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SMARTY Mobile Review and Network Coverage

25th March 2022

Smarty Mobile

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 5G and 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 annual price rises

 

Our Rating

Table of Contents

Coverage

Which network does SMARTY Mobile use?

SMARTY uses Three’s network – in fact, it’s run by Three, so it has coverage in all the same places, whether you’re connecting to 5G, 4G or 3G. Three’s coverage (and particularly its 5G coverage) is regularly improving too, so SMARTY’s will improve with it.

Smarty Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

5G

Now available in over 300 locations

4G 

99.8%

3G

98.7%

2G

N/A

smarty coverage checker

5G coverage

SMARTY launched its 5G service in January of 2022, and it offers coverage in all the same places as Three, which at the time of writing means parts of over 300 towns and cities across the UK. These include (but are not limited to):

Aberdeen, Abingdon-on-Thames, Adlington, Aldershot, Aldridge, Ashford, Balloch, Barnsley, Barrow-in-Furness, Basildon, Bath, Bedford, Belfast City, Belfast International Airport (Aldergrove), Billericay, Billingham, Birdwell, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bishopthorpe, Blackburn, Blackpool, Borehamwood, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brentwood, Brighton, Brimington, Bristol, Bromsgrove, Brookmans Park, Broughton Astley, Burton upon Trent, Campton, Cannock, Cardiff,  Carlisle, Castlereagh, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chesham, Chorley,  Christleton, Clayton-le-Woods, Clifton, Coedkernew, Colchester, Copmanthorpe, Corringham, Coventry, Crawley, Crook, Cullingworth, Danderhall, Delph, Denholme, Derby, Dewsbury, Dinnington, Doncaster, Dundee, East Kilbride, East Midlands Airport, Edinburgh, Egginton, Ellesmere Port, Exmouth, Falkirk, Gateshead, Glasgow, Gorebridge, Grays, Greenock, Grimsby, Guildford, Hamilton, Hartley, Hatfield, Heanor, Heathcote, Hedge End, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Heswall, Heywood, Horley, Horwich, Huddersfield, Huntington, Inchinnan, Ingleby Barwick, Ipswich, Irlam, Isle of Grain, Iver Heath, Kings Hill, Kings Langley, Kingston upon Hull, Kinmel Bay, Kirkheaton, Kirknewton, Knowl Wall, Leeds, Leicester, Leyland, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Loughborough, Lower Stondon, Luton, Maidenhead, Maidstone, Manchester, Mansfield, Margate, Marlow Bottom, Marston Moretaine, Merthyr Tydfil, Metropolitan Newtownabbey, Middlesbrough, Milnrow, Milton Keynes, Motherwell, Neston, Newark-on-Trent, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newhall, Newport, Newquay, Newtonabbey, Newton Aycliffe, Newton-le-Willows, Normanton, Northampton, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Ottershaw, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Pontefract, Porthcawl, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Redcar, Redditch, Royston, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Shelly Green, Shrewsbury, Slough, South Heighton, South Kirkby, South Normanton, South Ockendon, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Southport, St Albans, St Blazey, St Columb Road, Stafford, Stansted Airport, Stevenage, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sunderland, Sunninghill, Sutton in Ashfield, Swadlincote, Swindon, Swinton, Tamworth, Telford, Thornaby-on-Tees, Ullesthorpe, Wakefield, Wallingford, Walton, Warrington, Washington, Westhoughton, Weybridge, Wickford, Wigan, Winterbourne, Worcester, Worksop, Writtle, and York.

4G coverage

As SMARTY uses Three’s network it has the same coverage as Three, meaning around 99.8% UK population coverage with 4G. Three is also continuing to improve its 4G population coverage, so SMARTY's coverage will be improving all the time too. 

Towns and cities with partial or full 4G 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.

3G coverage

Through Three, SMARTY also has around 98.7% coverage with 3G. Use SMARTY's coverage checker above to find out more about SMARTY coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details of both indoor and outdoor coverage.

Plans

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

Smarty Plans

 

Mobile Phones

SIM Only

Data Only SIM

Plans Available

x

x

Max Data

N/A

Unlimited

N/A

Contract lengths

N/A

1 month

N/A

SIM Only Deals
Smarty

0 Month Contract

4 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£5.00 a month

View Deal

Smarty

0 Month Contract

12 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£7.00 a month

View Deal

Smarty

0 Month Contract

8 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£7.00 a month

View Deal

Smarty

0 Month Contract

30 GB data

unlimited mins

unlimited texts

£10.00 a month

View Deal

Smarty

0 Month Contract

100 GB data

UNLIMITED mins

UNLIMITED texts

£12.00 a month

View Deal

View All Smarty Sim Only Deals

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.

Plus, SMARTY has a few Data Discount plans which refund your unused data each month. You get £1 back per unused gigabyte, which is the same as the data costs in the first place. However, these plans are limited to low allowances, topping out at 3GB.

SMARTY perks and policies

 

SIM Only

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, SMARTY has a number of extra benefits on its plans, and we’ve detailed these below.

5G

SMARTY offers 5G at no extra cost on every single one of its plans, whether you’re a new or existing customer. So if you have a 4G plan on SMARTY you’ll find that you can now enjoy 5G as well (as long as you also have a 5G device).

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 12GB. 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.

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.

Wi-Fi 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.

Data rollover

SMARTY doesn’t offer data rollover, so you have to use all of your data each month or lose it. That said, the network does offer a few plans where it will refund you for unused data, though these plans top out at low allowances, so aren’t good for heavy users.

Spending caps

SMARTY doesn’t offer spending caps, however most charges outside your plan are restricted unless you purchase an out of plan add-on, so you shouldn’t get hit with surprise bills.

Unlimited data

SMARTY offers plans with unlimited data, so you don’t need to worry about running out. There are no fair usage limits in the UK either, though abroad in the EU you’re limited to 12GB per month.

Family plans

SMARTY offers what it calls Group Plans, which allow you to add up to eight SIMs to your account, with a 10% discount on each of them. So it’s not a huge saving, but it’s still a nice way to keep costs down if you want multiple devices or people on your account.

Credit checks

There are no credit checks on any of SMARTY’s plans, making them ideal if you have a poor credit rating, as there’s no worry of not being accepted.

Unique perks

The main unique perk on SMARTY is its ‘data discount’ plans, which refund you for any unused data at the end of the month. You get back the same amount of money as the data cost in the first place, so you’ll never pay for more than you use.

However, at the time of writing you can only get up to 3GB of data on these plans, so they’re only good for light users.

Awards

SMARTY has won a number of awards over the years, with a recent example being Best Value SIM only Network at the Uswitch Telecoms Awards 2022. Based on that then you can be confident that you’re getting good value for money with the network.

Network

Network Speeds

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

Network

Download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

44/9.7Mbps

36.0ms

Smarty (Three)

25.2/6.3Mbps

48.3ms

Vodafone

21.6/7.4Mbps

39.0ms

O2

17.1/5.4Mbps

38.1ms

SMARTY’s use of Three’s infrastructure is seemingly middling when it comes to speeds, as in an OpenSignal report from September 2021, Three was found to have an average download speed of 25.2Mbps, and an average upload speed of 6.3Mbps. You can see how that compares to other networks in the chart above. Those results factor in a combination of 5G, 4G and 3G.

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 4G latency came out slowest at 48.3ms. We’re using an older report here because latency wasn’t included in the later ones.

For 5G, Three’s average download speed is 158.7Mbps according to Point Topic data from September 2020. Its median meanwhile was found to be 231Mbps in Ookla data from the first half of 2021, while its 5G latency could be just 17ms according to late 2020 data from RootMetrics.

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.

Frequencies

Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

700MHz

n29 5G

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1400MHz

Band 32 4G

1800MHz

Band 3

4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G

3400MHz

n78 5G

3600-4000MHz

n77 5G

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.

For 5G, SMARTY presumably uses the 3.4GHz and 3.6-4GHz bands, as Three has access to spectrum in those bands and it’s well-suited to 5G. Three also has 700MHz spectrum which could be used to bolster 5G, and might therefore also benefit SMARTY’s network. Though SMARTY hasn’t revealed which bands it uses for 5G at the time of writing.

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

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 4.2/5 Trustpilot rating. That's from 22,745 reviews at the time of writing and is what Trustpilot calls a 'great' rating.

Conclusion

SMARTY is a good value network that's got even better with the introduction of 5G and 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.

Alternatives

Since SMARTY uses Three’s coverage (and is owned by Three), Three itself is an obvious alternative. Three offers a wider range of plans, including smartphones on contract, but it will soon start charging for roaming, and it doesn’t have any plans that refund you for unused data.

iD Mobile is another option – this uses Three’s coverage too, and includes data rollover, which is a somewhat similar idea to refunding you for unused data. It’s typically good value as well.

Of course, if having the same coverage isn’t important to you then there are any number of alternatives, and you can find full reviews of most of them here.

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