £25.

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 doesn’t currently allow tethering at all, which means you can’t use your phone’s data and signal to get other devices online. This is a major point against the network, as most networks do allow users to tether.

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 a small number of handsets, including recent iPhones and select Android handsets, such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Note 9. 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 recent iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Samsung Galaxy S9, 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.

SIM Only Deals

All Plans Include: Capping, Data Rollover and Roaming

ID-SIM-compressor

500MB data

150 minutes

Unlimited texts

£3.99 a month

See Deal

ID-SIM-compressor

1GB data

500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£5 a month

See Deal

ID-SIM-compressor

4GB data

500minutes

Unlimited texts

£8 a month

See Deal

ID-SIM-compressor

7GB data

500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£10.00 a month

See Deal

20GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£20.00 a month

See Deal

Compare iD SIM Only Deals

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.

Those looking to tether or needing massive data allowances should consider looking elsewhere though.

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