ASDA Mobile Review: Low Cost Pay As You Go Network With Coverage From EE
January 26th, 2016
ASDA Mobile is a low-cost Pay As You Go network with competitive 30-day bundles for calling, texting and browsing. ASDA Mobile 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, texting and browsing. For occasional mobile users, ASDA Mobile charges just 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB. For regular users, ASDA Mobile also has a range of 30-day bundles from £5/month.
The coverage on ASDA Mobile is provided by EE: there’s 99% population coverage from EE’s 2G and 3G networks. Customers can join ASDA Mobile by ordering a free SIM card from their website. The SIM card will slot inside your existing unlocked smartphone and will give you lower calling rates at the same time as giving you coverage from EE.
In this article, we take an in-depth look at the ASDA Mobile service. We’ll look at the price plans on ASDA Mobile and how they compare to rival mobile networks. We’ll also look at how to use your existing handset on ASDA Mobile, the level of coverage you can expect and how to keep your existing phone number.
- 1 Pricing & Tariffs
- 2 Comparison to Alternatives
- 3 Handsets
- 4 Credit Expiry & Inactivity Policy
- 5 Network & Coverage
- 6 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 7 More Information
Pricing & Tariffs
In the UK, ASDA Mobile is a low-cost Pay As You Go service. It’s offered by ASDA, the UK’s second-largest supermarket, in conjunction with EE who provide the underlying network coverage. There are no contracts to sign when joining ASDA Mobile: just order yourself a free SIM card and top it up to get going.
For regular mobile users, a 30-day bundle on ASDA Mobile will normally offer the best value usage. With a 30-day bundle, you’ll convert your Pay As You Go credit into a 30-day allowance of calls, texts and mobile internet.
For occasional mobile users, the more traditional Pay As You Go tariff may offer better value. ASDA Mobile charges just 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB. This is a fraction of what the major mobile networks typically charge. Your Pay As You Go credit will also never expire providing you keep your SIM card active (you can do this by using the SIM card at least once every 180 days).
30 Day Bundles
For regular mobile users and for anyone with a smartphone, the cheapest way of using ASDA Mobile is to buy a 30-day bundle.
With a 30-day bundle, you essentially buy your airtime in bulk from ASDA Mobile. This makes it a lot cheaper than traditional Pay As You Go and there’s greater certainty on how much you’ll spend every month. For instance, a mobile user using 100 minutes, 100 texts and 100MB of data per month would normally pay £17/month on traditional Pay As You Go. With a 30-day bundle, you could alternatively pay just £5/month for 100 minutes, 2000 texts and 100MB of data.
At present, the £10 bundle is the most popular on ASDA Mobile (the bundle gives you 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 1.5GB of data for £10/month). Alternatively, there’s also a choice of four other bundles:
Alongside the all-inclusive bundles, ASDA also offers a £5 Talk and Text bundle. This is for people who don’t use a smartphone (they charge £5/month for 200 minutes and 2000 texts). There are also four data-only bundles (£5 for 500MB of data, £7.50 for 1GB of data, £12.50 for 2GB of data and £15 for 4GB of data).
You can order a free SIM card through the above link to take advantage of the bundles.
Adding a 30-day bundle to your account
Once you have your 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|
|£5 Talk & Text Bundle||Text Talk 5 to 2732||Text AUTO Talk 5 to 2732|
|500MB Data||Text Data 5 to 2732||Text AUTO Data 5 to 2732|
|1GB Data||Text Data 7.50 to 2732||Text AUTO Data 7.50 to 2732|
|2GB Data||Text Data 12.50 to 2732||Text AUTO Data 12.50 to 2732|
|4GB Data||Text Data 15 to 2732||Text AUTO Data 15 to 2732|
* Recurring bundles will automatically renew 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 in it, text BAL to 2732. The ASDA Mobile website has more information regarding their bundles.
Pay As You Go
For occasional mobile users, it’s still possible to use ASDA Mobile on traditional Pay As You Go. Here, you’ll only pay for what you actually use on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis. Your credit will also never expire providing your SIM card remains active (you can keep it active by using it at least once every 180 days).
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|
|Calls to Special Rate Numbers||8p/minute access charge
+ service charge from the company you’re calling
|Text Message (SMS)||4p|
|Picture Message (MMS)||25p|
|3G Internet||5p/MB (buy a 30-day bundle for better value)|
A full list of rates can be found on the ASDA Mobile website. This includes for international phone calls and for roaming rates when abroad.
In general, ASDA Mobile compares incredibly well against rival mobile networks for their Pay As You Go rates. Their 8p/minute and 4p/text tariff is only a fraction of what other mainstream networks charge (networks such as EE, O2 and Vodafone typically charge 30p/minute, 14p/text and at least £1/day for accessing the mobile internet).
Some mobile networks are slightly cheaper than ASDA Mobile (e.g. Three’s 321 tariff). However, there may be other considerations such as the level of coverage. For more information, please see our Pay As You Go price comparison table.
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 Mobile has a choice of three bundles for less than £10/month.
For £5/month, their all-inclusive bundle comes with 100 minutes, 2000 texts and 100MB of internet. Alternatively, their £5 Talk & Text bundle comes with 200 minutes and 2000 texts. giffgaff has a £5/month bundle with 125 minutes, 500 texts and 100MB of internet.
For £7/month, ASDA Mobile has a bundle with 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet. The closest comparable alternative is giffgaff’s £7.50 goodybag which comes with 250 minutes to use each month.
£10 per month bundles
For £10 per month, ASDA Mobile offers a bundle with 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 1.5GB of data (1.5GB = 1,500MB).
The closest comparable alternative is giffgaff’s £10 goodybag which comes with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet. giffgaff uses coverage from O2 and gives you 4G internet (the bundles from ASDA Mobile use EE and are 3G-only).
£15 per month bundles
For £15/month, ASDA Mobile offers 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data.
On other mobile networks, we would recommend giffgaff’s £15 goodybag as a possible alternative. This comes with 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data (this is an additional 1GB of data compared to on the bundle from ASDA Mobile). There’s also EE’s £15 Everything Pack with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of double-speed 4G data.
£20 per month bundles
For £20/month, ASDA Mobile offers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of internet.
We would probably recommend giffgaff as a better value alternative. For only £18/month, you’ll get 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of internet. There’s also a £20 goodybag with unlimited minutes and Always On data (unlimited internet with the first 6GB per month at 4G speeds).
ASDA Mobile is a SIM-only mobile network. What this means is you’ll need to bring your own handset to the ASDA mobile network. The free SIM card you order from ASDA Mobile will then slot inside your existing handset. You can use any mobile phone providing it’s unlocked or you can buy a SIM-free smartphone from retailers like Amazon.co.uk.
If you’re using a 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 network.
ASDA Mobile currently provides a three-in-one SIM card (you can pop out the Standard SIM, Micro SIM or Nano SIM as required). 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 for each one.
Credit Expiry & Inactivity Policy
On ASDA Mobile, there’s no expiry on your Pay As You Go credit (this is assuming you aren’t converting your Pay As You Go credit into a 30-day bundle). To keep the credit on your account, you simply need to make sure your SIM card remains active.
The easiest way to keep your SIM card fully active is to use it for a chargeable activity at least once every 180 days. Your Pay As You Go credit will only expire if your SIM card is inactive for more than 270 days. The following list gives a timeline of what might happen to an unused ASDA Mobile SIM card:
- Your SIM card has been used within the last 180 days. As long as you use your SIM card at least once every 180 days, your Pay As You Go credit on ASDA Mobile will never expire.
- More than 180 days of inactivity on the SIM card. If more than 180 days have passed since your last chargeable activity, ASDA Mobile will suspend your outgoing phone calls. You’ll need to call them on 0800 079 2732 from another phone to reactivate your SIM card. You’ll still be able to receive incoming phone calls and your Pay As You Go credit will still be there.
- More than 270 days of inactivity on the SIM card. If more than 270 days have passed since your last chargeable activity, your SIM card will be fully suspended by ASDA Mobile. You’ll no longer be able to make any phone calls and your Pay As You Go credit will also be removed. You can call ASDA Mobile on 0800 079 2732 to recover your phone number.
- More than 360 days of inactivity on the SIM card. After 360 days of inactivity on your account, your phone number is deleted and can no longer be recovered.
We’d strongly recommend using your SIM card at least once every 180 days to avoid complications. This is a fairly standard policy across all Pay As You Go networks in the UK. For more information, please see the FAQ on ASDA Mobile’s website.
Network & Coverage
2G & 3G Coverage from EE
ASDA Mobile is a virtual network operator that uses EE as their network coverage provider. Customers using ASDA Mobile will get 2G and 3G coverage from the EE network. This means customers using the service can expect 99% population coverage.
Before ordering a SIM card from the ASDA Mobile website, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on the ASDA Mobile website:
Prior to April 2014, ASDA Mobile made use of coverage from Vodafone. As of May 2014, all customers are making use of coverage on EE. If you see any other websites referring to coverage from Vodafone, the information on those websites is now out-of-date.
Customers on ASDA Mobile don’t currently 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 only themselves and 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).
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 a free SIM card from the ASDA Mobile website. Once you’ve done that, contact your old network and ask them for a PAC Code.
After receiving your new SIM card from ASDA Mobile, you’ll need to call ASDA Mobile Customer Services to give them your PAC Code. You can do this by calling 2732 from your ASDA Mobile SIM card or 0800 952 0393 from any other phone.
After providing the PAC Code to ASDA Mobile, it will normally take about one working day for your phone number to be moved over.
For a step-by-step guide on moving your number to ASDA Mobile, please select your current mobile network from the dropdown menu below:
|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 official 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+.