LIFE Mobile Review: A Low Cost 3G-Only Network With Coverage From EE

November 24th, 2015

LIFE Mobile is a low-cost network with 3G coverage from EE. Their SIM-only deals start from £4.95/month and include a ‘Smart Cap’ feature for better control over your spending.

LIFE MobileLIFE Mobile is a sub-brand of EE with SIM cards available from just £5/month on a 30-day contract. The network offers 99% population coverage with a 2G and 3G service from EE. The key selling points are highly-competitive pricing and the ‘Smart Cap’ feature which limits your out-of-allowance charges.

In this article, we review the LIFE Mobile service. We’ll start by looking at the price plans available on LIFE Mobile and how their SIM-only deals compare to other networks. We’ll then discuss how to use your handset on LIFE Mobile, the level of coverage to expect and how to keep your current phone number.

Pricing & Tariffs

At present, LIFE Mobile is a SIM-only offering. This means you’ll only be given a new SIM card by LIFE Mobile. The SIM card will need to be placed in an unlocked handset for you to be able to use their service (you can’t buy a smartphone directly from LIFE Mobile).

Pay Monthly SIMs

LIFE Mobile SIM CardLIFE Mobile currently offers a choice of four SIM-only deals, each of them on a 30-day rolling contract:

LIFE Mobile6005,000500MB£4.95
LIFE Mobile1,0005,0001GB£7.45
LIFE Mobile2,0005,0002GB£9.95
LIFE Mobile4,0005,0004GB£13.95

Your bill will normally be paid through a monthly Direct Debit but it’s also possible to pay with a recurring charge on your card (e.g. a payment every week or every fortnight through your credit card or debit card).

Smart Cap

LIFE Mobile Smart CapA key part of the LIFE Mobile offering is their ‘Smart Cap’ feature. This gives you better control over the spending on your account.

With ‘Smart Cap’, you’re given a small buffer over which your out-of-allowance charges can’t exceed. By default, the Smart Cap is set to £5 but you can call up and change this to anything from £1 to £30.

The Smart Cap is great for putting a stop to surprise phone bills, and it makes a highly attractive offering when you’re giving the SIM card to someone else (e.g. to your children). With the £4.95/month tariff and a £1 Smart Cap, your monthly bill from LIFE Mobile can never exceed £5.95.

As normal, you’ll be sent a text message from LIFE Mobile when you reach 80% and 100% of your monthly limit. You’ll also be notified if you reach your Smart Cap (when this happens, you can continue to use your inclusive allowances, but all out-of-allowance usage will be barred on the SIM card).

Comparison to Alternatives


5 Pound Note

LIFE Mobile offers 600 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB of data for £4.95/month.

For light users, LIFE Mobile has a £4.95/month tariff with 600 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB of internet at 3G speeds. This is typically a lot cheaper than on rival mobile networks: elsewhere, you’d normally be paying at least £7/month for 500MB of data.

For anyone living in a BT Broadband household, a good alternative is BT Mobile’s £5/month deal. With the deal from BT, you’ll get 500MB of internet at 4G speeds. You’ll also get the BT Sport app as part of your package. The disadvantages are that you’ll only get 200 minutes to use every month. There’s also a 12-month commitment on the tariff from BT. For anyone in a non-BT household, the discount also won’t apply (you’ll need to pay the full price of £10/month).

LIFE Mobile6005,000500MB£4.95
BT Mobile200Unlimited500MB£5.00
inc. £5 discount
ASDA Mobile300Unlimited500MB£7.00
Tesco Mobile5005,000500MB£7.50

For BT Mobile, the £5/month discount only applies to BT Broadband households. If you aren’t living in a BT Broadband household, you’ll pay the full price without the £5/month discount.


Mobile Mast

For £7.45/month, LIFE Mobile has 1GB of 3G data on the EE network. giffgaff charges £10/month for 1GB of 4G data on the O2 network.

For £7.45/month, LIFE Mobile currently offers a deal with 1000 minutes, 5000 texts and 1GB of 3G internet. Once again, this is a highly competitive offering compared to other networks: elsewhere, you’d be looking to pay at least £10/month for 1GB of data.

If you don’t need quite as many minutes, the £10/month deals from BT Mobile, giffgaff and Tesco Mobile can be a good alternative to LIFE Mobile’s £7.45/month deal. You’ll pay £2 extra every month but you’ll get 4G internet included with your plan. On the deal from BT, you’ll also get twice as much data but this is subject to you signing up for a 12-month contract.

LIFE Mobile1,0005,0001GB£7.45
BT Mobile500Unlimited2GB£8.00
inc. £5 discount
ASDA Mobile600Unlimited1.5GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0001GB£10.00

For BT Mobile, the £5/month discount only applies to BT Broadband households. If you aren’t living in a BT Broadband household, you’ll pay the full price without the £5/month discount.


On LIFE Mobile, the £9.95/month Everyday tariff includes 2000 minutes, 5000 texts and 2GB of 3G internet. On other mobile networks, the closest alternatives with at least 2GB of data are:

LIFE Mobile2,0005,0002GB£9.95
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£11.00
BT Mobile500Unlimited2GB£13.00
ASDA Mobile1,000Unlimited3GB£15.00


15 Pound NotesFor £13.95/month, LIFE Mobile is currently offering 4000 minutes, 5000 texts and 4GB of internet at 3G speeds. The closest alternative with 4G speeds is giffgaff’s £15 goodybag with 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of internet.

Tesco Mobile7505,0006GB£12.50
LIFE Mobile4,0005,0004GB£13.95
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£16.00
inc. £5 discount
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£20.00

For BT Mobile, the £5/month discount only applies to BT Broadband households. If you aren’t living in a BT Broadband household, you’ll pay the full price without the £5/month discount.

For more information, please see our full comparison of the UK’s best value SIM-only deals.


iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

With LIFE Mobile, you’ll need to provide your own unlocked handset to use with the service.

As LIFE Mobile is a SIM-only network, you’ll need to provide your own unlocked handset to use with the service. This could either be your existing smartphone or it could be a new handset that you’ve purchased SIM-free (e.g. from

If you’re using a smartphone that was provided by another network, you may find it necessary to first unlock your smartphone. We’ve got a step-by-step guide to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy.

When ordering your SIM card from the LIFE Mobile website, you’ll be asked to choose the size of SIM card you require. There are two options you’re able to choose from: either ‘Standard & Micro SIM’ or ‘Nano SIM’. If you aren’t sure which size of SIM card is required by your phone, see our list of smartphones and the required SIM card size for each one.

LIFE Mobile - Choose SIM Card Size

You’ll need to choose the right size of SIM card when ordering from the LIFE Mobile website.

Network & Coverage

2G & 3G Coverage from EE

EE Coverage - October 2015

LIFE Mobile covers 99% of the UK’s population with 2G and 3G coverage on the EE network.

LIFE Mobile is a sub-brand of EE that gives you 2G and 3G coverage from the EE network (this is the same network previously offered by Orange and T-Mobile). Customers using the service can expect 99% population coverage.

Before signing up for the LIFE Mobile service, we strongly recommend you check the coverage in your area. You can do this through LIFE Mobile’s online coverage map. For a good smartphone usage experience, we recommend you have 3G coverage on the network.

Check LIFE Mobile Coverage Map »

For more information, please see our full review of the coverage on EE. You can also read our guide on virtual network operators.

4G Coverage Isn’t Available

Unfortunately, 4G coverage isn’t available on the LIFE Mobile service. Given LIFE Mobile’s position as a low-cost sub-brand of EE, it isn’t known whether 4G coverage will be made available in the future.

At present, EE is only offering 4G coverage through the main EE brand and through BT Mobile.


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). It’s useful for when you need to access the internet from other devices whilst out and about (e.g. working on your laptop on the commute in to work).

On LIFE Mobile, you can tether on any of their tariffs. This is a key selling point as many other low-cost networks prohibit the use of tethering and personal hotspot.

Keeping Your Phone Number

LIFE Mobile WebsiteIf you’re switching to LIFE Mobile from another network, it’s easy to keep your current phone number.

Start by ordering your new SIM card from the LIFE Mobile website. Once you’ve done that, you should contact your old network and ask them for a PAC Code.

After your new SIM card arrives from LIFE Mobile and once you’ve tested it out to make sure everything works well, you should then contact LIFE Mobile’s Customer Services team (you can reach them by calling 500 on your LIFE Mobile handset or 0800 0791133 from any other network). You should then give them the PAC Code and they’ll arrange for the transfer of your phone number (this will normally happen on the next working day).

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

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to LIFE Mobile

Your current network provider:

  More Options

Popularity & Number of Subscribers

LIFE Mobile was founded in 2013, originally as a part of Phones4u. In 2014, EE adopted LIFE Mobile as their new low-cost sub-brand. Today, it plays a similar role to O2’s giffgaff and Vodafone’s Talkmobile (both giffgaff and Talkmobile are also low-cost sub-brands using a different name).

At the time of its transfer to EE, LIFE Mobile had about 85,000 subscribers.

More Information

For more information, please see the official LIFE Mobile website. It’s also well worth reading the FAQs on their 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 29 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Michelle said:

    Do you know if you get charged for using emojis? Currently with ID mobile and they charge a picture message fee for any text that you send including an emoji

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for your comment. This is actually a general problem which applies to all mobile networks – some handsets will automatically convert your SMS message into a MMS picture message when you use an emoji. You should try and turn this off on your phone and then you won’t be charged for using emoji whichever network you’re on 🙂
      If you don’t do this, LIFE Mobile also has a charge for MMS (they’ll charge you 40p per picture message).

      1. Michelle replied:

        Thanks for that, how do you turn it off? I have an iPhone

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Michelle,
          I’d also recommend using an instant messaging app such as WhatsApp. If you’d like to prevent yourself from accidentally running up a large bill for emojis, you can disable MMS by going to Settings > Messages > MMS Messaging and changing the setting to ‘Off’.
          Hope this helps,

      2. Tania Morris replied:

        Re the problem with charging for picture messages and emojis in texts, try using Whatsapp. Not tried with an emoji but don’t get charged extra for picture messages.

  2. Mark said:

    After a lot of research I decided to take the plunge and sign up with Life. That was about a month ago, and I can say that I’ve had absolutely no problems. Switching my number over was done within a day and there was no interruption of service.
    Customer service is excellent, so is the signal and of course the price is amazing 🙂

    Anyone thinking of signing up… it !!

  3. Lewis said:

    Great budget SIM. My mum got this for me cos i’m a child and so far the Mini Tariff is really good! Reliable texts and call. Fast 3G internet…
    (Pun inteended)

  4. Stephen Shinwell said:

    After 18 years with Orange into the EE takeover..(now owned by BT of course) I finally left and took a punt on LIFE. I had read they were owned by EE and 3G suits my needs. I used the USWITCH exclusive offer of £5.95 for 1GB/1000mins/5000 Texts…and importantly, only tied into a rolling 30 day contract. Switch over was fine, porting number took about 2 days. I’ve phoned LIFE about 4 times. Each call was answered within 20 seconds from their call centre based on the Wirral near Liverpool. They speak English ( well kind of : )) and were friendly and sorted my query each time. How bloody refreshing is that. I’m just starting my 2nd 30 day contract. So from me it is a 100% thumbs up. We all complain on the net about bad service, contracts etc…So credit where it’s due to LIFE mobile. Couple of little things…1/ being in London the wifi link to the underground would be the cherry on the cake as they don’t offer that. There is no USAGE app as of yet to check your usage, but I believe these apps can be very slow with accurate info. You can check usage on your account online and I notice it gets updated within about half a day….and 3/ You have to enter user and password on your account every can’t be saved as far as I can see. Other than that, if 3G is all you require, they have been excellent.

  5. Mel said:

    Joined 4 days ago and service has been impeccable. Replies to questions made very quickly and old number ported within 24 hours. Great coverage and quick browsing. Some will experience glitches, but life (no pun) is like that.

  6. Jasper Soul said:

    Please stay away from these people. I got a pac code to port my number. They told me it would be done in 48 hours .. They turned the original phone number off 2 days ago now is day 5 still they haven’t done anything I can’t use my phone . There is no customer service and the call handlers are rude. AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE.

    1. Bob Bennet replied:

      This is certainly not my experience of the Life customer service line.

      Ring them again on the 0800 number in Ken’s article. Then be nice and chatty like you would be if you were ringing your Mum. Explain the problem and they will move mountains in order to resolve the matter.

      If you get stroppy, they’ll just put you to the back of the queue while they deal with some nicer people. (This applies to almost all complaints to any supplier.)


      1. Bob Bennet replied:

        The Life free number is 0800 0791133 from any network.

    2. Jasper replied:

      It is day 6 I have tried to reason with them nobody at the company is competent enough to organise them selves to port the number. OnceI again i advice people to avoid this company. Web site said 1 day to port a number advisor 2 days supervisor said 5 days now it is 6 days. Can’t trust them

  7. Ps said:

    Hi Ken,

    Can you access to wi-fi on the underground using the LIFE sim as customers direct with EE?


    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Ps,
      As far as I know, LIFE Mobile customers don’t get access to wi-fi on the underground. On EE, you can only get it through the EE, Orange and T-Mobile brands. You can also get it from O2, Three, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone.
      Hope this helps,

  8. jennifer said:

    Hello , i want know something . if i buy a mobile phone with locked EE network , my sim Life mobile work in ?

    1. mal replied:

      my wifes phone is locked to ee and life mobile worked fine in it.

  9. Nigel said:

    A helpful article, thanks.

    One factor that might be sensible to research is whether network operators (virtual or otherwise) will allow people to pay for a temporary boost to their allowances. For example, as I have a good connection at home I don’t use much of my mobile data allowance. However, if there was a problem with my home network it helps to know if I can buy extra mobile data capacity for a short-term need. Life Mobile offers this (albeit only at 3G speeds, of course), and this is one of the factors that means I shall be moving to them. (The other factors include price, roaming, and – in case things turn out wrong – short contract terms so I can escape cheaply.)

  10. Tom said:

    Thanks for this article Ken – really helpful.

    Just a heads-up that USwitch are currently offering exclusive deals on Life Mobile – the Value (1GB) and Everyday (3GB) plans are discounted to £6 and £10 respectively which seems like fantastic value…

    1. Tania replied:

      Just taken up the Value option via Uswitch after 13 years with Virgin, they couldn’t match it as Virgin no longer give the huge loyalty discounts they used to. Porting my number today and had to ring them once so far, very clear explanation of how it works and no waiting.

  11. Alex said:

    Thanks for the article. What is the customer service of Life Mobile like? Are there long waits? Are they quick at sorting out problems?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Alex! Thanks for your comment. The general feedback I’ve had so far from other readers is the customer service is pretty good at LIFE Mobile (e.g. see here). They have UK-based call centres according to their website. Does anyone here have any further feedback on LIFE Mobile’s customer service they’re able to share?

      1. Humera replied:

        Hi, I’ve been with Life Mobile for 3 months now and have rang them quite a few times, there is absolutely no waiting times, just pick an option and you’re straight through to a UK based call centre. I ring them often as its quicker than logging in online to check my account 🙂

      2. Bob Bennet replied:

        I’ve been talking to them today, at some length, about trying to get delivery receipts for SMS messages. Instantly through to a chatty adviser, who you can also speak to again if you have cause to ring back. I signed up for the £6 switch deal and my only reservation is the delivery receipts. (I tried the o2 version of *0# before the message but that doesn’t work.)

        One point to clarify, they categorically told me they have no connection to EE other than to use their network. Certainly the EE computer doesn’t recognise my ‘Life’ number, and the EE help number of 150 doesn’t work either. ‘Life’s number is 500.

        1. Bob Bennet replied:

          Ownership of ‘Life’ – Correction:
          On the bottom of my initial invoice it says;

          “EE Limited (trading as LIFE Mobile) company registration number 02382161
          Registered Address: 1 Trident Place, Hatfield Business Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9BW”

          which if it’s not EE is clearly ‘Passing off’ as the lawyers would say.

    2. Quin replied:

      Hi Alex,

      I’ve been with them for nearly 2 years. Only had to call them a handful of times during this time including last week and have always been put through to a UK based advisor within seconds. Though this may change as Life Mobile becomes more popular!

  12. Noel said:

    Great article Ken very informative, Many Thanks

  13. Mark Quinn said:

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for such an informative article and website as a whole.


  14. jem said:

    Great article!

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