Hello and welcome to Ken's Tech Tips, one of the UK's largest independent mobile technology websites. Our mission is to demystify the world of mobile technology. We're doing that by providing a no-nonsense guide on smartphones & mobile technology here in the UK. Whether you're looking to understand mobile technology, to compare the best deals available on the market, for a full review of the tariffs on each network or for information about changing your network or handset, we're here to help.

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Lebara Mobile Review: Low Cost International Calling & ‘UK Plus’ Bundles

July 24th, 2015

In the UK, Lebara Mobile is a specialist provider of low-cost international phone calls (from 1p/minute). They also offer ‘UK Plus’ bundles for your smartphone.

Lebara MobileLebara Mobile is a specialist provider of low-cost SIM cards for international calling. Whereas the mainstream mobile networks can sometimes charge you up to £1.50/minute for calling another country, the rates on Lebara Mobile start from only 1p/minute. Lebara also has a range of UK Plus bundles with inclusive UK calls, texts and internet.

In this article, we review the Lebara Mobile service. We’ll look at the prices on Lebara and we’ll see how they compare to those on rival networks (EE, giffgaff, O2, Lycamobile and Vodafone). We’ll also look at how to use an existing handset on Lebara, the level of coverage to expect and how to keep an existing phone number when moving to the network.

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Cheapest Pay As You Go Bundles: The Best Value Prepay Packages For Your Phone

July 21st, 2015

With a bundle, you’re able to convert your Pay As You Go credit into a better value allowance of calls, texts and internet. We compare the UK’s cheapest Pay As You Go bundles.

Pay As You Go SmartphonesIn the UK, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Pay As You Go deals. At present, there are more than 40 tariffs you’re able to choose from on 20 different mobile networks. The strong competition on Pay As You Go means the best value deals can now sometimes rival those found on Pay Monthly.

To get the best value from a Pay As You Go tariff, you’ll normally need to convert your airtime into a 30-day bundle. Buying a bundle is a little bit like paying for your airtime in bulk. Instead of paying for usage on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis, you buy a bundle which lasts for 30 days and which comes with a certain amount of calls, texts and internet. For frequent mobile users, the overall cost of buying a bundle should be much lower than using traditional Pay As You Go.

At present, there is a wide range of Pay As You Go bundles to choose from in the UK. In this article, we compare the Pay As You Go bundles available on the market and we showcase some of the best value deals currently available.

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Unlimited Mobile Data Plans: The UK’s Cheapest Deals For Your Smartphone

July 15th, 2015

In the UK, unlimited data is available on your smartphone from £12/month on a Pay Monthly contract and from £15/month on a Pay As You Go bundle.

data-binaryIn the last few months, unlimited data plans have seen a resurgence in the UK. Now available from three different networks, an unlimited data plan is perfect for heavy users. There’s no longer any need to worry about how much data you’re actually using and there’s no risk of your data connection being cut off mid-month. It’s perfect for download apps and games, for watching videos on-the-go and for streaming music from the internet.

At present, unlimited data plans for your mobile start from £12/month on a Pay Monthly contract and from £15/month on a Pay As You Go tariff. Unlimited data plans are currently available from giffgaff, TalkTalk and Three (it’s also available for the first three months when joining Vodafone).

In this article, we review and compare the best unlimited data plans available in the UK.

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The UK’s Cheapest Mobile Network For International Phone Calls

July 10th, 2015

In the UK, several mobile networks currently provide a low-cost SIM card for making international phone calls. In this article, we compare the best value mobile networks for calling each country.

EarthIf you’re calling a phone number in another country, having the right SIM card or package can save you significant amounts of money.

With a normal SIM card on the major mobile networks, it can sometimes cost you up to £1.50/minute when calling another country. By opting in to the special offers available, you can sometimes reduce this to only a fraction of the cost (special offers are currently available on EE, O2 and Vodafone). It’s free to opt-in to the offers when you’re using Pay As You Go.

With a specialist mobile network for international calling (giffgaff, Lebara Mobile or Lycamobile), you can sometimes reduce the rates even further. With a free SIM card from one of the low-cost international calling providers, you can sometimes call abroad from as little as 1p/minute (the exact rates vary depending on the country you’re calling and whether it’s a landline or a mobile). International text messages can also be substantially cheaper when using a specialist network (from only 8p/message when using a SIM card on giffgaff).

In this article, we compare the cost of international phone calls on giffgaff, EE, O2, Vodafone, Lebara Mobile and Lycamobile. We’ve done this for 79 countries across 6 different continents so you can find the best value SIM card for calling friends and family located in each country. We’ll also discuss the costs of sending a text message abroad and the rates for calling and texting within the UK.

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Mobile By Sainsbury’s: The Low Cost Mobile Network With Bonus Nectar Points

July 7th, 2015

Mobile by Sainsbury’s is a low-cost network with 3G coverage from Vodafone. Customers can earn bonus Nectar points on their shopping and fuel purchases from Sainsbury’s.

Mobile By Sainsburys LogoIn the UK, Mobile by Sainsbury’s is a low-cost mobile network from Sainsbury’s, the UK’s third largest supermarket. Following in the footsteps of Tesco Mobile and ASDA Mobile, Mobile by Sainsbury’s first launched in July 2013 with coverage from Vodafone. Along with lower rates for calling, the key selling point of Mobile by Sainsbury’s is the ability to earn more Nectar points when shopping at Sainsbury’s.

For £10/month (or £8/month when you buy a rolling bundle), customers on the Pay As You Go service get 300 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB of internet. For occasional users without a monthly bundle, the rates charged on Mobile by Sainsbury’s are currently 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB of internet.

In this article, we review Mobile by Sainsbury’s. We’ll look at their pricing and tariffs: both on Pay As You Go and on Pay Monthly contracts. We’ll look at the Nectar points reward scheme and whether it actually provides good value to the user. We’ll also compare Mobile by Sainsbury’s to rival offerings from other networks before looking at handsets, coverage and how to keep your current phone number.

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Competition: Win an iPhone 6 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

July 4th, 2015

Fill in a short survey about phone contracts and unlocking to be in with a chance of winning either an iPhone 6 Plus or a Galaxy S6 Edge.

iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S6 EdgeIn the UK, there are several ways of buying a new smartphone. You can buy your handset on a Pay Monthly contract, on a Pay As You Go tariff or on a SIM-free basis. The folks over at giffgaff are running a short survey to find out how we choose to buy our smartphones in the UK. The survey also looks at unlocking and how we choose to unlock our handsets when our contract finishes.

The survey should only take around 2 minutes to fill in and you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win either an iPhone 6 Plus or a Galaxy S6 Edge.

Take The Survey »

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08, 09 and 118 Phone Numbers: The Cost Of Calling From Your Mobile

July 1st, 2015

Find out how much it’ll cost to call special phone numbers from your UK mobile. Includes 08, 09 and 118 phone numbers.

UK Calling LogoFrom July 1st 2015, the cost of calling special phone numbers is changing in the UK. Special phone numbers, which beginning with 08, 09 and 118, are often used by companies in the UK. They’re also used for premium rate services, for TV show voting and for directory enquiries.

On all UK mobile networks, it’s now totally free of charge to call an 0800 or 0808 phone number.

For 084, 087, 09 and 118 phone numbers, the cost of your phone call is now divided into two parts. There’s an access charge from your mobile network operator (this varies from 8p/minute to 45p/minute). There’s also a separate service charge which goes to the company or organisation running the phone number.

Calls to an 084, 087, 09 or 118 phone number are not normally included in your monthly allowances. Pay Monthly customers will see a charge for the phone call appearing on their next bill. Meanwhile, Pay As You Go customers will see credit being taken from their account. Customers with a Pay As You Go monthly bundle will need to top-up extra money to pay for 084, 087, 09 and 118 phone calls.

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PAC Codes: How to transfer your mobile number when switching networks

June 21st, 2015

How to transfer your existing phone number from one mobile network to another: a step-by-step guide to using a PAC code.

If you’re changing mobile networks, it’s not necessary to also change your phone number. In the UK, it’s a straightforward process to bring your phone number with you to a new mobile network. It means you eliminate the hassle of changing your phone number: there’s no need to tell anyone a brand new number and you can be sure not to miss any vital incoming calls.

To transfer your phone number from one network to another, you need to use something called a PAC Code. It’s free to transfer your phone number between networks and the whole process should only take one working day.

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ASDA Mobile Review: Low Cost Pay As You Go Network With Coverage From EE

June 16th, 2015

ASDA Mobile is a low-cost Pay As You Go network from ASDA, the UK’s second largest supermarket. It runs on the 2G & 3G networks from EE.

ASDA Mobile LogoIn the UK, ASDA Mobile is a low-cost Pay As You Go network with competitive rates for calling and texting. A key competitor of Tesco Mobile and Mobile By Sainsbury’s, the network has a range of 30-day bundles starting from £5/month for 100 minutes, 2000 texts and 100MB of internet. For occasional users, a traditional Pay As You Go service is available on ASDA Mobile for 8p/minute, 4p/text and for 5p/MB of data.

ASDA Mobile is a SIM-only mobile network where you need to provide your own unlocked handset. The network has 99% 2G and 3G coverage across the UK. The coverage on ASDA Mobile is provided by EE but you won’t get access to EE’s 4G network.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at the ASDA Mobile service. We’ll look at the price plans available on ASDA Mobile and we’ll see how they compare to those on rival networks. We’ll also look at how to use your existing handset on ASDA Mobile, the level of coverage to expect and how to keep your existing phone number.

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The Popularity Of UK Mobile Networks: Raw Data & Trends Over Time

June 10th, 2015

For the past four and a half years, we’ve been tracking the popularity of UK mobile networks and how consumers are switching between them.

UKThe UK has one of the most competitive marketplaces in the world for mobile telephony. There are more than 83 million active mobile subscriptions for a population of only 64 million. Given this, many customers taking out a new mobile phone plan will be switching their service over from another network.

At present, there are 4 network operators in the UK: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. There are also more than 20 virtual network operators (MVNOs) that use one of the big four networks as a coverage provider. Current MVNOs include BT Mobile, giffgaff, iD Mobile, TalkTalk, Tesco and Virgin. MVNOs target a wide range of verticals including ethical, low-cost, international, supermarket and quad-play providers.

When switching from one mobile network to another, many consumers choose to keep their existing phone number. The UK has offered mobile number portability (MNP) since the 4th January 1999. To transfer an existing phone number from one network to another, customers need to obtain a PAC Code from their old network. The PAC Code is then provided to their new network operator.

Here, at Ken’s Tech Tips, we provide an online tool which can help consumers to get a PAC Code from their old network. We’ve been operating the PAC Code Finder tool since October 2010 with an average of 4,000 people using the tool every month. By monitoring usage of the tool, we can track in great detail how British consumers are moving between different mobile networks in response to different product offerings.

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