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Lyca Mobile Review

29th November 2023

LycaMobile Network Coverage

Wondering if Lyca Mobile is the network for you? It’s primarily aimed at people who want to make affordable international calls, but it has started to stand out more recently thanks to the addition of unlimited data plans and 5G.

It’s a basic network in a lot of ways though, so while there’s plenty to like about Lyca Mobile it’s definitely not for everyone.

Read on for our full Lyca Mobile review, highlighting what’s good about the network, what’s not, and what type of user it’s best for. You’ll also find a detailed look at Lyca Mobile’s 4G and 5G coverage on this page.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Short-term plans

Limited to EU roaming

Unlimited data option

No WiFi Calling or VoLTE

Inclusive international calls

 

Our Rating

Table of Contents

Plans

Lyca Mobile has a wide range of SIM Only plans and also allows you to Pay As You Go. Smartphones can also be bought on the network, but not on contract. More details of plans can be found below, however note that all plans come with 5G at no extra cost.

SIM Only Plans

 

UK Plans

International Bundles

Max Data Allowance

Unlimited

Unlimited

Contract Length

1 or 12 months

30 days

 

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Lyca Mobile’s SIM Only plans are split between UK ones and international ones. The UK ones don’t allow you to roam outside the EU, though some do let you call international destinations at no extra cost. They top out at unlimited data, which not all networks offer, and last a choice of 30 days or 12 months.

International plans also limit your inclusive roaming to the EU, however, most of the international bundles let you call dozens of international destinations from the UK at no extra cost, while most of the UK bundles either don’t allow this or include fewer international minutes.

But because of this, the international plans tend to cost more for the allowances you get.

It’s disappointing that a network with an international focus doesn’t have a wider roaming option, but unlimited data is a big bonus for those who need it.

Plus, Lyca Mobile offers a Pay As You Go service at a rate of 15p per minute to a landline, 23p per minute to a mobile, 15p per megabyte of data and 23p per text. However, calls and texts to other UK Lyca Mobile users are free. Given that many of its SIM Only bundles only last 30 days or less these are also appropriate for use with Pay As You Go.

Value for money

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With plans starting from just £4 per month currently, Lyca Mobile is one of the most affordable SIM Only networks in the UK. That said, the allowances you get for equivalent amounts of money can be beaten on some other networks – though you additionally get international minutes here, which help increase the value if that’s important to you.

Lyca Mobile isn’t overly competitive for Pay As You Go, so given that it has an assortment of 30-day plans we’d suggest most people choose these over the Pay As You Go service.

Extras and benefits

As the chart below shows, Lyca Mobile has a number of perks and policies that are worth being aware of, with highlights including free EU roaming. We’ve detailed these under the chart.

Lyca Mobile Perks and Policies

5G

Free Roaming

(in EU)

Tethering

Wi-Fi Calling

VoLTE

Data Rollover

Spending Caps

Unlimited Data

Family Plans

Credit Check

5G

Lyca Mobile offers 5G as standard on all of its current plans, so you don’t have to pay extra to get it. You will however need to make sure you have a 5G phone in order to use it.

Roaming Destinations

Many Lyca Mobile plans (including Pay As You Go) allow you to use your minutes, texts, and data at no extra cost in the EU. However, you can’t roam for free further afield. Note also that there’s a variable roaming limit depending on your plan, which at the time of writing allows at most 35GB of data to be used abroad each month at no extra cost.

Tethering

Tethering refers to using your phone’s mobile internet connection to get other devices online. This isn’t something that Lyca Mobile used to offer, but the network now does. That’s good as this is now a standard feature on most networks.

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling refers to making and receiving calls over Wi-Fi. It can also be used for texts and is beneficial as it means you can stay in touch when there’s no mobile signal, without having to use a separate app or account – you just use your number as normal. However, this service isn’t currently offered by Lyca Mobile. That said, the company has said this is planned for the future.

VoLTE

VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE (aka 4G Calling) and is a similar idea to Wi-Fi Calling, except rather than using Wi-Fi to call and text you use 4G. The benefits are similar too, as it means you can talk and text where you wouldn’t otherwise be able to, but as with Wi-Fi Calling it’s not currently offered by Lyca Mobile.

Data rollover

Lyca Mobile doesn’t offer data rollover, which means you have just one chance to use your monthly data allowance – at the end of the month it will expire, and your allowance will reset. This is standard, but there are some networks that give you a second month (or even longer) to use up your remaining data, so it’s not wasted.

Spending caps

Lyca Mobile doesn’t offer spending caps, so you can’t customise how much you want to be able to spend outside your allowances, but the network instead simply doesn’t allow you to spend outside your allowance or top up credit. So if you have no credit on your account, then you won’t be hit with any surprise bills.

Unlimited data

Lyca Mobile offers plans with unlimited data, so you can browse, download, and stream without limits.

Note however that there’s a variable cap when roaming, depending on which unlimited data plan you have – at the time of writing the most you can use appears to be 35GB. Lyca Mobile also has a fair use limit of around 450GB per month in the UK.

Family plans

Lyca Mobile doesn’t offer family plans, so there are no perks or discounts offered for having multiple SIM cards on your account. That’s a slight shame but is true of a lot of other networks as well.

Credit checks

Lyca Mobile will credit check you if you take out a contract, however its Pay As You Go service – like all Pay As You Go services – doesn’t involve a credit check, so that’s an option if your credit is poor.

Unique perks

The main extra perk you’ll get on Lyca Mobile is international calling included in your plan. Typically you’ll get between 100 and unlimited such minutes, and these allow you to call 40 countries. Alternatively, there are plans with free calls just to a specific country, like Pakistan, Turkey, or Morocco. As well as a few plans that allow for international calls to a small number of countries – so more than one but fewer than 40.

Network

Which network does Lyca Mobile use?

Lyca Mobile is an EE MVNO (meaning it uses EE’s infrastructure and spectrum), so it has coverage in all the same places as EE – that’s true whether you’re connecting via 5G, 4G or 3G. Of course, that also means that its coverage will improve when EE’s does.

Coverage

EE – and therefore Lyca Mobile – has widespread coverage with 4G and 3G, as you can see in the chart below. Its 5G coverage isn’t as extensive yet, but it’s growing fast.

Lyca Mobile Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

5G

Now available in over 1,000 locations

4G 

>99%

3G

98% (switching off in 2024)

2G

99%

Network speeds

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

Network

Download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

Lyca Mobile (EE)

40.0/9.3Mbps

36.0ms

Three

34.5/6.3Mbps

48.3ms

Vodafone

27.9/8.0Mbps

39.0ms

O2

20.9/5.0Mbps

38.1ms

An Opensignal report from September 2023 found that EE has an average download speed of 40.0Mbps, an average upload speed of 9.3Mbps, and an earlier April 2020 report found that its average latency (the time the network takes to respond to a request) was 36.0ms.

Those are all better results than Three, Vodafone or O2, and that’s good news for Lyca Mobile, as it’s likely to sport similar results. Those speed results factor in a combination of 5G, 4G and 3G.

For 5G specifically, we’ll have to look at EE again, and that network was found to have a UK-wide average download speed of 99.5Mbps by Opensignal in September 2023, which is behind Three and Vodafone. Elsewhere, a RootMetrics report found in the first half of 2023 that EE’s median 5G download speed was more impressive at 144.6Mbps.

Traffic management

Lyca Mobile doesn’t currently publish a full traffic management policy, but it does say that there is a fair use policy, which could see your service limited or terminated if your usage is continually ‘excessive’ or ‘unreasonable.’

Network Frequencies

Lyca Mobile Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

700Mhz

N29

5G

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1800MHz

Band 3

2G & 4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G & 4G

2600MHz

Band 7

4G

3400MHz

N78

5G

3600MHz

N77

5G

Lyca Mobile presumably uses all the same bands as EE, meaning the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz bands would be used for 4G. The 800MHz band is long range, making it great for rural locations where mobile masts are often spread far apart.

It’s also proficient at penetrating walls and other solid objects, making it useful in towns and cities too, and helping to make sure you can get 4G coverage whether you’re inside or outside. 

The 2600MHz band on the other hand can deal with lots of connections, making it suited to busy cities and the like, but it isn’t as long range or as good at passing through objects.

The 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands sit somewhere in between those two in terms of their strengths and weaknesses.

For 5G, Lyca Mobile should have access to the 700MHz, 3400MHz and 3600MHz bands.

For more in-depth information, check out our 4G and 5G frequencies guide.

Customer Service

Lyca Mobile’s customer service is hard to judge, especially as no significant recent reports exist on it. However, the network has a Trustpilot rating of 3.1/5, which is classed as ‘average’. That’s based on 16,033 reviews at the time of writing.

Conclusion

Lyca Mobile is the network to choose if you plan to make a lot of international calls. It’s also a strong choice if you just don’t want to be tied into a contract for long or need unlimited data.

It’s not quite as strong for roaming as you might expect an internationally focused network to be though, and beyond inclusive international calls it’s not really doing anything that you can’t get on many other networks.

As such, Lyca Mobile wouldn’t be our first choice for most people, but if you do a lot of international calling to the included locations then it could be the best choice.

Alternatives

If you’re looking for an alternative network with the same coverage then of course you either want EE itself (which offers a wider range of plans and extras but isn’t as good for international calling), or another network that shares EE’s infrastructure, though there aren’t many of the latter at the time of writing.

If on the other hand it’s the international calling that particularly appeals, then it’s worth looking in to Lebara. This network has different coverage, but also puts a focus on international calls.

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