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.
In 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.
- 1 Pricing & Tariffs
- 2 Comparison to Alternatives
- 3 Handsets
- 4 Network & Coverage
- 5 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 6 More Information
Pricing & Tariffs
In the UK, ASDA Mobile is purely a Pay As You Go service. There are no contracts to sign: you simply grab yourself a free SIM card and top it up to get going on the network.
For regular users, a 30-day bundle normally offers the best value on ASDA. With a 30-day bundle, you convert your top-up into a 30-day allowance of calls, texts and mobile internet.
For occasional users, the standard Pay As You Go tariff can offer better value (8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB when accessing the internet). Pay As You Go credit won’t expire on ASDA Mobile providing you keep the SIM card active by using it at least once every 180 days.
30 Day Bundles
For regular users, the cheapest way of using ASDA Mobile is to buy one of their 30-day bundles. With a 30-day bundle, you essentially buy your airtime in bulk from ASDA Mobile. You convert a certain amount of your Pay As You Go credit into a 30-day allowance of calls, texts and internet.
Bundles can offer substantially lower rates than on normal Pay As You Go. For example, an occasional user who requires 100 minutes, 100 texts and 100MB per month will pay £17/month on standard Pay As You Go. With a 30-day bundle, you’d simply pay £5/month for 100 minutes, 2000 texts and 100MB of internet.
ASDA currently offers a choice of the following bundles:
As well as the all-inclusive bundles, ASDA also has a choice of two data-only bundles (£5/month for 500MB of data or £7.50/month for 1GB of data). With a data-only bundle, you continue to pay the standard Pay As You Go rates for calling and texting.
Once you have a SIM card from ASDA Mobile, you can buy a 30-day bundle by texting the following:
|Bundle||Buy One-Off Bundle||Buy Recurring Bundle*|
|£5 Bundle||Text 5 to 2732||Text AUTO 5 to 2732|
|£7 Bundle||Text 7 to 2732||Text AUTO 7 to 2732|
|£10 Bundle||Text 10 to 2732||Text AUTO 10 to 2732|
|£15 Bundle||Text 15 to 2732||Text AUTO 15 to 2732|
|£20 Bundle||Text 20 to 2732||Text AUTO 20 to 2732|
|500MB Data||Text data5 to 2732||Text AUTO data5 to 2732|
|1GB Data||Text data7.50 to 2732||Text AUTO data7.5 to 2732|
* Automatically renews at the end of 30 days providing there is enough credit remaining on your account. To disable automatic renewal, text STOP AUTO to 2732.
All bundles will last for 30 days with any unused allowances expiring with the bundle. To check your current bundle and the remaining allowances, text BAL to 2732. The ASDA Mobile website has more information regarding their bundles.
Pay As You Go
For light users who don’t want to buy a 30-day bundle, it’s still possible to use ASDA Mobile on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis. At present, ASDA Mobile charges the following rates on Pay As You Go:
|Voice Calls||8p/minute (any network, any time)|
|Calls to Voicemail||8p/minute|
|Text Message (SMS)||4p|
|Picture Message (MMS)||25p|
|3G Internet||5p/MB (buy a data bundle for better value)|
A full list of rates can be found on the ASDA Mobile website including for international calls and for special phone numbers (e.g. for calling phone numbers beginning with 08 or 09).
In general, ASDA Mobile compares incredibly well against rival networks for their Pay As You Go rates. At 8p/minute and 4p/text, they can only be beaten by Three’s 321 tariff. At 5p/MB, data is fairly expensive on ASDA Mobile (giffgaff charges 20p/day for 20MB of internet and Three charges just 1p/MB). Mainstream mobile networks such as EE, O2 and Vodafone typically charge 30p/minute, 14p/text and at least £1/day for accessing the internet. For more information, please see our Pay As You Go price comparison table.
Credit Expiry & Inactivity Policy
With ASDA Mobile, there’s no expiry on your Pay As You Go credit providing you keep the SIM card active on their network (this is also assuming you don’t use your credit to buy a 30-day bundle). In order to keep your SIM card fully active, you should make a chargeable activity at least once every 90 days. Your Pay As You Go credit will only expire if you don’t use the SIM card for more than 180 days.
|Days of Inactivity||Make Outgoing Calls?||Receive Incoming Calls?||Your Pay As You Go Credit||Your Phone Number|
|< 90 days||✔ Yes||✔ Yes||✔ No expiry||✔|
|90+ days||✘ No, barred
(call ASDA to re-instate)
|✔ Yes||✔ No expiry||✔|
|180+ days||✘ No, barred||✘ No, barred||✘ Expired||✘ Barred
(call ASDA to recover)
|365+ days||✘ No, barred||✘ No, barred||✘ Expired||✘ Deleted|
A summary of ASDA Mobile’s inactivity policy. You should use your SIM card at least once every 90 days to keep it fully active.
For more information, see the FAQ on ASDA Mobile’s website. If you need to reactivate your SIM card, you should call 0800 952 0393 from a landline.
Comparison to Alternatives
In the following section, we’ll compare the ASDA Mobile bundles against rival offerings from other mobile networks.
Less than £10 per month
ASDA offers a choice of two bundles for less than £10/month. For £5/month, you get 100 minutes, 2000 texts and 100MB of internet. Meanwhile, for £7/month, you can get 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet.
£10 per month bundles
ASDA’s £10 monthly bundle includes 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet. The closest comparable alternative is giffgaff’s £10 goodybag (500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet for £10/month).
£15 per month bundles
For £15/month, ASDA Mobile has 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet. For heavy data users, we’d instead recommend giffgaff’s £15 goodybag (it comes with 5GB of data but has only 500 minutes). If you’d like access to faster 4G mobile internet, EE has a £15 Everything Pack with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of double-speed 4G internet.
£20 per month bundles
For £20/month, ASDA has 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of internet. For the same monthly price, giffgaff has 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet.
For more information, please see our full comparison of Pay As You Go bundles. In addition, it may also be worth considering a SIM-only contract. With SIM-only contracts, you’ll need to sign a Pay Monthly agreement. The overall price, however, can often be lower than on Pay As You Go bundles.
ASDA Mobile is a SIM-only mobile network. For this reason, you aren’t able to buy a handset directly from ASDA Mobile. Instead, you should bring your own unlocked handset to use with the service. This could either be a handset from your old network or it could be a brand new smartphone that you’ve purchased SIM-free (e.g. from Amazon.co.uk).
If you’re using an existing handset that was originally provided by another mobile network, it might be necessary for you to first unlock it. For more information, see our guides to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy. It shouldn’t cost any more than £20 to unlock a handset from your old mobile network.
When ordering your SIM card from the ASDA Mobile website, you’ll be asked to choose the size of SIM card you require. There are three options you’re able to choose from: Standard SIM, Micro SIM and Nano SIM. If you aren’t sure which size of SIM card is required by your phone, see our list of handsets and the required SIM card size in each one.
Network & Coverage
2G & 3G Coverage from EE
ASDA Mobile is a virtual network operator that makes use of EE as a network coverage provider. Using the 2G and 3G networks from EE, ASDA Mobile currently claims 99% population coverage across the UK.
Before ordering a SIM card from ASDA Mobile, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on the ASDA Mobile website:
On other websites, you may see a reference to ASDA Mobile using coverage from Vodafone. This was only the case until the 30th April 2014 (after that, the old ASDA Mobile on Vodafone was shut down and customers were transferred to the new ASDA Mobile which uses EE).
Customers on ASDA Mobile don’t have access to EE’s 4G network. It’s not known when 4G coverage will launch on ASDA Mobile. This is because EE has so far kept their 4G network to themselves and to BT Mobile.
Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (e.g. your laptop or tablet). On ASDA Mobile, it’s possible to tether on any of their Pay As You Go tariffs. With other virtual network operators, tethering is often prohibited.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re switching from another network to ASDA Mobile, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.
Start by ordering your free SIM card from the ASDA Mobile website. Once you’ve done that, contact your old network and ask them to provide you with a PAC Code.
After receiving the new SIM card from ASDA Mobile, you’ll need to call ASDA Mobile Customer Services (dial 2732 from your ASDA Mobile SIM card or 0800 952 0393 from any other phone). After you provide the PAC Code to ASDA Mobile, it normally takes about one working day for your phone number to be transferred.
For a step-by-step guide on moving your number to ASDA Mobile, please select your current network operator:
|PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to ASDA Mobile|
For more information on transferring your phone number between networks, see our guide to using a PAC Code.
For more information regarding ASDA Mobile, please see the ASDA Mobile website.
I'm a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005 with the aim of demystifying mobile technology for the rest of us.
Before writing about mobile technology, my background was in space & atmospheric physics. I have also worked in software development. Nowadays, I help companies to explain mobile technology to their customers. Please check out my portfolio or get in touch for more information. I'm also on Google+.