1p Mobile claims to offer 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 falling rapidly 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.
One of the latest offerings in the Pay As You Go arena is 1p Mobile: a relatively new Pay As You Go network that launched in September 2016. The network promises “greater flexibility” compared to other Pay As You Go deals and offers an eye-catching tariff of 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB. They also offer Data Boost bundles from £4/month. An important requirement of using 1pMobile is that customers are required to top-up their phone at least once every 120 days.
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
1p Mobile’s namesake is their Pay As You Go tariff, where customers pay just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB for usage in the UK. Compared to most of the big name providers, this makes 1p Mobile a significant cheaper network (especially so for customers making a phone call on Pay As You Go).
The following table shows a list of 1pMobile’s rates in the UK:
|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
|Text Message (SMS)||1p|
|Picture Message (MMS)||30p|
|3G & 4G Internet||1p/MB (or buy a 30-day Data Boost)|
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 feature which will add credit to your account every time your balance drops below £2 or if 120 days have passed since your last top-up.
For smartphone owners who regularly use the internet on their handset, 1p Mobile offers a range of Data Boost bundles. These are 30-day packages, that are purchased from your credit, giving you a data allowance at up to 75% off the normal 1p/MB rate.
You can buy a Data Boost at any time using your Pay As You Go credit. However, it’s worth noting that unused data from the Boost will expire after 30 days. Therefore, light users who don’t need very much data may still be better off paying the normal 1p/MB rate instead of buying a Boost.
The following Data Boosts are currently available to buy from 1p Mobile:
|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)|
|10GB Data||£25/month||Up to 75% discount on standard price (£100)|
In practice, you’ll be better off buying a Data Boost if your average data consumption is more than 400MB per month (0.4GB per month). At this level, you’d be paying £4 for 400MB of data at normal Pay As You Go rates or you could buy a 500MB Data Boost for the same price.
If you were to use up the entirety of your Data Boost allowance, further usage will be charged at the normal 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
One important thing to be aware of when 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 lost at the same time. The minimum amount you can top-up is £10 each time, equating to at least £30 of top-ups over a year.
Beyond this, there are 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 feature to ensure 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 instance, 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 only planning to use a 1p Mobile SIM card in a spare or emergency handset, the requirement to top-up every 120 days can 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 includes the use of Pay As You Go credit that’s already on your account).
For customers who want the ability to choose their own custom phone number, 1pMobile offers a choice of paid-for memorable phone numbers. The memorable numbers all begin with 07434 and are split into five different price ranges according to how memorable they are:
- £75 for a platinum number
- £50 for a gold number
- £25 for a silver number
- £10 for a bronze number
- £2 for a regular number
You can search the list of memorable numbers on the 1pMobile website.
Of course, you can always join 1pMobile without paying for a memorable phone number (in this case, you’ll be assigned a phone number automatically by them for free). You can also keep your existing phone number for free if you’re moving from another network by following the PAC Code number transfer process.
Comparison to Alternatives
At present, 1p Mobile has the lowest per-minute and per-text rates of any Pay As You Go network in the UK. They also have the joint-lowest per-megabyte rate, along by two other networks: Three and iD Mobile.
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 can potentially better suit some 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), O2 Classic Pay As You Go (5p/minute, 5p/text and 5p/MB) and ASDA Mobile (8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB).
If you’re a smartphone owner or regular mobile user, it may be worth instead considering getting a Pay As You Go bundle. Numerous bundles are available from £5/month, including some of the following:
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 (MVNO), 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:
For more information on how to compare coverage between different mobile networks, please see our full guide to mobile phone coverage in the UK.
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
- Type: CHAP
For more information, please see the help documentation on the 1pMobile website.
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 1p Mobile, tethering is permitted without any restrictions. You’ll pay the normal rate for all data used through the 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 when tethering from 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.
On 1pMobile, it’s possible to continue using your phone when you travel abroad. To do this, you’ll need to enable both international calling and international roaming in your 1pMobile account settings. This can be done by logging in to the 1pMobile website and checking both of these options within the “Network settings” section.
When travelling inside of Europe, you’ll benefit from roam-like-home (European roaming at no extra charge). This means you’ll just continue to pay the normal UK rates (1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB) when abroad. You can also use your Data Boost allowance at no extra charge when travelling in Europe (up to a maximum of 6.4GB/month if you buy the 10GB Data Boost).
When travelling outside of Europe, roaming fees will be substantially higher than the normal 1p rate in the UK and Europe.
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 mobile 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:
1pMobile is one of the UK’s newest mobile phone networks, having launched to consumers 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 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 one year.
For more information about 1pMobile, please see their official website.