Tesco Mobile Xtras: £3/month off your bill for viewing adverts on your phone

July 20th, 2016

Tesco Mobile offers an Xtras application which gives you a £3/month discount for viewing adverts on your Android smartphone.

Tesco Mobile Xtras Logo With BadgeTesco Mobile has launched a new Xtras application for customers using Tesco Mobile Pay Monthly and SIM-only. For customers with a compatible Android smartphone, it gives you a £3 monthly discount on your bill for viewing adverts on your smartphone. You’ll also get 200MB of additional data which is supposed to cover data usage by the application.

Unfortunately, we believe the Xtras application is fairly intrusive and it will typically show you adverts about 60 times per day. It’s also worth considering the privacy implications. For instance, your GPS location will be shared with the app and will be used to show you geographically-targeted adverts.

In this article, we’ll review the Tesco Mobile Xtras application. We’ll also look at the tariffs and smartphones you’re able to use it with, and whether you can find an alternative deal with less hassle on other mobile networks.

Tesco Mobile Xtras: How It Works

If you’re a Tesco Mobile customer on either a Pay Monthly contract or on a SIM-only deal, you can now access a £3/month discount on your Tesco Mobile bill by opting-in and installing the Xtras application.

Advertising

Tesco Mobile Xtras - How It Works

A full-screen advert will pop-up on your phone about 60 times per day on average.

The first of its kind in the UK, the Xtras application will essentially pay you for viewing adverts on your smartphone.

With the Xtras app installed, you’ll get full-screen adverts which will pop-up on your phone after you unlock it. They can include text, images and animation but Tesco says video advertisements are out-of-bounds. To continue using the apps on your handset, you’ll need to dismiss the advert by clicking the ‘Close’ button in the top-right corner of your screen.

In theory, an advert will pop-up on your phone every two to three times you unlock your handset. According to Tesco, “over a whole day, you’ll see ads, offers and content around 60 times. The average phone user unlocks their phone around 150 times a day”. However, feedback from some users of the application say the adverts can sometimes pop-up even more frequently than this (e.g. once every time you unlock your phone).

One issue with the application is that adverts can sometimes take a little bit of time to load (around 3-5 seconds depending on your network connection). This can sometimes lead to a frustrating experience. For example, you might see a blank screen until the advert fully loads. Alternatively, you might be able to start using your phone (e.g. to write a text message) and the advert will then later pop-up over your application. It’s experiences like this that have given poor reviews to the application (the app has an average rating on Google Play of only 2.9 out of 5).

Your smartphone will need to run on Android 4.0 or later to use the Xtras application. Tesco Mobile Xtras is not compatible with the iPhone or other smartphones.

Tesco Mobile Xtras - Step By Step

Privacy

UK

The Xtras app will track your location and send you geographically targeted ads.

Another thing to be aware of is the potential privacy implications of using the service. The privacy policy for the Xtras app is well worth a read – particularly the sections on “Information you allow us to collect or provide” and “Information automatically collected”. For instance, there is a mention of how the app collects your location information (e.g. via GPS). This is used to show you geographically-targeted adverts:

If you tell us where you are (e.g., by allowing your mobile device to send us your location), we may collect and use that information to provide geographically relevant ads and offers. If you would like to deactivate this feature, you can disable location services on your device at any time

Advertisments will also be targeted based on your age, gender, interests and other demographical information.

Phone Bill Discount

Tesco Mobile Xtras £3 Discount

You’ll receive a £3 monthly discount when you use the app for at least 21 days per month.

To qualify for the £3 monthly discount, you’ll need to have the Xtras app installed and switched on for at least 21 days of the billing month. On each of those 21 days, you’ll need to see “at least one ad, offer or piece of content” through the app. The 200MB of additional data will also only be awarded when you fulfil these conditions.

You can join or leave the Tesco Mobile Xtras service at any time. Tesco Mobile has also reserved the right to terminate the service and discount at any time. From the small print on their website:

The Xtras app and discount is not guaranteed over your contract term and Tesco Mobile reserves the right to discontinue the Xtras app and discount at any time.

If you have an Anytime Upgrade contract, the £3/month discount is taken from your Usage payment. For more information, please see the Tesco Mobile Xtras FAQs.

Our Verdict

Given the number of adverts you’ll typically see each day and given the slow loading times you’ll sometimes get with an advert, we personally believe this a highly intrusive experience and would not currently recommend using the Xtras application.

According to Tesco Mobile’s own figures, you’ll see an average of 60 adverts per day with the application. Over a month of usage, this adds up to about 1,800 adverts. Assuming each advert takes about 15 seconds to view and dismiss, this adds up to something like 7.5 hours of wasted time every month with adverts. Combined with the potential privacy implications regarding your location, we believe this is a big price to pay for a £3/month discount.

Tariffs & Pricing

The Tesco Mobile Xtras application is currently available on Pay Monthly and SIM-only contracts.

Pay Monthly Phones

Moto G4If you’d like a brand new smartphone on which you’re able to take advantage of the Xtras offer, Tesco Mobile has a page on their website where you’re able to see a list of all compatible handsets.

At the time of writing, Tesco Mobile provides a choice of 26 Android smartphones that are compatible with Xtras. They include handsets from Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG and Motorola. The cheapest available handset currently starts at £7.50/month on a 24-month contract (you could bring this down to as little as £4.50/month if you were to use the Xtras application).

View Android smartphones with Tesco Mobile Xtras »

Unfortunately, Tesco Mobile Xtras is not compatible with the iPhone.

SIM Only

Tesco Mobile SIM CardIf you’re happy to keep your existing smartphone, you can benefit from Xtras on one of Tesco Mobile’s SIM-only deals. You’ll get a Tesco Mobile SIM card that slots into your existing unlocked smartphone (for more information, see our guide to unlocking your Samsung Galaxy handset). You’ll need to make sure yourself that your phone is compatible with the Xtras app (it will need to run on Android 4.0 or later).

The following table shows the SIM-only deals available from Tesco Mobile. For illustration, we’ve applied the £3/month discount for using the Xtras application. We’ve also added the 200MB of additional data you’d get for using the application. If you don’t qualify for the Xtras discount, you won’t receive the £3/month off or the 200MB of additional data.

12 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile2505,0001.2GB
inc. 200MB
£4.50
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile5005,0002.2GB
inc. 200MB
£7.00
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile1,0005,000700MB
inc. 200MB
£7.00
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile2505,0004.2GB
inc. 200MB
£8.00
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile5005,0002.2GB
inc. 200MB
£9.50
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0001.2GB
inc. 200MB
£9.50
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile3,0005,0002.2GB
inc. 200MB
£12.00
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0003.2GB
inc. 200MB
£14.50
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile7505,00020.2GB
inc. 200MB
£17.00
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0006.2GB
inc. 200MB
£19.50
inc. £3 discount

1 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile5005,000700MB
inc. 200MB
£7.00
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile5005,0001.2GB
inc. 200MB
£9.50
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile1,5005,0001.2GB
inc. 200MB
£12.00
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile3,0005,0002.2GB
inc. 200MB
£14.50
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0003.2GB
inc. 200MB
£17.00
inc. £3 discount
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0006.2GB
inc. 200MB
£22.00
inc. £3 discount

Pay As You Go

Unfortunately, the Xtras application is not currently available to Tesco Mobile Pay As You Go customers.

Comparison To Alternatives

SIM cardThe £3/month Xtras discount helps to make Tesco Mobile a more competitive network in terms on price. However, given the hassle associated with using the application, you’ll often be better off choosing another network that has lower prices to begin with.

In the following section, we illustrate how Tesco Mobile compares to other mobile networks assuming you have the £3/month discount loaded on from the Xtras application. We’ve shown the comparison for Tesco Mobile’s SIM-only deals.

With 1GB of Internet

If you’re looking for 1GB of data per month, Tesco Mobile currently has the cheapest available deal when you load on the £3/month discount from the Xtras application. However, for about 50p more, you can get similar deals on Talkmobile and LIFE Mobile which won’t require you to view adverts on your phone.

12 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile2505,0001.2GB
inc. 200MB
£4.50
inc. £3 discount
Talkmobile1,0005,0002GB£7.50
Three600Unlimited1GB£9.00
EE1,000Unlimited1GB£14.99
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£15.00
BT Mobile500Unlimited4GB£15.00
O21,000Unlimited1GB£15.00

1 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Talkmobile5005,0001GB£7.50
Virgin Mobile1,500Unlimited1GB£9.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0001.2GB
inc. 200MB
£9.50
inc. £3 discount
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£10.00
giffgaff500Unlimited1GB£10.00
Three600Unlimited1GB£12.00
Vodafone1,000Unlimited1GB£17.00
O21,000Unlimited1GB£17.00

With 2GB of Internet

Tesco Mobile has the cheapest available deal for 2GB of data when you use the Xtras application (you would only need to pay £8/month if you had the Xtras discount). On rival mobile networks, you can get 2GB of data for about £10/month without the need to view adverts:

12 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile5005,0002.2GB
inc. 200MB
£7.00
inc. £3 discount
Talkmobile1,0005,0002GB£7.50
Three200Unlimited2GB£10.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£15.00
BT Mobile500Unlimited4GB£15.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£17.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£18.00

1 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£10.00
Talkmobile1,5005,0004GB£10.00
Virgin Mobile2,500Unlimited2GB£12.00
giffgaff500Unlimited2GB£12.00
Three200Unlimited2GB£13.00
Tesco Mobile3,0005,0002.2GB
inc. 200MB
£14.50
inc. £3 discount
Vodafone500Unlimited5GB£19.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£20.00

With 4GB of Internet

If you’re a heavy data user requiring at least 4GB of data per month, much better deals are available elsewhere. They’ll allow you to benefit from a lower monthly price without any need to view adverts on your smartphone:

12 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile2505,0004.2GB
inc. 200MB
£8.00
inc. £3 discount
Talkmobile5,0005,00015GB£15.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£15.00
Three600Unlimited4GB£15.00
BT Mobile500Unlimited4GB£15.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£19.99
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£20.00

1 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£10.00
Talkmobile1,5005,0004GB£10.00
Virgin Mobile2,500Unlimited4GB£15.00
giffgaff1,000Unlimited4GB£15.00
Three600Unlimited4GB£18.00
Vodafone500Unlimited5GB£19.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,0006.2GB
inc. 200MB
£22.00
inc. £3 discount
O2UnlimitedUnlimited4GB£24.00

For more information, see our in-depth comparison of SIM-only deals in the UK.

Keeping Your Phone Number

Transfer Phone Number to Tesco

It’s a straightforward process to transfer your phone number to Tesco Mobile.

If you’re joining Tesco Mobile to take advantage of the Xtras offer, it’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number.

To begin the process of moving your number to Tesco Mobile, contact your old mobile network and ask them for a PAC Code. This will authorise the transfer of your phone number to Tesco Mobile. It’s a legal requirement for your current mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code within two hours of your request.

Once you have the PAC Code from your old network, you should order your new phone or SIM card from the Tesco Mobile website. Before ordering, you should make your handset is compatible with the Xtras application (it will need to run Android 4.0 or later).

Once your new phone or SIM card arrives, you can submit your PAC Code through this form on Tesco Mobile’s website. Your phone number will then be transferred to Tesco Mobile (normally on the next working day).

For step-by-step instructions on moving your phone number to Tesco Mobile, please select your current mobile network:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Tesco Mobile

Your current network provider:

  More Options

For more information about transferring your phone number between networks, see our in-depth guide to using a PAC Code.

More Information

For more information about the Xtras application, please see the Tesco Mobile 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 2 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Dennis said:

    agree with the comments that it is very intrusive. Have removed the app but still receive messages from Unlockd which do not display. Any ideas as to how to block this would be appreciated.

  2. Phil said:

    Many thanks for the above review! Very helpful.

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