iD Mobile has fantastic value plans, but it’s falling behind the no-frills networks when it comes to customer support
- Great deals on phones and SIM-only plans
- Good 5G performance
- Rollover feature
- Free EU roaming
- Customer service could be better
- Falling behind rivals on 4G/5G speeds
You could see iD Mobile as a halfway house between traditional mobile networks and the newer, cheaper, no-frills virtual networks. While it still does very competitive SIM-only deals on a one-month rolling contract, it offers even better value if you’re happy to sign up for a year or two. What’s more, it also sells a wide range of smartphones on two-year contracts with prices that regularly undercut the major players. And where other networks often save their best deals for glamorous, high-end phones, iD Mobile can have bargains further down the range, including many of the best mid-range and budget smartphones.
Of course, the price isn’t the only reason to sign up for a network, but this year’s Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards saw iD Mobile getting good results for value for money and reliability, with nearly 80% of customers happy to recommend the network to a friend. Sadly, it also saw iD fall short on customer service, while rival networks scooped up all of the awards.
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iD Mobile review: What do you get?
As the virtual network arm of Currys and Carphone Warehouse, it’s no surprise that iD Mobile is able to offer a wider range of phones than other networks. Sure, you’ll find the latest handsets from Apple, Samsung and Google, but you’ll also see phones from Nothing, Motorola, Honor and Xiaomi. It’s good value at the high-end: an iPhone 15 with Unlimited data deal comes in at just £41/mth over 24 months with a £99 upfront cost, or with 100GB for £40/mth plus £99 upfront. When you work out the total cost over a 24-month contract, you could be spending nearly £500 more if you shop elsewhere.
Yet there are also good savings to be had on mid-range phones, with monthly costs ranging from £17 to £21 on phones like the Moto G73 5G, Edge 40 or Google Pixel 7a. There are even some serious budget bargains, with phones like the Motorola G32 or Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 starting at under £15/mth. Just make sure you couldn’t do even better by buying the phone outright and getting an even cheaper SIM-only deal.
Talking of SIM-only, iD Mobile has some excellent options there as well, especially if you can commit to a one or two-year contract. Two-year deals start with 6GB of data for just £6/mth and go up to Unlimited data for £16. On a twelve-month contract, you’ll generally pay around the same prices for the smaller data allowances, though the Unlimited plan rises to £18.
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One of iD’s biggest draws is its rollover feature, where you can push any unused data from one month into your allowance for the following month. Beyond that, it doesn’t go big on perks, just on making sure you get more data for less money.
Unsurprisingly, customers like the pricing. 61% of the iD customers we spoke to were very satisfied with the network’s value for money, and a further 26% were fairly satisfied. The rival no-frills networks fared even better, but this is still a strong result.
iD Mobile review: Customer service
If there’s anywhere that iD Mobile is weak, it’s customer service. Just 17% of customers told us they were very satisfied with iD Mobile here, with an additional 36% fairly satisfied. The 53% total puts it well behind award winners Tesco Mobile (75%) and Sky Mobile (69%), not to mention Voxi, Giffgaff, Smarty and EE.
Ofcom doesn’t currently publish a full set of data for iD Mobile, but its most recent customer service and satisfaction report noted that iD had more complaints per 100,000 subscribers than the average (10 to the average 8), though it had fewer customers with a reason to complain (a mere 4%). While iD Mobile is a long way away from the poor scores of Vodafone and Three, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
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iD Mobile review: Coverage, reliability and speed
iD uses Three’s mobile network, which now covers 99% of the UK population for 4G and 60% for 5G. In terms of UK-wide median download speeds, the latest RootMetrics research places Three a distant second to EE, at 34.7Mbits/sec against EE’s 65.1Mbits/sec. However, its 5G performance in some areas beats that of EE, reaching over 100MBits/sec in all 16 cities where RootMetrics runs its detailed 5G tests, and exceeding 200Mbits/sec in nine of them. Three gives iD Mobile a great platform for 5G services going forward.
If anything, our survey results show iD Mobile beating its host network on signal strength: 76% of respondents counted themselves satisfied with iD’s signal strength, against 68% for Three. However, while iD had more customers consistently getting fast enough connections for Web browsing, the tables were turned when it came to audio and video streaming. Here, iD fell below the average for performance, so it might not be the best option for the most demanding users.
Things are different if you’re in a 5G area: 67% of iD’s 5G users were either very or fairly satisfied with their 5G service, beating O2, Three, Tesco Mobile, Vodafone and Lebara. All the same, the likes of Smarty, Giffgaff and Sky Mobile managed to score even higher for satisfaction, knocking iD out of the running for our 5G award.
iD Mobile review: Roaming
iD Mobile is one of the few networks still offering free EU roaming across all its contracts, and it’s not as expensive as some if you’re travelling in the US or Australia, where you face expensive £1.68p per minute call charges, but get relatively affordable data at 30p per MB. Giffgaff is cheaper and a better choice for regular long-haul travellers, but iD isn’t too far behind.
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iD Mobile review: Other features, services and spending caps
iD Mobile doesn’t go big on extra features, but you can put a spending cap on your account. These start at £5 over the regular cost of your plan and can be changed either in the iD Mobile app or online.
iD Mobile review: Verdict
It’s hard to fault iD Mobile on value. Both its Pay Monthly phone packages and SIM-only deals are amongst the most competitive in the business, and you can get a lot of data without splashing out a huge amount. All the same, other services beat it on performance and customer satisfaction, and its customer service really needs to be improved.