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SMARTY Mobile Review and Network Coverage

17th March 2021

SMARTY is an immediately eye-catching network, as it offers a number of low-cost and short-term SIM Only plans covering a range of data allowances.

And the plus points don’t end with that, as there are plenty of other things to like about SMARTY too, including an unlimited data plan.

But no network is perfect so read on to see what’s good about SMARTY, what’s not, and whether it’s the right fit for you.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Affordable and flexible plans

Only offers SIM Only plans

No credit checks

No 5G plans

Great value unlimited data plan

 

 

 

Our Rating

Coverage

As SMARTY uses Three’s network it has the same coverage as Three.

Smarty Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

4G 

99.8%

3G

98.7%

2G

N/A

smarty coverage checker

As you can see, SMARTY has around 99.8% UK population coverage with 4G and around 98.7% with 3G. Three is also continuing to improve its 4G population coverage, so SMARTY's coverage will be improving all the time too. 

Use SMARTY's coverage checker above to find out more about SMARTY 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.

5G coverage

SMARTY has said that it will be offering a 5G service but hasn’t yet said when, so stay tuned for updates. What we can say though is that as with 4G it will only be able to offer 5G in places where Three has coverage, which at the time of writing means parts of 154 towns and cities across the UK.

Network Speeds

Opensignal – Mobile Network Experience, October 2020, and April 2020

Network

4G download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

36.4/9.1Mbps

36.0ms

Smarty (Three)

22.2/8.0Mbps

48.3ms

Vodafone

22.4/8.5Mbps

39.0ms

O2

18.2/6.2Mbps

38.1ms

SMARTY’s use of Three’s infrastructure is seemingly middling when it comes to 4G speeds, as in an OpenSignal report from October 2020, Three was found to have 4G download speeds of 22.2Mbps on average and 4G upload speeds that averaged 8.0Mbps, beaten in both cases by EE and Vodafone. SMARTY’s speeds are likely to be similar.

However, being on Three is worse when it comes to latency (the amount of time it takes for the network to respond to a request), as in an April 2020 report Three’s came out slowest at 48.3ms. We’re using an older report here because latency wasn’t included in the October one.

Frequencies

Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1400MHz

Band 32 4G

1800MHz

Band 3

4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G

SMARTY uses Three’s spectrum, which means it has access to the 800MHz, 1400MHz 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 band helps meet data demands in congested areas, and the 1400MHz band fills the middle ground. You can find in depth details of those bands in our 4G frequencies guide.

If and when SMARTY starts offering 5G, it’s also likely to use the 3.4GHz and 3.6-4GHz bands, as Three has access to spectrum in those bands and it’s well-suited to 5G.

Planned improvements

SMARTY’s improvements will be largely dependent on Three, but the good news there is that Three is improving its network all the time.

At the moment that mostly means improving its 5G coverage – which will benefit SMARTY once the latter starts offering 5G, but improvements to 4G are being made as well.

Traffic management

SMARTY’s traffic management policy is simpler than most, as it simply says that it doesn't enforce any data shaping or network throttling, which is to say that your speeds and bandwidth shouldn’t be intentionally slowed under any circumstances.

SMARTY Plans

SMARTY has a range of plans for SIM Only which are shown below. There is no contract or credit check to worry about.

Smarty SIM Only Plans

3GB data

Unlimited mins & texts

£5 per month

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4GB data

Unlimited mins & texts

£6 per month

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12GB data

Unlimited mins & texts

£7 per month

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30GB data

Unlimited mins & texts

£10 per month

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50GB data

Unlimited mins & texts

£12 per month

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Unlimited data

Unlimited mins & texts

£16 per month

Buy Now

SMARTY Mobile offers a range of competitively priced plans, topping out at unlimited data. But it also offers all sorts of other allowances, and its prices are lower than many rival networks. For example, you can get 30GB of data for just £10 per month, with the cheapest plans costing much less than even that.

All plans are also just 1-month long, meaning you can change or cancel your plan almost whenever you want.

That makes it more flexible than some networks, though the fact that there are only a handful of plans to choose from makes it more limiting in some ways.

SMARTY Mobile also doesn't have any credit checks, so you can join even if you have bad credit or just don't want a check on your record.

And SMARTY offers Group Plans, allowing you to add multiple SIMs to an account with a 10% discount on each.

Data Only Plans

SMARTY doesn't currently offer any data only plans, though its SIMs do work with tablets and mobile broadband devices.

Pay As You Go

SMARTY doesn't currently offer a Pay As You Go service.

Tethering

SMARTY allows unrestricted tethering, which means you can share your mobile connection with other devices such as laptops and tablets. The only limit is your overall monthly data allowance, and as there's an unlimited data option this is potentially a great network for tethering.

WiFi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling refers to making and receiving calls over Wi-Fi, while continuing to use your normal number (as opposed to a separate service such as WhatsApp). It’s a seamless way to keep communicating when there’s no mobile signal, and it’s offered by SMARTY, though only on select devices, the full list of which can be found here.

VoLTE

VoLTE refers to calling and texting over 4G, rather than 2G or 3G. It means you can call in more places, as some places will only have a 4G signal, and it’s offered by SMARTY on a number of handsets. Check out the up to date list.

Roaming

SMARTY lets you roam at no extra cost across the EU. That means you can use unlimited minutes and texts and as much data as your plan generally offers, up to 20GB. You can also roam outside the EU but that will cost you extra and prices can be steep depending on your destination, with prices of £5 per megabyte in some locations.

5G plans

Three, which owns SMARTY, offers 5G Ready plans at no extra cost. However, SMARTY plans don't currently have the same benefit, as the network doesn’t yet offer 5G at all at the time of writing, but this is likely to change in the future.

Customer service

It’s difficult to get a measure of how good SMARTY’s customer service is, especially as it’s not been included in any major customer service surveys or reports.

However, given that the network positions itself as fair and honest it’s likely that it also puts a focus on delivering good customer service. That seems to be the case based on its 4.1/5 Trustpilot rating. That's from 17,590 reviews at the time of writing and is what Trustpilot calls a 'great' rating.

Conclusion

SMARTY is a good value 4G network that's got even better with the introduction of an unlimited data plan. Its other major strengths come from the low-cost of its plans, its support for Wi-Fi Calling, and its 30-day plan durations.

This isn't a network for those who want to Pay As You Go or to get a phone on contract, but for everyone happy with SIM Only it's a simple, fair, and affordable option.

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