SMARTY is a low-cost mobile network offering a range of Mini, Data Discount and Unlimited SIM card deals.
In the UK, SMARTY is a low-cost mobile network, offering SIM-only deals with coverage from Three.
At present, SMARTY Mobile offers a choice of five plans. For light users, the £5/month Mini plan gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. For regular users, there are three data discount plans (£7.50 for 2GB, £10 for 4GB, or £15 for 8GB of data). Customers will receive a data discount every month of £1.25 for every gigabyte of unused data. Finally, a £25/month unlimited data plan is available for heavy users on SMARTY (currently discounted to £18.75/month).
In this article, we’ll review the SMARTY mobile network, starting with their line-up of SIM-only plans. We’ll then compare SMARTY’s deals to rival mobile networks like giffgaff, before looking at the level of coverage you can expect and how to keep your existing phone number.
- 1 Pricing & Bundles
- 2 Comparison to Alternatives
- 3 Handsets
- 4 Network & Coverage
- 5 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 6 More Information
Pricing & Bundles
SIM Only Plans
SMARTY offers a choice of five SIM-only plans: the entry-level ‘mini’ plan, three ‘data discount’ plans and one ‘unlimited’ plan. All of the SIM-only plans come on a one-month rolling basis with 3G & 4G coverage from the Three network:
If you choose the £5/month Mini plan, you’ll get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. Additional usage will then cost you £1.25 per gigabyte.
On the three data discount plans (Small, Medium & Large), the tariff is structured in such a way that you’ll pay a base fee of £5/month for unlimited calls and unlimited texts. On top of this, you’ll then pay a flat rate of £1.25 per gigabyte of data regardless of which data discount plan you choose.
Finally, if you choose the unlimited data plan, you’ll pay £18.75/month for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data. There are no additional charges for using too much data, but at the same time there are also no discounts available for unused data.
There’s no need to undergo a credit check on SMARTY, as all of the plans work on a pre-paid basis. You’ll pay for your plan in advance using a registered credit card or debit card, with the top-up being converted automatically into a one-month plan.
Extra Small Plan
From December 2018 to September 2019, SMARTY offered a £6.25/month Extra-Small plan. This came with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data. The Extra-Small plan is no longer available to new customers. However, it’s possible to sign up for the £7.50 Small plan and to receive a £1.25 discount for each gigabyte of unused data. This means you’ll continue to pay the same £6.25/month for 1GB of data.
Unused Data Discount
One of SMARTY’s unique selling points is their “unused data discount” on the Small, Medium and Large price plans. This gives you a cash discount on the following month’s plan based on data that remains unused at the end of your current month’s plan. This discount is offered at a rate of £1.25 per gigabyte, and means you’ll pay the exact same amount regardless of which plan you choose.
For instance, taking an example customer who uses 1.6GB of data per month, the actual price paid will always be £7/month. This is regardless of which plan you choose:
|SMARTY Base Plan||Actual Data Use||Unused Data||Unused Data Discount||Your Following Month’s Plan|
2GB @ £7.50
(2GB – 1.6GB = 0.4GB)
(0.4GB x £1.25 = 50p)
|£7 for 2GB
(£7.50 less 50p discount)
4GB @ £10
(4GB – 1.6GB = 2.4GB)
(2.4GB x £1.25 = £3)
|£7 for 4GB
(£10 less £3 discount)
8GB @ £15
(8GB – 1.6GB = 6.4GB)
(6.4GB x £1.25 = £8)
|£7 for 8GB
(£15 less £8 discount)
Because of how this pricing structure works, it can often be advantageous to choose a larger plan. This is especially the case if you’re not sure how much data you need to use each month. Because of the unused data discount, you’ll only ever pay for what you actually use (but you’ll have more flexibility on the larger plans).
The unused data discount is calculated based on the number of megabytes you have remaining unused at the end of the month (1MB = 0.001GB). This means you’ll receive a discount for the exact amount of data you have remaining unused, rather than only in gigabyte increments.
The unused data discount is only available on the Small, Medium and Large data discount plans. If you’re on the Mini or Unlimited data plans, you won’t be eligible to receive a data discount.
As of September 2019, SMARTY says their customers have earned data discounts of more than £1.2million.
Pay As You Go Rates
All of SMARTY’s plans include unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and an allowance of data that can be used in the UK and when travelling in Europe. The inclusive minutes can be used for calling UK landlines and mobiles (that’s most phone numbers beginning with 01, 02, 03 and 07).
For everything else that’s not included in your allowance, you’ll need to top-up your SMARTY account with a cash add-on. This can then be used to pay for your out-of-allowance usage:
|Calls to UK landline & mobile||Included with base plan|
|Calls to Voicemail||Included with base plan|
|Calls to International Numbers||3p/minute to £2/minute|
|Calls to Special Rate Numbers||3p/minute access charge
+ service charge from the company you’re calling
|Text Message (SMS)||Included with base plan|
|Picture Message (MMS)||Included with base plan|
It’s not possible to use SMARTY on a purely Pay As You Go basis. You’ll need to maintain an active plan at all times for you to be able to make and receive phone calls.
Comparison to Alternatives
SMARTY’s entry-level Mini price plan costs £5 per month for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. This is a fairly competitive price plan for light mobile users, especially as you’re getting unlimited calls with your plan:
For £7.50/month, SMARTY offers the Small price plan with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data. This is comparable to what you’ll get on a few other mobile networks, but you also have the added benefit of an unused data discount.
To give a comparison, giffgaff’s most similar price plan is the £8 goodybag. For £8/month (50p more than SMARTY), you’ll get 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data. You also won’t be able to benefit from SMARTY’s unused data discount on other networks.
SMARTY’s £7.50 Small price plan compares as follows to rival mobile networks:
|To show you the most relevant price plans, 4 similar plans have been hidden. Tap here to show them.|
SMARTY’s £10/month Medium plan comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data. Other mobile networks can often beat this, offering more data for the same price.
The following table shows comparable SIM-only deals around the £10 per month price point:
|To show you the most relevant price plans, 1 similar plans have been hidden. Tap here to show them.|
SMARTY’s £15 Large plan comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 8GB of data.
Again, this tends not to be very competitive at the £15/month price point. For instance, you can normally get 15GB of data per month on the SIM cards from giffgaff and VOXI. You won’t, however, be able to benefit from SMARTY’s unused data discount.
SMARTY’s £15 plan compares as follows to rival mobile networks:
|To show you the most relevant price plans, 1 similar plans have been hidden. Tap here to show them.|
SMARTY is one of six UK mobile networks to offer an unlimited data plan. The following table shows how SMARTY’s unlimited data plan compares against rival offerings from EE, giffgaff, Three, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile:
|To show you the most relevant price plans, 14 similar plans have been hidden. Tap here to show them.|
For more information about the fair usage policies that apply on each network, see our full guide to unlimited data plans in the UK. You can also read our in-depth reviews of unlimited data on EE, giffgaff, Three and Vodafone.
SMARTY is a SIM-only mobile network, so you’ll need to provide your own unlocked handset to use with the service. You can use any compatible 3G or 4G smartphone, including your existing mobile phone or one that you’ve purchased SIM-free.
If you’re planning to use your existing smartphone, it might be necessary for you to first unlock it before using it on SMARTY. For more information, see our step-by-step guides to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
If you’re looking to buy a new unlocked smartphone, there are a number of online retailers where you can buy a SIM-free smartphone.
Network & Coverage
3G & 4G Coverage from Three
SMARTY is a low-cost sub-brand of Three. As Three provides all of the underlying coverage for SMARTY, customers will receive the exact same coverage as they would on Three.
At the time of writing, SMARTY offers 98.7% population coverage on 3G and 99.8% population coverage on 4G. You can check the coverage in your area by entering your postcode on SMARTY’s online coverage map:
Like Three, and like all other mobile networks using coverage from Three, SMARTY doesn’t provide any 2G coverage. This means a SMARTY SIM card will not work in a 2G-only handset. You may also have limited functionality when using a SMARTY SIM card in some dual-SIM smartphones.
At present, 5G coverage is not available to customers on SMARTY. However, they’ve announced that 5G is coming soon to the network.
Like their 3G and 4G coverage, SMARTY will also be using Three’s network for their 5G coverage. At present, Three offers 5G coverage in the following UK towns and cities:
|Now Live||1 towns and cities are live on Three 5G (October 2019)|
|24 towns and cities planned|
Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland, Wolverhampton (End of 2019)
For more information, see our guide to the 5G rollout in the UK.
Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with another device (e.g. with your laptop or tablet). It’s useful for getting a mobile broadband connection on the go: for instance, sending e-mails from your laptop or watching YouTube videos on your tablet.
SMARTY allows the use of both tethering and portable hotspot. This is confirmed in the SMARTY help centre:
You’re entitled to use your data however you like, no matter which of the SMARTY plans you’re on, so you can tether and use your phone as a mobile hot spot with your full allowance if you want to.
The only exception to this is the Unlimited plan and if you’re roaming, where you’ll be limited to 19GB.
For more information, see our in-depth guide to tethering on UK mobile networks.
On SMARTY, it’s possible to use your mobile phone abroad through the international roaming service.
Within Europe, you can use your SMARTY plan allowances at no extra cost (capped at 19GB of data per month if you’re on the Unlimited plan).
Outside of Europe, you’ll need to top-up your account with a cash add-on. You’ll then pay SMARTY’s international roaming rates.
Between September 2017 and July 2018, international roaming was not available to customers on SMARTY. If you joined the SMARTY network before July 2018, you’ll need to make a change to your mobile phone settings to use your SIM card abroad.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’d like to keep your existing phone number when moving to SMARTY, it’s a straightforward process to transfer it from your old mobile network.
To do so, start off by ordering a SIM card from SMARTY. It will come with a temporary phone number, allowing you to test out SMARTY’s service before moving your phone number over.
Once you’ve ordered your SIM card, ask your old mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code. This can be obtained either online or by text message, and you should normally get the PAC Code within 60 seconds of your request.
When your SMARTY SIM card arrives in the post, pop it inside your phone and activate the service. You can then log in to your SMARTY account dashboard to provide your PAC Code and to have your phone number moved over.
For step-by-step instructions on how to move your phone number to Smarty, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:
For more information about transferring your phone number between networks, please see our guide to using a PAC Code.
For more information, please see the official SMARTY Mobile website.