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Talkmobile Review and Network Coverage

11th May 2022

Talkmobile Review and Coverage

Talkmobile is an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) owned by Vodafone, so of course it also uses Vodafone’s infrastructure and spectrum – meaning it has coverage in all the same places.

But where Vodafone is a premium network with loads of options, Talkmobile focuses instead on keeping things affordable and simple.

That means there aren’t many phones to choose from, there’s not much in the way of extras, and you can forget about unlimited data, but you also won’t have to pay much, making it ideal – on paper – for lighter users.

But does Talkmobile deliver in practice? Read on to find out, as we’ve looked at every key aspect, all of which are detailed below.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Low prices

No unlimited data option

Unlimited minutes

Few plans or extras

Our Verdict 

Table of Contents

Coverage

Which network does Talkmobile use?

Since Talkmobile is owned by Vodafone it of course also uses Vodafone’s coverage and infrastructure, so wherever you can get 4G or 3G on Vodafone, you’ll also find it on Talkmobile. However, while Vodafone also offers 5G coverage, Talkmobile doesn’t at the time of writing.

Talkmobile Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population

4G 

99%

3G

99%

2G

99%

Talk Mobile Coverage Checker

5G coverage

Talkmobile doesn’t yet offer a 5G service, though it has announced that it will be doing so in the first half of 2022.

When Talkmobile does start offering 5G it will of course be in the same places as Vodafone, which means coverage in many towns and cities.

4G coverage

Talkmobile offers around 99% 4G population coverage. Its 4G service is available in over 1000 larger towns and cities, including but not limited to:

Basingstoke, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Coventry, Dudley, Edinburgh, Epsom, Ewell, Folkestone, Gateshead, Glasgow, Hatfield, Hove and Hastings, Hemel Hempstead, Huddersfield, Jarrow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Maidstone, Newbury, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oldham, Pontefract, Portsmouth, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Stockport, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Staines, Stourbridge, Swinton, Southampton, Tunbridge, Wakefield, Walsall, Watford, Wells and West Bromwich.

And that’s just the start: it also has 4G coverage in thousands of smaller towns, villages, and other communities across the UK.

3G coverage

Talkmobile also has roughly 99% population coverage for both 3G and 2G.

That’s a decent amount, but notably all UK networks have near comprehensive 4G and 3G coverage, so it’s not much better or worse than any other network.

To see what coverage is like in your area, use Talkmobile’s coverage checker above.

Plans

Talkmobile offers a range of SIM Only plans at the time of writing, and it also offers a small selection of smartphones that can be paired with these plans – though you have to call the network to get a plan with a new phone included.

Talkmobile Pay Monthly Plans

 

Mobile Phones

SIM Only

Data Only SIM

Plans Available

x

Max Data

100GB

100GB

N/A

Contract lengths

24 months

1 or 12 months

N/A

 

 

VIEW DEALS

 

Talkmobile’s SIM Only plans last either 30 days or 12 months, and all come with unlimited minutes and texts. They’re also all very cheap.

However, there’s no unlimited data option, and if you want the flexibility of a 30-day plan then data limits are quite low at the time of writing, so they’re best suited to light data users – though the unlimited minutes make them a great affordable choice if you make a lot of calls.

Basic extras such as roaming and tethering are included (more on which below), but these plans don’t have any premium features that would drive the price up.

Talkmobile Plan Policies and Perks

 

Mobile Phones

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, there are a range of things to consider with Talkmobile beyond the allowances. We’ve explained these more below.

5G

Talkmobile doesn’t yet offer 5G on any of its plans, but it has announced that it intends to do so before long. When it starts offering this service, it will offer the same coverage as Vodafone.

Roaming Destinations

Talkmobile allows customers to use their allowance of minutes, texts, and data (up to a limit of 15GB per month) at no extra cost in 41 European destinations. The full list is as follows:

Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus (excluding Northern Cyprus), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St Pierre & Miquelon, and Sweden.

Tethering

Tethering is included on all Talkmobile plans as standard, meaning you can share your data connection with other devices to get them online. That’s handy when there’s no Wi-Fi available. There doesn’t appear to be any limit to how much you can tether other than your own data allowance, but as data allowances are low on Talkmobile it won’t be the best network for regular tethering.

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling means making calls over Wi-Fi, and this service is available on Talkmobile, so you can keep calling and texting even when there’s no signal, as long as there’s a Wi-Fi network.

VoLTE

VoLTE or Voice over LTE (also sometimes known as 4G Calling) means making calls over 4G. It’s beneficial as you can make calls in places that have 4G coverage but no 3G or 2G. However, this isn’t offered by Talkmobile – though the network has said it’s coming.

Data rollover

Talkmobile doesn’t offer data rollover, so you only get one month to use your data, or you’ll lose what’s left. This is standard though – networks that offer data rollover are the exception to this.

Spending caps

Talkmobile offers spending caps, with a default cap of £50. That’s how much you can spend outside of your plan, but you can change that limit from your online account. This is a handy tool to keep in control of your spend, but it’s a common feature of mobile networks.

Unlimited data

You can’t get unlimited data on Talkmobile, with plans topping out at 100GB at the time of writing. This is disappointing, but 100GB is still far more than most customers will need.

Family plans

There aren’t any family plans on Talkmobile, meaning you won’t get a discount or any perks for having multiple SIMs on your account.

Credit checks

Talkmobile isn’t very clear on whether it carries out credit checks, but it likely will do for its 12-month plans and for buying a smartphone on contract. If you just take out a 30-day plan then this will either have no credit check or an easy to pass one.

Awards

Talkmobile isn’t a recent award winner, but we’ll update this section if and when the network wins something notable.

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

Three

25.2/6.3Mbps

48.3ms

Talkmobile (Vodafone)

21.6/7.4Mbps

39.0ms

O2

17.1/5.4Mbps

38.1ms

While there isn’t much data on Talkmobile’s network, there’s plenty on Vodafone’s, which should broadly be the same. According to an Opensignal report from September 2021, Vodafone’s average download speed is 21.6Mbps and its average upload speed is 7.4Mbps. That’s factoring in a combination of 5G, 4G and 3G, and puts Vodafone behind EE but ahead of O2 – and also ahead of Three for uploads, but not for downloads.

Of course, Talkmobile doesn’t have access to 5G data, so an older October 2020 report that only covered 4G might be more representative. In that, Vodafone managed an average download speed of 22.4Mbps and an average upload speed of 8.5Mbps. So similar to the newer results, as while this doesn’t include 5G it also doesn’t include 3G.

Vodafone’s average latency (how long the network takes to respond to a request) was found to be 39.0ms in an earlier report from April 2020 (used because newer reports don’t include latency). That’s better than Three’s latency but worse than EE's or O2’s. Talkmobile’s figures then are likely to be similar.

Traffic management

Talkmobile states that “if you do anything (or allow anything to be done) which we reasonably think may damage or affect the operation of the Network such as for example creating a GSM Gateway, Artificially Inflated Traffic or similar” then it reserves the right to cancel your service.

Beyond that there doesn’t appear to be any real traffic management policy, but it’s likely similar to Vodafone, which prioritises calls (including emergency services calls) over data traffic, and will always prioritise VoLTE, in order to maintain call quality. However, these things only really come into play when the network is congested.

Network Frequencies

Talkmobile Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

800MHz

Band 20

4G

900MHz

Band 8

2G & 3G

1400MHz SDL

Band 32

4G

1800MHz

Band 3

2G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G

2600MHz FDD

Band 7

4G

2600MHz TDD

Band 38

4G

Vodafone (and therefore also Talkmobile) uses the 800MHz, 1400MHz and 2600MHz bands for 4G. The 800MHz band works over a long range and is ideal for passing through walls, while the 2600MHz band has greater capacity, giving it an advantage when connecting lots of devices at once. The 1400MHz band is a middle ground.

If and when Talkmobile starts offering 5G, it’s likely to use the 3400MHz and 3600MHz bands for that. These are even higher frequency than the 2600MHz band, and therefore take the good and bad points of the 2600MHz band even further.

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

Customer service

There isn’t much data on Talkmobile’s customer service, but there is some on Vodafone’s, which runs the network.

According to a 2021 Ofcom service quality report, 90% of customers were satisfied with their service on Vodafone, but 16% had a reason to complain and of those just 55% were satisfied with the way their complaint was handled. Vodafone also had 20 complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 subscribers, which is more than almost any other network covered in this report.

Conclusion

Talkmobile is a very basic network – there’s no 5G, no unlimited data, and not much in the way of extras.

But some people only need basic. If you don’t need endless data or high data speeds, and particularly if you’re a big talker (since all plans come with unlimited minutes), then Talkmobile could be a solid, affordable option.

Alternatives

Since Vodafone owns Talkmobile it’s an obvious alternative. It tends to be more expensive, but you’re also getting more from it, including access to the company’s VeryMe Rewards service, entertainment subscriptions, 5G, unlimited data, and other potential perks.

Virgin MobileLebaraVOXI, and Asda Mobile all use Vodafone’s infrastructure and coverage too, so they’re valid alternatives if you want the same coverage as Talkmobile offers.

If you’re just after something similarly cheap, simple and basic though then Asda and VOXI remain good choices, as do the likes of Giffgaff, Plusnet Mobile and Smarty Mobile.

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