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Tesco Mobile Review

4th December 2023

Tesco Mobile Network Coverage

Tesco Mobile is an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that looks to stand out primarily through good value plans and a large range of Pay As You Go options. It’s a fairly conventional network in most ways, but that’s no bad thing.

It’s an O2 MVNO, so as it uses O2’s towers it doesn’t need to worry about infrastructure of its own. You can also be sure of widespread 4G coverage, and it was one of the first MVNOs to offer 5G.

Tesco Mobile has also been rated Which? Utilities Brand of the Year for 2022, and has been a Which? Recommended Provider for 11 years running.

Plus, it has been awarded the Best Pay Monthly Network, Best Network for Customer Service and the Best Pay Monthly Value for Money in the Uswitch Telecoms Awards 2023.




Good value

No inclusive roaming beyond Europe

Loads of Pay As You Go options

Not as good 5G speeds as some

Our Rating

Table of Contents


Tesco Mobile offers a wide selection of plans, detailed in full below.

Tesco Mobile Pay Monthly Plans


Mobile Phones

SIM Only

Data Only

Plans Available


Max Data




Contract lengths

12, 18, 24, 30 or 36 months

1, 12 or 24 months




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Tesco Mobile offers Pay Monthly, SIM Only and Pay As You Go plans and they come with 5G at no extra cost. You can see more in-depth details of Pay Monthly and SIM Only above, while Pay As You Go is in a chart below.

Tesco Mobile’s Pay Monthly plans are a rarity in that you can choose a 12, 18, 24, 30 or 36-month plan, rather than only having 24-month plans available, and they come with a wide range of allowances, topping out at unlimited data each month. You can use as much of that data as you want for tethering.

Tesco Mobile also has a wide range of SIM Only plans, with data limits ranging from 2GB to unlimited. As you’re not getting a phone with them, they’re cheaper than Pay Monthly plans. And as with Pay Monthly, any or all of your data can be used for tethering.

Tesco Mobile doesn’t currently offer any Data Only plans.

Overall the highlight of Tesco’s plans, other than competitive prices, is the wide range of durations available on Pay Monthly, but it’s not lacking for extras either, as detailed further down.

Pay As You Go

Tesco Mobile Pay As You Go Plans

Plans Available

Add-ons available

Max Data Allowance


Add-on expiry 

30 days

Data Rollover

Top Up Expiry

6 months inactivity


EU Roaming

Tesco Mobile also has a range of money-saving Pay As You Go Rocket Packs available, all of which last one month and can be set to automatically renew. They each come with a bundle of minutes, texts, and data, topping out at 100GB.

Additionally, Tesco Mobile has Triple Credit tariffs which triple your credit when you top up £10, £15 or £20.

That free extra credit is available once a month and lasts one month. It’s used before any paid top up. You can’t both be on a Triple Credit tariff and use Rocket Packs at the same time.

Outside your bundle you’re charged 25p per minute, 10p per text and 10p per megabyte.

Value for money

Tesco Mobile’s pricing is middling – it undercuts the major networks but isn’t as low as, for example, Smarty.

On most plans the network also ties you in for 12 months or more, so it’s not as flexible as some. So with all that in mind we’d say it’s also middling in terms of value for money.

SIM Only Deals
Tesco Mobile

60 GB data



24 Month Contract

£15.00 a month

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Tesco Mobile

2 GB data



24 Month Contract

£7.50 a month

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Tesco Mobile

2 GB data



12 Month Contract

£8.00 a month

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Tesco Mobile

12 GB data



24 Month Contract

£10.00 a month

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Tesco Mobile

12 GB data



12 Month Contract

£11.00 a month

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View All Tesco Mobile Sim Only Deals

Extras and benefits

Tesco Mobile has a number of other things going for it, as you can see in the chart below. You’ll find more details of these things under the chart.

Tesco Mobile perks and policies


SIM Only




Wi-Fi Calling


Data Rollover

Spending Caps

Unlimited Data

Family Plans

Credit Check

Unique Perks


Tesco Mobile offers 5G and it comes as standard on the network’s Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans, as well as with Rocket Packs on Pay As You Go, so you don’t have to pay any extra to get it. You will of course need a device that supports 5G in order to make use of it though.

Roaming Destinations

Tesco Mobile's Home From Home service lets you use your allowances at no extra cost in the following 48 destinations:

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

There aren’t any fair usage limits other than a requirement to use your phone in the UK more than abroad. Tesco Mobile will monitor where you’re using your handset over a rolling four-month period – so more than two months of that should be in the UK.

Note however that while free roaming is currently offered, Tesco Mobile has only committed to keeping this through 2024, so from 2025 you might have to pay to roam.


Tethering refers to the ability to use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, letting other devices share its network connection. This is allowed on Tesco Mobile, and the only limit is your data allowance, which at the time of writing means you could use up to unlimited each month to tether if you’re on a top-end plan.

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling refers to calling and texting over a Wi-Fi network using your regular number, dialler, and SMS apps. It’s especially handy if you’re somewhere with a Wi-Fi network but no regular signal. This is offered on Tesco Mobile, so that’s a nice perk to have.


VoLTE (Voice over LTE) refers to making a call over 4G, rather than 2G or 3G. The ability to do this means you can make and receive calls in places with only a 4G signal, and this is offered by Tesco Mobile.

Data rollover

Tesco Mobile doesn’t offer data rollover, meaning that after one month your data allowance will reset, and you’ll lose any unused data from the previous month. Data rollover is a fairly common but far from standard feature, so it’s something to consider when choosing a network.

Spending caps

On Tesco Mobile you can apply a spending cap, to stop you accidentally spending more than you want to. This can be set at between zero and £100, with that amount being how much you can spend each month on things that aren’t included in your allowance, such as premium rate numbers. You can also choose not to have a spending cap if you’d prefer.

Unlimited data

Tesco Mobile offers plans with unlimited data, and you can get this whether on SIM Only or a Pay Monthly contract with a phone – but not on Pay As You Go.

Choosing a plan with unlimited data means you can use as much as you want without restrictions (in the UK). There aren’t many restrictions when abroad either, but the network notes that you should use its service more in the UK than in a roaming location.

Still, this is far less restrictive than most networks’ roaming terms, so that’s a selling point for Tesco Mobile.

Family plans

Tesco Mobile offers family plans which provide perks for every user. You can have up to five contracts on your account, and as long as you have at least two then every member can pick between a selection of monthly perks.

There’s up to 1GB of data, up to £2 off your bill, 500 Tesco Mobile minutes, up to 200 Clubcard points, up to £2.25 off Tesco Mobile Protect, and up to 500 minutes to any network.

The amount you get for each will depend on the price of your plan, and each family member can choose a different perk. They can also change their perks whenever they want, with the exception of the Tesco Mobile Protect discount, which must be chosen at the start of a contract.

In addition to this, Tesco Mobile also offers a ‘Family Pack’, which is an unlimited data SIM Only plan which costs £30 per month for the first buyer and £10 for each additional person (up to a total of 5 people).

Credit checks

Tesco Mobile will credit check you for a contract, such as on a SIM Only plan or when purchasing a smartphone on contract. However, you can always choose to Pay As You Go with no credit check. This is a fairly standard approach, so Tesco Mobile doesn’t stand out here in any sense.

Unique perks

Tesco Mobile aims to reward Tesco Clubcard users, and it does this in a number of ways.

For example, you get lower prices on some deals as a Clubcard member, and you’ll get 1 Clubcard point for every £1 you spend on your plan.


Which network does Tesco Mobile use?

Tesco Mobile uses O2’s network, meaning that it offers 5G, 4G and 3G coverage in all the same places as O2. That also means that as O2’s coverage improves, Tesco Mobile’s will as well.


Tesco Mobile – through O2 – has 4G and 3G coverage across most of the UK, while its 5G coverage is rapidly increasing, but still patchy.

Tesco Coverage

Network Type

Coverage by population


Now available in over 3,200 locations







Check Tesco Mobile coverage


Opensignal – Mobile Network Experience, September 2023, and April 2020


Download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)










Tesco Mobile (O2)



In an Opensignal report from September 2023, O2 was found to have an average download speed of 20.9Mbps and an average upload speed of 5.0Mbps, which in both cases is slower than any major rival, so you can expect Tesco Mobile to be similarly slow – though notably that’s still fast enough to comfortably do most things you might want to on a phone.

Those speeds were recorded using a combination of 5G, 4G and 3G, like you might expect when moving around in the real world.

O2’s average latency meanwhile (how long it takes for the network to respond to a request), was found in an earlier April 2020 report to be 38.1ms, which has Three and Vodafone beat, but not EE. This earlier report was used as later ones don’t include latency figures.

For 5G, the same Opensignal report from September 2023 suggests that O2’s average 5G download speed is 77.0Mbps, while a RootMetrics report from the first half of 2023 put its median 5G download speed at 75.1Mbps, so again Tesco’s speeds might be similar, and that’s a big upgrade on 4G speeds, though in both cases it’s lower than rivals.

Traffic management

Tesco Mobile states – like most networks – that emergency voice traffic will always be prioritised on its network.

The network also notes that when it comes to data, “you may not use your SIM Card in such a way that adversely impacts the service to other Tesco Mobile or Telefonica O2 UK customers.” If you do, then your speeds may be reduced or you might be disconnected.

However, beyond this traffic management isn’t generally used, even at peak hours.


Tesco Mobile Network Frequencies


Frequency Band



n29 4G & 5G


Band 20



Band 8

2G & 3G


Band 3

2G & 4G


Band 1

3G & 4G


Band 40



n78 5G


n77 5G

Tesco Mobile uses the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2300MHz bands for 4G. The 800MHz band is long range, so it can travel a long way between masts, but it’s also good at passing through the walls of buildings. Those two abilities combine to make it well suited to both urban and rural locations.

The 2300MHz band is more suited to busy areas but it’s shorter range, while the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands sit in the middle capability-wise.

For 5G, Tesco has access to the 3400MHz and 3600MHz bands, and these are the shortest range of all, but can cope with lots of connections.

Then there’s the 700MHz band, which is low frequency (and therefore long range), and which could be used for 5G, 4G or both.

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

Customer Service

Based on the available data, Tesco Mobile seems well-rated for customer service. For one thing, in an Ofcom report from 2023, Tesco was found to have the joint fewest complaints to Ofcom of any mobile provider, with just 5 for every 100,000 customers.

The report also found that 95% of customers were happy with the service on Tesco Mobile overall, though with a less impressive 50% being satisfied with the way complaints were handled.

Plus, Tesco Mobile has been ranked seventh in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (July 2023) from the Institute of Customer Service. That’s the highest ranking of any mobile network.

And as noted further up, it was found to be the Best Network for Customer Service in the Uswitch Telecoms Awards 2023.


Tesco Mobile has a number of stores across the country inside Tesco supermarkets. Find a store here.


Tesco Mobile has a wider range of Pay As You Go options than most networks, with bundles and plans to suit almost any type of user, as long as that user wants to pay as they go.

It also has a wide range of Pay Monthly plan durations, and it’s generally competitively priced.

With Wi-Fi Calling supported as well and 5G available, Tesco Mobile is a strong network, but be aware that none of its plans let you roam beyond Europe for free and it may not offer free roaming at all beyond 2024. Still, it would make a good choice for most people.


Since Tesco Mobile uses O2’s infrastructure, that major network is a solid alternative, offering a wider range of plans, plus access to O2 Priority – for freebies, discounts, and early gig tickets.

That said, O2 is often more expensive too, so if price is a factor then consider Giffgaff or Sky Mobile, which also share O2’s infrastructure.

If O2’s infrastructure and coverage isn’t a factor though then there’s no shortage of choice. Check out all of our network guides for more information on your options.

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