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Plusnet Mobile Review and Network Coverage

17th March 2022

Plusnet Mobile Network Coverage

Plusnet Mobile has a number of things going for it, starting with the fact that it’s owned by BT, which also owns EE. That means it uses EE’s infrastructure, which is a good thing as EE has more 4G coverage than rivals and even some 5G coverage – though Plusnet itself doesn’t yet offer 5G.

Beyond that, Plusnet Mobile looks to stand out primarily by being cheap, with its standard 4G tariffs starting at just £6 per month, and special offers regularly pushing prices even lower.

There are other pros and cons to Plusnet Mobile though, so we’ve put the network through a full review. Read on for a complete look at it.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Cheap

Low data limits

Good 4G coverage

No inclusive roaming beyond Europe

Even better value for broadband customers

Only offers SIM Only plans

Our Verdict 

Table of Contents

Coverage

Which network does Plusnet Mobile use?

Plusnet Mobile uses EE’s network, as both of these companies are owned by BT. That means you can get 4G and 3G in all the same places as EE on Plusnet Mobile, though while EE offers 5G, Plusnet doesn’t yet at the time of writing.

Plusnet Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

4G 

> 99%

3G

98%

2G

99%

5G coverage

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t yet offer 5G, but if and when it starts it will have coverage in the same places as EE. At the time of writing that means parts of at least 168 towns and cities, and EE is continuing to expand its 5G coverage rapidly.

4G coverage

Plusnet Mobile uses EE’s infrastructure, and that’s good news, as EE has more extensive 4G infrastructure than any other UK network, with over 99% population coverage and over 86% of the UK geography covered. It’s rapidly expanding too.

4G from Plusnet Mobile is now available in thousands of locations, including 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.

3G coverage

Plusnet has also got great 3G and 2G population coverage, at 98% and 99% respectively.

Use Plusnet’s coverage checker above to find out more about Plusnet 4G coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

Plans

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t have the same range of plans as most networks, as currently it just has a SIM Only service with a handful of tariffs. However, these are generally cheap, they all include 4G at no extra cost, and they all allow you to use as much of your data as you want for tethering.

Plusnet Mobile Plans

 

New Customers

Broadband Customers

Max Data Allowance

50GB 52GB

Contract Length

1 month 1 month

View Plans

SIM Only Deals
Plusnet

1 Month Contract

5 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£6.00 a month

View Deal

Plusnet

1 Month Contract

15 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£8.00 a month

View Deal

Plusnet

1 Month Contract

30 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£10.00 a month

View Deal

Plusnet

1 Month Contract

50 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£15.00 a month

View Deal

View All Plusnet Sim Only Deals

If you’re just a mobile customer, you can get between 1GB and 50GB of SIM-only data at the time of writing. If on the other hand you’re a Plusnet Broadband customer each tariff comes with 2GB of extra data, so you can get between 3GB and 52GB, without paying any extra.

Note that Plusnet changes its available allowances regularly, so these exact limits might not last long.

If you need extra minutes, texts, or data you can also purchase bolt-ons, which give you a one-off batch to top you up until next month.

The main downside to Plusnet Mobile’s plans is simply that even at the top end, data limits are quite low.

Plusnet Mobile Perks and Policies

5G

Roaming

Tethering

Wi-Fi Calling

VoLTE

Data Rollover

Spending Caps

Unlimited Data

Family Plans

Credit Check

As you can see in the chart above, Plusnet Mobile doesn’t have a whole lot of extras, but we’ve detailed what it does have – along with key policies – below.

5G

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t yet offer 5G, despite being owned by BT – which both offers 5G and owns EE, which has its own 5G infrastructure. The lack of 5G here is presumably to keep Plusnet Mobile as a low-cost alternative, but we’d expect it would get 5G capabilities eventually.

Roaming destinations

Plusnet Mobile lets you roam for free in the following destinations:

Åland Islands, Andorra, Anguilla, Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City.

Note however that if your allowance includes 20GB of data or more, then you can only use up to 15GB at no extra cost when roaming.

Tethering

Plusnet Mobile allows you to tether your phone to other devices, meaning you can share your data connection with them and get them online. The only limit is your data allowance.

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling means making and receiving calls over a Wi-Fi network. It works seamlessly using your normal number but means you can stay in touch with people when there’s no mobile signal. However, Plusnet Mobile doesn’t offer Wi-Fi Calling.

VoLTE

VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE, also known as 4G Calling. This feature allows you to make and receive calls over 4G, so you can still communicate when there’s no 2G or 3G signal. This too isn’t offered by Plusnet Mobile though.

Data rollover

There’s no data rollover on Plusnet Mobile. That means you can’t roll any unused data over to a second month, so you should make sure you use it while you can.

Spending caps

Plusnet Mobile offers a spending cap which it calls Smart Cap. This can be set at anywhere between £0 and £30, so that you won’t be able to spend more than that on chargeable services, such as premium numbers. It’s a handy feature, but most networks offer something similar.

Unlimited data

There’s no unlimited data option on Plusnet Mobile, which really marks it out as a basic, low-cost network. The available allowances are regularly changed, and also vary depending on whether you’re a Plusnet Broadband customer or not, but they’re generally middling at the top end, with 52GB being the most you can get at the time of writing.

Family plans

Plusnet Mobile doesn’t offer family plans or similar, so you can’t get discounts for having multiple SIMs on your account.

Credit checks

Despite its plans only tying you in for 30 days, Plusnet Mobile may credit check you. However, as the plans are so short term this check is likely to be easier to pass than one for a 12 or 24-month contract would be.

Unique perks

If you’re a Plusnet Broadband customer then you can get 2GB of extra data on plans at no extra cost, so it rewards customers who sign up for multiple services. That’s about the only unique perk offered by Plusnet Mobile though.

Awards

Plusnet Mobile won Uswitch's Best SIM Only Network in both 2020 and 2019, so while it’s not been as highly awarded recently, it has a strong history of winning awards.

Network

Network Speeds

Plusnet Mobile uses standard 4G, which is up to around 5 times faster than a standard 3G network.

Opensignal – Mobile Network Experience, September 2021, and April 2020

Network

Download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

Plusnet Mobile (EE)

44/9.7Mbps

36.0ms

Three

25.2/6.3Mbps

48.3ms

Vodafone

21.6/7.4Mbps

39.0ms

O2

17.1/5.4Mbps

38.1ms

In an OpenSignal report from September 2021, EE was found to have average download speeds of 44Mbps and average upload speeds of 9.7Mbps – in both cases higher than any rival.

Those speeds include all available connectivity types (so 5G, 4G and 3G) so may not be representative of what Plusnet Mobile offers, since you can’t get 5G with Plusnet. But in an earlier report from October 2020 it was found that EE had average 4G download speeds of 36.4Mbps and average 4G upload speeds of 9.1Mbps, which in both cases is also faster than any rival.

It also beat rivals for average latency (the time the network takes to respond to a request) at 36.0ms in a report from April 2020 – with this older report used because latency wasn’t included in more recent ones. While Plusnet wasn’t covered in the report, its results might be similar, since it uses the same spectrum and infrastructure.

Traffic management

At the time of writing, Plusnet Mobile doesn’t currently publish its traffic management policies. We’ll update this section if that changes.

Network Frequencies

Plusnet Mobile Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

1800MHz

Band 3

2G & 4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G & 4G

2600MHz

Band 7

4G

Plusnet Mobile uses three different bands for 4G: the 1800MHz band, the 2100MHz band and the 2600MHz one.

The 1800MHz one is reasonably long range and good at penetrating walls, while the 2600MHz band is much shorter range but is available in higher capacities, meaning it can deal with congested locations better. The 2100MHz band is a middle ground.

EE additionally uses the 700MHz, 3400MHz, and 3600MHz bands, but Plusnet probably won’t use these until it starts offering 5G, as that’s what EE uses them for. EE uses the 800MHz band too, and this is used for 4G, but Plusnet Mobile doesn’t appear to have access to that either.

You can find in depth details of these bands in our 4G and 5G frequencies guide.

Customer service

There haven’t been many reports into Plusnet Mobile’s customer service, but on Trustpilot the company at the time of writing has a score of 1.7/5 with 8,399 reviews and an overall rating of 'bad'. So that doesn't sound very promising, though it's not alone in having a low rating, and that rating is in part based on the broadband side of the company.

Conclusion

Plusnet Mobile is a low-cost network, making it a good choice if you want 4G on a tight budget. It becomes even better value if you’re a Plusnet Broadband customer.

But as it runs off EE’s infrastructure it’s also got better 4G coverage and higher 4G speeds than you might expect a cheap network to have. In fact, it can potentially beat big names like Vodafone, O2 and Three in those areas.

It lacks 5G though, and Plusnet is also light on extras and options, with just SIM Only tariffs available, low data limits, and no inclusive roaming beyond Europe.

As such it’s not a network for power users, but if your needs are fairly basic it should be a reliable, affordable option.

Alternatives

Since Plusnet Mobile has the same parent company as BT Mobile and EE, either one of those would make for an obvious alternative – assuming you want the same coverage. Both of those networks additionally offer 5G, and EE has all sorts of different types of plans and extras too. However, both are also typically more expensive.

If cost is a concern then consider other basic networks, like Smarty or Giffgaff, though be aware that their coverage differs.

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