SMARTY is a new on the scene, SIM-only provider within the UK. Their service is powered by Three, making them one of the many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MNVO) that utilise one of the UK’s ‘big four’ networks – EE, Three, O2, Vodafone. They offer clear company values within their slogan, ‘Simple, honest mobile.’ Discover more in this SMARTY mobile network review.
SMARTY currently offer some of the most affordable, high value SIM providers in terms of airtime plans. This purpose of this article is to provide a critical viewpoint. Giving you the power to decide whether their services are worth your time and money.
If you are looking for SIM only deals and want to compare the most affordable prices for plenty of data, texts and calls; check out the SIM
- Commitment free plans: SMARTY exclusively offer one month SIM plans. This means you can cancel or change your account at practically anytime. You prepay for one month and have service for that duration until you decide to change them.
- Unlimited Texts and Calls: All of SMARTYs sim deals are pre-loaded with unlimited texts and calls. The cost changes depending on the amount of data you choose.
- Keep your existing number: As with many networks, you are able to transfer your existing phone number with a PAC code.
- 100% Online: For many people, SMARTY can provide a convenient service through their online dashboard. They don’t have a physical high street store like many other providers, all communication with them is completed online.
- Limited communication: SMARTY promote their customer services as a benefit of their service. However, some users might find that not having a customer service phone number to contact can be inconvenient. Your only method of contact with SMARTY is their online chat system or via email.
- No 5G yet: Despite operating on Three’s network, they don’t yet have the capability to provide 5G. Services are limited to 3G and 4G but there are plans to introduce 5G in the future.
- Only Offer SIM-plans: If you are looking for a new network to start a handset contract, SMARTY is not the place. SIM card deals are the only thing product you’ll find from SMARTY.
SMARTY Mobile Network Review
SMARTY utilises Three’s network infrastructure. As one of the ‘big four’ networks within the UK, you should expect fairly consistent network coverage from SMARTY.
According to their website, SMARTY offer 99.8% population coverage for 4G network. For 3G network, coverage by population is 98.7%. The coverage map checker on their website allows you to check your service availability in your area and across the UK.
You’ll also find that SMARTY’s 4G network is available on most handsets sold within the UK. To check your make and model, they have supplied a handy compatibility list.
We’ve already mentioned one of SMARTY’s greatest downfalls. Their lack of 5G coverage currently puts them at a disadvantage to many other big mobile network providers. 5G is the new exciting thing.
Providers like the big four as well as smaller networks like VOXI and iD mobile (who are also powered by Three) are already rolling out 5G sim deals. With a new device and a SIM from SMARTY you might start to feel like you are lagging behind.
Three are heavily promoting their 5G coverage and SIM deals that are ready to roll out as 5G enabled devices do. It’s therefore hard to understand why SMARTY have not utilised this.
On their website, SMARTY have mentioned that whilst they are not yet offering 5G plans now, they are planning to in the future. Currently they are focused on providing stronger 3G and 4G signal.
In comparison to the services provided by the other members of the ‘big four,’ Three tend to be middle of the table. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as their 4G download speeds are still completely acceptable. Most of the time, SMARTY’s speeds are fast enough to stream HD videos.
Three’s service tends to lag in its latency speeds, which is the time it takes to respond to a request. Three offers the slowest speed out of each of the main providers.
Using Three’s spectrum, SMARTY has access to multiple frequencies, allowing them to offer a fairly comprehensive service.
800MHZ, 1800MHz and 1400MHz are able to provide a well-covered 4G service and 2100MHz provides the 3G service.
800MHz is a lower frequency which allows it to travel much further. This means that you are likely to get signal when far away from a mast. This can be effective when in more rural areas, providing acceptable 4G signal. This frequency also works well in built up areas like cities. Due to the low frequency, the signal is able to travel well through walls and physical objects. This means you are going to be able to get a decent signal when inside a building and whilst located in a built up area like a city centre.
1800MHz is of course a higher frequency that can meet higher data demands within congested areas. Whereas 1400MHz tends to fill the middle ground, creating a seamless 4G connection wherever you are.
A really positive aspects of SMARTY mobile is that they are clear in sharing their future improvements. We have already discussed the future roll-out for 5G. But they have mentioned that in the meantime they are making larger improvements to their 4G and 3G services.
One of the most notable features of SMARTY’s recent developments is its rollout of WIFI calling. It is often rare for MNVO’s to include features like this which is a great benefit to SMARTY’s service.
This feature allows you to make and receive calls over a Wi-Fi connection using your regular phone number. This feature is most notably featured in services in apps like WhatsApp or Facetime. With a SMARTY sim you’ll be able to use this feature directly from your phone feature.
Another change that was made by SMARTY is the introduction of VoLTE to their services. This feature allows you to make voice calls over the 4G network. This can boost the signal of your call when you are in a low mobile signal area.
Most UK devices tend to be compatible with this feature. The addition of VoLTE offers a richer calling experience.
Other things to consider
Within the EU, SMARTY offer roaming at no extra cost. You can use your data plan, minutes and texts as usually without any additional cost.
Roaming is also available outside of the EU but for a lot of additional cost. SMARTY have created bands of countries to determine the price of roaming within each location. The most expensive band (band 4) charges £5 per MB of data used, £2.50 per minute of call time and £0.40 for each message SMS or MMS message sent.
Considering streaming a video can vary around 700mb you are likely to run yourself an extortionately high charge if you happen to be unaware of the associated roaming charges.
The lack of leniency in roaming is even more concerning when Three already offer a data passport service for £5 a day. This passport allows you to use your allowances as much as you like as you would at home.
Luckily you need to make an adjustment within your settings to enable data usage whilst abroad. This will prevent you from accidentally creating a large bill whilst outside the EU.
Data throttling is a tactic often used by mobile networks or internet service providers. It is a reactive measure used when there is a high demand on the network. It can be used to manage network traffic and reduce congestion. It does mean placing a cap on the speed of your network however. This leaves you with slow service as the bandwidth of data available to you has been purposely reduced.
SMARTY have openly stated that they do not enforce data shaping or network throttling. They instead want to offer an ‘honest and transparent mobile service.’
SMARTY’s customer service might be hit or miss depending on your communication preference and required assistance.
Currently, the company operates entirely online, this means no high street store and no phone number to call. Their contact information provides an email address and a chat function.
Their support team are available 7 days a week from 8am-8pm UK time. Alternatively, there is a chat bot function that can answer generic queries.
Overall, SMARTY offer a low cost SIM plan with a lot of benefits and only a handful of downfalls. For a simple, affordable SIM plan, the service is ideal. You are able to utilise the benefits of Three’s network architecture, providing adequate coverage across the UK.
There are a handful of features such as WiFi calling and VoLTE that aren’t often found on MNVO services. Free roaming is available within the EU and they are a constantly self-improving company.
If you can wait for their 5G rollout, don’t require international roaming and can deal with occasionally slow speeds, SMARTY might be the right mobile network for you.
Moving Sorted SIM comparison
Now you know everything there is to know about SMARTY mobile, you’ve probably made up your mind as to whether you’d like to start one of their monthly SIM plans. The great thing about SMARTY is that you can easily start for a month to see if you enjoy their services and switch again if you don’t.
To compare SMARTY sim deals and many more from O2, iD mobile, Vodafone and more, check out the SIM deal comparison tool from Moving Sorted.