1pMobile Review: Flexible Pay As You Go for 1p/min, 1p/text & 1p/MB

April 25th, 2017

1pMobile is a new mobile network claiming to have the UK’s “cheapest and most flexible” Pay As You Go tariff.

In the UK, the cost of using your mobile phone on Pay As You Go has been dropping for a number of years. This has been fuelled by low-cost providers such as ASDA Mobile and giffgaff who have brought down the cost of using your phone on Pay As You Go.

The latest offering in this area comes from 1pMobile: a relatively new Pay As You Go network that launched in September 2016. The network promises “greater flexibility” than existing Pay As You Go deals and offers an eye-catching tariff of 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB. Customers need to top-up their phone at least once every 120 days as a requirement of using the service.

1pMobile has been launched by a company called Telecommunications Management Limited, the sister company of Utility Warehouse and a part of the FTSE 250-listed Telecom Plus PLC group.

Pricing & Tariffs

Pay As You Go

1pMobile’s namesake is their Pay As You Go tariff, where customers pay just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB for standard UK usage. Compared to most of the big name providers, this makes 1pMobile a significant cheaper network especially for customers making a phone call on Pay As You Go.

The following table shows a list of 1pMobile’s rates in the UK:

Calling Rates:
Voice Calls 1p/minute (any network, any time)
Calls to Voicemail 1p/minute
Calls to Special Rate Numbers 30p/minute access charge
+ service charge from the company you’re calling
Messaging Rates:
Text Message (SMS) 1p
Picture Message (MMS) 30p
Internet Rates:
3G & 4G Internet 1p/MB (or buy a 30-day Data Boost)

The prices in this table are stated for UK-to-UK only. If you’re roaming or making international phone calls, higher charges will typically apply. Source for pricing information: 1pmobile.com.

There’s no need to pay a regular monthly fee for the service, but you’ll need to top-up your SIM card at least once every 120 days. 1pMobile has an optional auto top-up function which will add credit to your account every time your balance drops below £2 or 120 days after your last top-up (whichever comes earlier).

Data Bundles

For smartphone owners who regularly use the internet on their phone, 1pMobile also offers a range of Data Boosts. These are 30-day packages that give you an allowance of data, at a discount of up to 62% compared to the normal price.

A Data Boost can be purchased at any time using your Pay As You Go credit, but comes with the caveat that any unused data in the Boost will expire after 30 days.

The following Data Boosts are currently available on 1pMobile:

Data Boost Cost Potential Discount*
500MB Data £4/month Up to 20% discount on standard price (£5)
1GB Data £6/month Up to 40% discount on standard price (£10)
2GB Data £10/month Up to 50% discount on standard price (£20)
4GB Data £15/month Up to 62% discount on standard price (£40)

* The potential discount is calculated based upon a user that uses the entirety of their Data Boost. 

In practice, you’ll be better off using a Data Boost if your average data consumption is more than 400MB per month (0.4GB per month). If you were to use up the entirety of your Data Boost allowance, further usage would be charged at the standard 1p/MB rate.

Data Boosts can be combined with the usage of minutes and texts at the normal Pay As You Go rate. For instance, a customer using 200 minutes and 500MB of data will typically pay around £6/month (£2 for 200 minutes, and £4 for the 500MB Data Boost).

Minimum Top-Up Requirement

A caveat of using 1pMobile is the minimum top-up requirement: you’ll need to top-up your phone at least once every 120 days. If you don’t do this, your account will be closed and your phone number will also be deleted at the same time. The minimum amount you can top-up is £10 each time, equating to a minimum of £30 of top-ups over the year.

Beyond this, there are currently no further requirements to use your phone or to spend a certain amount of credit each month.

Customers can use the 1pMobile auto top-up function to ensure that their account is topped up at least once every 120 days. The automatic top-up will activate when either the balance on your account drops below £2 or when 120 days have passed since your last top-up.

Prior to the 25th April 2017, 1pMobile imposed a minimum spend requirement of £5/month. This meant, for example, if you only used £3 of credit during a given month, it would be rounded up to £5 which would then be deducted from your account. As of the 25th April 2017, this monthly minimum spend requirement is no longer in place; only the 120-day minimum top-up requirement now remains.

If you’re planning to use a 1pMobile SIM in a spare or emergency handset, the requirement to top-up every 120 days could make it a fairly expensive option. Most other mobile networks do not impose a minimum top-up requirement: they simply require you to use your phone once every 180 days (this would include the use of existing credit that’s already on your account).

Comparison to Alternatives

  • 1pMobile
  • ASDA Mobile
  • iD Mobile
  • O2
  • Tello
  • Three

At present, 1pMobile has the lowest per-minute and per-text rates of any UK Pay As You Go network. They also have the joint-lowest per-megabyte rate, equalled by a number of other networks (Three, iD Mobile and Tello).

Overall, the closest alternative to 1pMobile is probably Three’s 321 tariff on Pay As You Go. Three charges 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB but has no requirement for you to top-up your phone every 120 days. Instead, you just need to use your phone for a chargeable activity at least once every 6 months (unlike 1pMobile, this usage could be from your existing credit). Three also has a smaller minimum top-up of just £5 each time, which could potentially better suit light mobile users.

Other Pay As You Go networks with similarly low rates include iD Mobile (3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB with coverage from Three), Tello (3p/minute, 3p/text and 1p/MB with coverage from Three) and O2 Classic Pay As You Go (5p/minute, 5p/text and 5p/MB).

If you’re a smartphone owner or regular mobile user, it may be worth considering getting a Pay As You Go bundle instead. Numerous bundles are available from £5/month, including some of the following:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ASDA Mobile1002,0002.1GB£5.00
EE50250150MB£5.00
giffgaff150500100MB£5.00
ASDA Mobile300Unlimited2.5GB£7.00
giffgaff250Unlimited750MB£7.50

For more information, see our full guide to the UK’s best value Pay As You Go bundles.

Network & Coverage

2G, 3G & 4G Coverage from EE

1pMobile is a virtual network operator, making use of EE as a network coverage provider. This means customers of 1pMobile will receive the exact same coverage as customers on EE.

At the time of writing, customers should receive about 99% population coverage, including 97% coverage on EE’s 4G network. EE’s 4G network is currently the most extensive of any UK coverage provider, making this a key benefit of choosing a mobile network that piggybacks on coverage from EE.

Before signing up to 1pMobile, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on the 1pMobile website:

Check 1pMobile Coverage (1pmobile.com) »

For more information about how to compare coverage between networks, please see our full guide to mobile phone coverage in the UK.

Internet Settings

In order to access the internet on your smartphone, it may be necessary to input the Access Point Name (APN) settings for 1pMobile. On the iPhone, you can do this through Settings > Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options > Mobile Data Network and on Android, you can do this through Settings > Wireless & networks > More > Mobile networks > Access point names.

You’ll need to input the following settings to access the internet on 1pMobile:

  • Name: 1pMobile
  • APN: data.uk
  • User: user
  • Password: one2one

For more information, please see the help documentation on the 1pMobile website.

Tethering

Customers on 1pMobile can tether and use personal hotspot.

Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (e.g. with a laptop or tablet).

On 1pMobile, tethering is permitted without any restrictions. You’ll pay the normal rate for all data used through tethering functionality (so that’s either 1p/MB or you can use your Data Boost allowance).

As usual, we’d recommend turning off data-intensive features such as background app updates (e.g. Windows Update) on your laptop. These features can quickly consume a large amount of data when you’re tethering on your smartphone, leading to the balance on your Pay As You Go account becoming depleted very quickly.

For more information, please see our in-depth guide to tethering on UK networks.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re moving from another mobile network to 1pMobile, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.

To do so, you should start by asking your old mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code. This is a nine-digit code that authorises the transfer of your phone number to 1pMobile. Your current mobile network is legally obliged to provide you with a PAC Code and they must do this within 2 hours of your request, totally free of charge.

Once you’ve got a PAC Code from your old network, you can then order your new SIM card from the 1pMobile website. When the SIM card arrives, you can log in to your online account to submit your PAC Code, and your phone number transfer should then be processed on the next working day. You should try to use up any remaining Pay As You Go credit on your old network as it can’t be transferred to 1pMobile.

For a step-by-step guide on moving your phone number to 1p Mobile, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to 1pMobile

Your current network provider:

  More Options

About 1pMobile

The company behind 1pMobile is part of the group that owns the Utility Warehouse.

1pMobile is one of the UK’s newest mobile phone networks, having only launched in September 2016. Being a fairly new provider, there’s of course little track record about how the mobile network will perform longer-term.

A positive sign is that 1pMobile is being offered by a company called Telecommunications Management Limited (TML). The company has provided business telecommunication services in the UK since 1998 and is a part of the FTSE 250-listed Telecom Plus PLC. This makes 1pMobile (TML) the sister company to Utility Warehouse.

In our view, it’s good news that 1pMobile is backed by a fairly large company as this makes it more probable the network will stick around for the longer term. However, we’d always recommend doing your own research when choosing a new provider, especially when choosing a mobile network that’s only been around for seven months.

More Information

For more information about 1pMobile, please see their official website.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 10 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Ottavio said:

    I don’t understand the 120 days rule. Will the credit expire or will it be carried over the next 120 days?

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Ottavio,
      Your credit on 1p Mobile will not expire, but you’ll need to top-up your SIM card at least once every 120 days. If you don’t top-up for more than 120 days, your account will be closed and your credit will be lost.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  2. Andy Messias said:

    Any info on the cost of calls when using abroad?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Andy,
      Yes! You can see the fees for international roaming here on the 1pMobile website. For roaming inside the UK, costs are fairly reasonable due to EU regulations. Outside of the EU, however, you can expect to pay a lot more (typically between 85p/minute and £1.75/minute). If you regularly travel abroad to other countries, I’d possibly consider Three instead due to their low-cost international roaming.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  3. Pete Forman said:

    1pMobile have just modified the way that the (optional) auto top works. It used to be just money based, kicking in when your balance went below £2. Now it will also happen when the 120 day limit is reached. That prevents disconnection.

    Kudos to them for acting on the suggestion that I sent them.

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Pete,
      This is a fantastic change from 1pMobile, so thanks very much for the heads up about it. Do you by any chance have any information on how to activate this feature? I’d love to include the information in the review above, as I think there’ll be lots of people who can benefit from it.
      Thanks again,
      Ken

      1. Pete Forman replied:

        According to their FAQ (about leaving) the auto top-up control is in accounts settings. It will not be visible until you log in.

        https://www.1pmobile.com/status.taf

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