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SMARTY Mobile Review and Network Coverage

14th September 2020

SMARTY is an immediately eye-catching network, as not only does it offer a range of low-cost SIM Only plans, but on some plans there’s an innovative discount for those who don't use up all their monthly data.

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

Discount for unused data

No VoLTE or Wi-Fi Calling

Great value unlimited data plan

No 5G plans

No credit checks

 

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 68 towns and cities across the UK.

Network Speeds

OpenSignal – Mobile Network Experience, April 2020

Network

4G download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

35.9/10.2Mbps

36.0ms

Smarty (Three)

22.4/8.2Mbps

48.3ms

Vodafone

25.4/9.1Mbps

39.0ms

O2

18.0/6.4Mbps

38.1ms

SMARTY’s use of Three’s infrastructure is seemingly middling when it comes to 4G speeds, as in an OpenSignal report from April 2020, Three was found to have 4G download speeds of 22.4Mbps on average and 4G upload speeds that averaged 8.2Mbps, 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 the same report Three’s came out slowest at 48.3ms.

Frequencies

Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

800MHz

Band 20

4G

1800MHz

Band 3

4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G

SMARTY 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.

If and when it 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 1 Month SIM Plans

Plan Type

Allowances

Price

30GB

Recommended deal

30GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£10 per month

Buy Now

50GB

Recommended deal

100GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£15 per month

Buy Now

Unlimited

Recommended deal

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£20 per month

Buy Now

1GB Plan

1GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

+ Data discount

£6.00 per month

Buy Now

2GB Plan

2GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

+ Data discount

£7.00 per month

Buy Now

3GB Plan

3GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

+ Data discount

£8.00 per month

Buy Now

4GB Plan

4GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

+ Data discount

£9 per month

Buy Now

The key feature of SMARTY's plans is that on its ‘1GB’, ‘2GB’ '3GB' and ‘4GB’ plans it will pay you back for any unused data. You're paid £1 per gigabyte, which is the same amount as you pay in the first place, and this amount is refunded against the cost of your allowances for the following month. You don't need to have a full gigabyte left over to get a refund though, as SMARTY will refund unused megabytes too.

You can also buy data add-ons of 1GB, 2GB or 3GB if you ever need more and these also cost £1 per gigabyte, keeping things simple and fair.

The plans with higher allowances – specifically 30GB, 50GB and unlimited data – don’t offer a refund, but are competitively priced. Note that at the time of writing the 50GB plan also gives you double data (100GB) for the first 12 months, but this is a temporary offer.

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 seven 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.

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, but it’s not currently offered by SMARTY. However, the network claims that it hopes to offer this service in the near future.

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, but it’s not currently offered by SMARTY. That said, as with Wi-Fi Calling, the network claims that it hopes to offer VoLTE before too long.

Roaming

SMARTY now 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. The exception to this is the unlimited data plan, which lets you use up to 20GB per month when roaming. You can also roam outside the EU but that will cost you extra and prices can be steep depending on your destination, with prices ranging from 10p to £5 per megabyte.

5G plans

Three, which owns SMARTY, offers 5G Ready plans at no extra cost. However, SMARTY plans don't currently have the same benefit, 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 13,763 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 plans and a discount for those who don't use up all their data – though this is only available on plans with small allowances.

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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