Plusnet Mobile, previously known as LIFE Mobile, is a low-cost 4G network with SIM-only plans from £5/month.
In the UK, Plusnet Mobile offers SIM-only plans from £5/month, with high-speed 3G and 4G coverage from the EE network. Key features include ‘Smart Cap’ which limits out-of-allowance charges and ‘Mates Rates’ which will double your data allowance if you have Plusnet Home Broadband.
Plusnet Mobile is the replacement for LIFE Mobile so existing customers on LIFE Mobile will see their service transitioning to Plusnet. An upgrade to one of the new Plusnet Mobile plans is required to access 4G coverage.
In this article, we’ll review the Plusnet Mobile service. We’ll start by looking at the price plans available on Plusnet Mobile and how they compare to offerings from other mobile networks. We’ll then discuss how to use your handset on Plusnet Mobile, the level of coverage you can expect and how to keep your current phone number.
- 1 Pricing & Tariffs
- 2 Comparison to Alternatives
- 3 Handsets
- 4 Network & Coverage
- 5 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 6 LIFE Mobile Customers
- 7 More Information
Pricing & Tariffs
SIM Only Plans
Plusnet Mobile currently offers a choice of four SIM-only plans. Each of them is on a 30-day rolling contract so you always have ultimate flexibility and are never tied in to any lengthy contracts.
You’ll be able to use the Plusnet Mobile SIM card in any unlocked smartphone.
Mates Rates: Double Data
If you’re also a customer of Plusnet home broadband, you’ll be able to benefit from the Mates Rates special offer on up to 5 SIM cards. This will give you double data on Plusnet Mobile plans for as long as you have Plusnet home broadband.
If you’re not currently a Plusnet home broadband customer, you can see the Plusnet website for information about their home broadband service. Their cheapest home broadband package starts from £20/month including line rental.
The Mates Rates offer is not available on any of the introductory deals offered by Plusnet Mobile.
A key part of the Plusnet Mobile service is the Smart Cap feature which gives you greater control over your spending.
With Smart Cap, you’re able to specify a small buffer over which your out-of-allowance charges can’t exceed. For instance, if you had a £5/month SIM card with a £2 Smart Cap, your bill would be guaranteed not to exceed £7/month. The aim of this is to put a stop to unexpected phone bills (this also makes it ideal if you’re giving the SIM card to your children).
By default, the Smart Cap is set to £10. However, you can call Plusnet Mobile customer services to change this to any amount of £2 or more (subject to credit status).
Smart Cap was a popular feature of the LIFE Mobile service which has now been inherited by Plusnet Mobile on their new plans. Several other mobile networks now also offer a similar capability for you to cap additional charges on your price plan.
If you’d like to customise your Plusnet Mobile plan, a range of flexible bolt-ons are also available. These can be added to your basic tariff. For instance, an extra £4/month would allow you to add either 250 minutes, 500 texts or 500MB of data.
The following table shows available bolt-ons from Plusnet Mobile:
In general, we’d typically advise against buying a bolt-on from Plusnet Mobile. You’ll almost certainly be better served by upgrading to a higher-priced plan (e.g. the £15/month plan with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data).
Comparison to Alternatives
Plusnet’s entry-level mobile tariff costs £5/month for 250 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of data. In general, the 500MB plan compares incredibly well to rival mobile networks. On other mobile networks, you’ll typically need to pay at least £7/month for 500MB of data.
If you’re living in a BT Broadband household, it may also be worth considering BT’s 500MB plan as an alternative. This also costs £5/month but comes on a longer 12-month contract. However, it can sometimes work out to be better value as BT sometimes provides an offer or some free vouchers.
inc. £5 discount
As the £5 plan already includes double data, it isn’t possible to use the Mates Rates offer.
For £7.50/month, Plusnet Mobile offers 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet (boosted to 2GB per month if you’re a Plusnet home broadband customer). On other major mobile networks, you’d typically need to pay at least £9/month for 1GB of data.
The following table shows comparable SIM-only plans with at least 1GB of data per month:
inc. £5 discount
For £10/month, Plusnet Mobile is currently offering 1500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet (boosted to 4GB per month if you’re a Plusnet home broadband customer). For a limited time only, all customers will receive double data (so 4GB per month rather than 2GB per month).
For the same monthly price of £10/month, BT Mobile and Three also offer 2GB of data. Both plans come on a 12-month contract and come with fewer inclusive minutes each month.
The following table shows SIM-only plans with at least 4GB of data per month:
inc. £5 discount
Plusnet Mobile’s flagship tariff is currently their £15/month plan with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of internet (boosted to 8GB per month with Mates Rates if you’re a Plusnet home broadband customer).
The following table shows how their 4GB plan compares to the deals currently available on other mobile networks:
inc. £5 discount
For more information and for a full in-depth comparison, please see our guide to the UK’s best value SIM-only plans.
Plusnet Mobile is a SIM-only mobile network so you’ll need to provide your own unlocked handset to use with the service. This can either be your existing handset or it can be a new handset that you’ve purchased SIM-free.
If you’d like to use your existing smartphone and it was originally provided by another mobile network, it might be necessary to first unlock it. We’ve got a step-by-step guide to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy.
If you’re planning to buy a brand new smartphone, numerous retailers currently sell SIM-free smartphones. These are provided unlocked for use on any mobile network. Some popular retailers for buying a SIM-free smartphone include Amazon.co.uk, Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Tesco Direct. If you’re not sure on which smartphone to buy, our recommended smartphone at present is the Moto G4 (it starts from £149 unlocked with some competitive specifications).
Network & Coverage
2G, 3G & 4G Coverage from EE
Customers on Plusnet Mobile will have access to 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from EE. This represents 99% population coverage, with 97% coverage on 4G.
Before signing up for the Plusnet Mobile service, we strongly recommend you check the coverage in your area. You can do this through the Plusnet Mobile website: just enter your postcode on their online coverage map.
Plusnet is a fully-owned subsidiary of BT, who also own and operate the EE mobile network. The launch of Plusnet Mobile is a part of BT’s multi-brand mobile strategy (BT also offers a mobile phone service through the EE and BT Mobile brands).
LIFE Mobile Customers
If you originally signed up to the LIFE Mobile service before the 29th November 2016, you’ll only have access to 2G and 3G coverage from EE. To access the higher download speeds available on 4G, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the 4G-enabled Plusnet Mobile plans.
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). This is a useful feature when you need to access the internet on-the-go from other devices (e.g. if you’re working on your laptop and if free wi-fi isn’t available).
On Plusnet Mobile, tethering is permitted on all of their tariffs. Any use of tethering or portable hotspot simply comes out of your inclusive data allowance.
Many other low-cost mobile networks don’t allow tethering on their network. For more information, please see our in-depth guide to tethering on UK mobile networks.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re switching from another mobile network to Plusnet Mobile, it’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number.
When your new SIM card arrives from Plusnet Mobile, you should contact Plusnet Mobile Customer Services to give them your PAC Code. You can do this by calling 0800 0791133 or 500 on your Plusnet Mobile handset. Once you’ve given your PAC Code to Plusnet, they’ll arrange the transfer of your phone number (this normally happens on the next working day).
For a step-by-step guide on moving your number to Plusnet Mobile, please select your current mobile network from the drop down menu below:
If you’re also joining Plusnet Home Broadband, a different process applies for transferring your landline phone number.
LIFE Mobile Customers
If you were previously a LIFE Mobile customer, you’ll have been transitioned automatically to the Plusnet Mobile brand on the 29th November 2016. From this date onwards, you’ll see “Plusnet” being displayed as the network name on your handset. You’ll also receive your bills from Plusnet rather than LIFE Mobile.
There is no need to replace your SIM card or to manually transfer your phone number: everything should have been handled automatically by Plusnet.
By default, there will be no automatic changes to your price plan and you’ll stay on your existing LIFE Mobile 3G-only price plan. If you’d like to upgrade to get faster 4G download speeds, you’ll need to change to one of the new Plusnet Mobile 4G price plans.
For more information, please see the official Plusnet Mobile website.