iD Mobile review: what does the network offer?

Last updated: 3 February 2021   By Samantha Smith

iD Mobile offers SIM only and pay monthly handset deals with a focus on cheap tariffs and few frills.

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iD Mobile are one of the cheapest networks around for SIM only and handset deals.


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Customer Service:

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They offer budget friendly deals on many of the latest devices, along with some of the cheapest SIM only tariffs available in the UK today.

Their customer service record seems to be heading in the right direction, while the few extras they do offer to customers are genuinely useful.

Even so, iD Mobile are let down slightly by the limited coverage of their host network in places, plus they so far don't offer 5G connectivity.

id mobile

Top deals on iD Mobile

With 12-month and 1-month SIM only deals on offer, iD Mobile have a tariff to meet anyone's needs. Here are just a couple:

Package Minutes Data Contract term Monthly price
iD Mobile Unlimited data Unlimited Unlimited 12 months £17.50
iD Mobile Unlimited data Unlimited Unlimited 1 month £20

Does iD Mobile have good coverage?

iD Mobile are a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), meaning they use the network of one of the big four (O2, Vodafone, EE and Three) to deliver their mobile services. In iD Mobile's case, their parent network is Three.

So, iD Mobile's coverage will reach all the same places Three's does. On the flip side, though, it will also miss the areas Three's network can't reach.

Three's network routinely comes last in 4G coverage reports. The most recent data we have from Ofcom's annual Connected Nations report shows Three's network comes in last place across a trio of key categories: coverage of indoor premises, coverage of outdoor premises, and geographic (landmass) coverage.

Here's how Three's overall coverage looks compared to their network rivals:

Network Indoor premises Outdoor premises Geographic
Three 90% 98% 79%
EE 93% 99% 85%
O2 95% 99% 80%
Vodafone 95% 99% 82%

While Three is only slightly behind the other networks on outdoor premises coverage (such as roads and gardens), the difference is more severe when we look at indoor premises and geographic coverage.

Their network reaches a full 5% fewer indoor premises than Vodafone and O2, while they are 6% behind EE (owned by BT, of course) on landmass coverage.

Like all networks, Three are working to improve their 4G coverage all the time. They have joined forces with O2 and Vodafone to install another 222 mobile masts in rural locations to extend 4G coverage, with over half of those sites set to be in Scotland.

It means customers hoping to join iD Mobile will have better coverage, both if they live in rural areas and if they travel through the countryside regularly.

For now, though, that coverage may well be limited, so customers should to get an idea of how good coverage is in their area.

What about iD Mobile and 5G?

Despite stocking 5G-ready devices (more on this later), iD Mobile has yet to roll out 5G services to their customers.

In a note on their website, they say they expect 5G connectivity to be available on their network at some point during 2021. The wording there is very vague, and may stop them falling into the trap fellow MVNO giffgaff did when they announced their 5G switch on in 2020 only to pause it until January 2021 after teething troubles.

When iD Mobile do launch 5G services, these will also run on Three's network, so the same warnings about checking coverage apply.

As 5G coverage is still in its infancy, fewer areas will be able to benefit just yet, although Three's initial performance is promising.

Learn more about 5G and what it means for connectivity.

Is iD Mobile fast?

With iD Mobile operating on Three's network, we again need to look at Three's performance to understand what speeds iD Mobile customers can expect.

Three's 4G network never hits the heights of EE's, so iD Mobile customers won't routinely see speeds of more than 25 Mbps.

One independent source we have for 4G speed performance comes in the data published by Opensignal. Their most recent report published in October 2020 shows Three's network behind EE and Vodafone but ahead of O2:

EE Vodafone Three O2
35.0 Mbps 20.4 Mbps 19.0 Mbps 16.8 Mbps

It's important to remember these are average speeds, so some areas may experience wildly different 4G download speeds to these.

As an example, Opensignal also publish individual town and city data, and it shows the difference between Three's performance in their slowest and fastest locations:

Location Three's average download speeds
Cardiff 22.5 Mbps
Hull 14.2 Mbps

This gives a more practical range for potential iD Mobile customers to consider, showing how the same network performs differently across the UK.

Further information on network speeds comes from RootMetrics. They focus on rigorous urban testing in 16 cities across the UK, showing how the four networks perform in real-world conditions.

Their data for H1 2020 showed Three's average speeds clocking in at 14.1 Mbps, far below EE's 42.6 Mbps but not as low as O2's 13.3 Mbps.

Again, those results saw Hull highlighted as the city with Three's lowest median download speeds across all test cities, offering averages of 10.6 Mbps. In contrast, Three's fastest median download speeds were found in Manchester where 22.1 Mbps was registered.

Fast forward to RootMetrics' H2 2020 report and their testing actually showed a decline to median UK-wide speeds of 13.9 Mbps. This was 1 Mbps faster than O2's network but 29.1 Mbps slower than EE's median speeds.

This time, Three's slowest median download speeds were found in Belfast (11.6 Mbps) while the fastest were in Manchester (27.8 Mbps).

Overall, Three are not the fastest 4G in the UK and so iD Mobile customers won't find the same speeds they would with EE. Nevertheless, Three's speeds will be more than adequate for most customers.

SIM only tariffs: what do iD Mobile offer?

iD Mobile keep it simple with their SIM only tariffs, offering 12-month or 1-month deals. Customers can choose from a range of SIM only deals with data allowances from 2GB all the way up to unlimited data for heavy users.

These are the 12-month plans:

Package Minutes Data Contract term Monthly price
iD Mobile 3GB data Unlimited 3GB 12 months £6
iD Mobile 10GB data Unlimited 10GB 12 months £8
iD Mobile 15GB data Unlimited 15GB 12 months £10
iD Mobile 50GB data Unlimited 50GB 12 months £14
iD Mobile 100GB data Unlimited 100GB 12 months £16
iD Mobile Unlimited data Unlimited Unlimited 12 months £17.50

The step-ups between these tariffs are small enough to make moving up a tier feel relatively cheap, and their unlimited data option tops out at £17.50, making it one of the cheapest options on the market right now.

This is how that unlimited data package compares with some other major networks:

Package Minutes Data Contract term Monthly price
iD Mobile Unlimited data Unlimited Unlimited 12 months £17.50
Three Unlimited data Unlimited Unlimited 12 months £20
Tesco Mobile Unlimited data 5000 minutes 5000 texts Unlimited 12 months £30
Vodafone Unlimited Max Unlimited Unlimited 12 months £33

On a 12-month deal, then, iD Mobile's unlimited packages are substantially cheaper than their major competitors, even Three who are renowned for cheap unlimited data deals.

iD Mobile also offer 1-month SIM only deals:

Package Minutes Data Contract term Monthly price
iD Mobile 2GB data Unlimited 2GB 1 month £6
iD Mobile 8GB data Unlimited 8GB 1 month £8
iD Mobile 10GB data Unlimited 10GB 1 month £10
iD Mobile 20GB data Unlimited 20GB 1 month £14
iD Mobile 50GB data Unlimited 50GB 1 month £16
iD Mobile Unlimited data Unlimited Unlimited 1 month £20

Although the jumps between tariffs are different here (and slightly more expensive as we'd expect), it's still cheap to move up the ranks to an unlimited data SIM.

And here is their 1-month unlimited deal compared with offers from other networks:

Package Minutes Data Contract term Monthly price
iD Mobile Unlimited data Unlimited Unlimited 1 month £20
SMARTY Unlimited data Unlimited Unlimited 1 month £20
Three Unlimited data Unlimited Unlimited 1 month £26
Vodafone Unlimited Max Unlimited Unlimited 1 month £45

Along with SMARTY, iD Mobile are one of the cheaper options for unlimited data on rolling contracts.

But what about their handset deals?

Handset offers on iD Mobile

iD Mobile is owned by Carphone Warehouse, so they were immediately able to launch in 2015 with handset deals available.

As such, they have a good range of phones from the cheapest budget handsets all the way up to the latest devices from Samsung and Apple.

It's important to remember that the latest handsets are mainly 5G-ready and iD Mobile isn't quite there yet. So, buying devices from the Samsung Galaxy S21 or Apple iPhone 12 ranges on iD Mobile will mean limited speeds for now, while comparing devices with other providers already offering 5G connectivity means the full potential of those handsets can be enjoyed now.

To illustrate iD Mobile's pricing on one of the top handsets, here they are stacked up against three major networks on the Apple iPhone 12 with unlimited data:

Handset Minutes Data Initial price Monthly price
iD Mobile Apple iPhone 12 (64GB) Unlimited Unlimited £29.99 £43.99
24 month term
Three Apple iPhone 12 (64GB) Unlimited Unlimited £29 £60
24 month term
Vodafone Apple iPhone 12 (64GB) Unlimited Unlimited £19 £67
24 month term
O2 Apple iPhone 12 (64GB) Unlimited Unlimited £10 £67.88
24 month term

On this particular handset, iD Mobile are substantially cheaper month by month, yet their services are only 4G compared to the 5G offered by the other networks.

Let's compare unlimited data deals from the same providers for a mid-range handset: the Samsung Galaxy A71.

Handset Minutes Data Initial price Monthly price
iD Mobile Samsung Galaxy A71 Unlimited Unlimited Free £28.99
24 month term
Three Samsung Galaxy A71 Unlimited Unlimited Free £30
24 month term
Vodafone Samsung Galaxy A71 Unlimited Unlimited Free £47
24 month term
O2 Samsung Galaxy A71 Unlimited Unlimited £10 £50.42
24 month term

Again, iD Mobile is cheaper for this handset, although the differences are less substantial.

However, some customers may prefer the perks associated with signing up to a contract with one of the big networks. iD Mobile is very much a budget provider in that sense.

Extra features of iD Mobile

Customers choosing iD Mobile are usually attracted by the low prices, and this means there is a distinct lack of the inclusive perks other operators routinely offer.

There are three features customers should be aware of:

  • Data Rollover
  • Bill Capping
  • Inclusive Roaming

As the name suggests, Data Rollover means any unused data rolls over from one month to the next. The following month, the unused data is used up before the new allowance.

While data rollover sounds as though it should be part of plans from all networks, it's actually quite rare, so it's a definite selling point for iD Mobile.

Bill Capping is also a feature found on some networks, essentially limiting how much out of allowance data can be used every month before the network puts a stop to it.

Capping a bill in this way is an effective method of avoiding nasty surprises if customers are prone to exceeding their data allowance.

Finally, Inclusive Roaming allows customers to use their device, data, texts and minutes in 50 locations in the same way they would at home.

This includes popular holiday destinations such as Italy, Spain, Austria and the Canary Islands.

Do iD Mobile have a good customer service record?

The final question to ask is whether iD Mobile can back up their cheap prices with a good customer service record.

As they are a relatively young mobile network, the official data we have on their performance from Ofcom is limited.

Their most recent Comparing Service Quality report just tells us iD Mobile customers spend longer than average waiting to speak to an advisor (1 min 43 secs compared to 1 min 18 secs) and that 19.4% of customers give up before they speak to an advisor.

On recent complaint trends, we have a little more information.

Quarterly complaints data for Q3 2020 show iD Mobile are just below the industry average for customer complaints with 2 complaints per 100,000 customers (the average is 3).

The good news for potential iD Mobile customers is that this is part of a longer-term trend where the network's complaint levels are mostly below the industry average and occasionally in line with it.

So, while we don't have much information about iD Mobile, we do know their complaint levels are holding steady and they haven't been the subject of a major customer service issue yet. That all bodes well.

Verdict: is iD Mobile the right network for you?

iD Mobile offer a budget service on their SIM only deals and competitive handset options, although with no 5G yet on offer, it's difficult to compare the prices of top handsets on a like for like basis.

The network say 5G will arrive at no extra cost to customers in 2021. It will be interesting to see if they stick to that pledge completely or whether pay monthly contracts will rise as a result.

Thanks to being owned by Carphone Warehouse and backed by Three's mobile network, iD Mobile are a solid choice for customers. There are a couple of points to be aware of though:

  • Three's coverage isn't always the best
  • Three isn't the fastest 4G network around
  • There aren't many extras or perks with iD Mobile

As long as customers understand they're joining a budget network and are happy with low prices and few frills, it could be an ideal match.


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