TalkTalk offers low-cost mobile phone and SIM-only deals. The service is exclusive to customers who have TalkTalk home broadband.
TalkTalk currently offers 24-month contracts with a new handset included free of charge. They also have a number of SIM-only deals: an airtime-only package for customers wanting to keep their current handset. TalkTalk Mobile uses 2G and 3G coverage from the Vodafone network.
In this article, we review the TalkTalk Mobile service. We’ll look at the offerings from TalkTalk Mobile and the requirement to have TalkTalk Broadband at your home. We’ll also look at the coverage on TalkTalk and how you can keep an existing mobile number when moving to the network.
- 1 Pay Monthly With New Handset
- 2 SIM Only Deals
- 3 TalkTalk Home Broadband
- 4 Coverage & Network
- 5 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 6 Popularity & Number of Subscribers
- 7 More Information
TalkTalk currently has two types of tariff on their network.
For customers wanting a new smartphone, there’s a choice of Pay Monthly contracts where you get a new handset included in your tariff. Pay Monthly contracts are 24 months in length and start in price from £5/month.
For customers wanting to keep their current smartphone, TalkTalk also has a choice of SIM-only contracts. A SIM-only contract is designed to be used in your existing unlocked smartphone: tariffs start from only £5/month on a 30-day contract.
At present, TalkTalk Mobile doesn’t offer Pay As You Go or mobile broadband tariffs.
Pay Monthly With New Handset
Price Plans: S, M, L & XL
For customers wanting a new smartphone to go with their tariff, TalkTalk’s Pay Monthly plans are the most suitable option. There are currently four types of tariff with differing allowances. The tariffs are known as Small, Medium, Large and Extra-Large. Higher level tariffs include more data as well as additional minutes and unlimited texting.
In general, we’d typically recommend against choosing the cheapest tariff. The ‘Small’ tariff only includes 300MB of data every month (this is only really suitable for very occasional usage). A better option for the average smartphone user will be the 2GB/month ‘Large’ tariff. Customers mainly using wi-fi can save money on the ‘Medium’ tariff (1GB/month) whereas heavy users can upgrade their plan to ‘Extra Large’ (4GB/month).
Additional usage outside of your monthly allowances will cost 40p/minute, 15p/text and 15p/MB when you’re accessing the internet. Picture messages (MMS) are excluded from your allowance: they’ll cost you 35p each.
Finally, all phone calls within your household are totally free of charge (i.e. any calls between your TalkTalk mobile and a TalkTalk SIM card or TalkTalk landline linked to the same account). Phone calls within your household will not be charged to your monthly allowance.
Pay Monthly Handsets
The actual cost of your Pay Monthly contract will depend on the handset you order from TalkTalk.
At the time of writing, there’s a choice of 50 handsets on the TalkTalk Mobile website. They include the latest high-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy S6 (from £30/month) and the Sony Xperia Z5 (from £35/month). At the lower end of the price range, a number of handsets from Doro, Samsung, Huawei and LG are available on the network for only £5/month.
All handsets on the TalkTalk Mobile network are provided by the Carphone Warehouse. Uniquely, there’s never an upfront cost when buying a contract from TalkTalk Mobile (unlike other networks, you’ll only ever need to pay the monthly line rental).
Each household is allowed to have a maximum of two handsets on TalkTalk Pay Monthly. You can also add three additional SIM cards to give a maximum of five devices on the TalkTalk Mobile network.
Unfortunately, it’s not currently possible to buy an iPhone on TalkTalk Mobile. If you’d like to use the iPhone on TalkTalk Mobile, you’ll need to buy it SIM-free and unlocked. You can then use it on TalkTalk Mobile with a SIM-only contract.
Comparison To Rival Networks
As previously discussed, the cost of getting a contract on TalkTalk Mobile depends on the handset you choose to take with it.
At present, customers wanting a 32GB Galaxy S6 on TalkTalk Mobile are able to choose from the following tariffs:
|No tariffs could be found matching this criteria.|
In general, this is fairly competitive against the major networks. However, it won’t always be the cheapest available option.
The following table shows a price comparison for the Galaxy S6 on TalkTalk Mobile and on other networks. We’ve shown the cheapest available tariffs on each network for a user requiring 2GB of data every month:
|No tariffs could be found matching this criteria.|
For this reason, we would still recommend shopping around as other mobile networks can sometimes offer a cheaper deal.
SIM Only Deals
Overview of TalkTalk SIM Cards
For SIM only, TalkTalk currently offers a choice of 12-month and 30-day contracts.
When ordering your SIM card from TalkTalk, you’ll need to choose the right type of SIM card (either Standard SIM, Micro SIM or Nano SIM depending on your handset). You should also make sure your handset is unlocked (otherwise, it might not accept the SIM card from TalkTalk). For more information, you can see our step-by-step guides to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy handset.
Each household is permitted to have a maximum of three SIM cards from TalkTalk Mobile.
Plus TV: Free SIM Card with TalkTalk TV
Customers choosing a Plus TV package from TalkTalk will get a free SIM card included in their plan. The free SIM card includes 100 minutes, 250 texts and 200MB of data every month (it’ll normally cost £5/month on a 30-day contract). According to TalkTalk, the free SIM card is worth £90 (calculated as £5/month over a period of 18 months).
While the Plus TV SIM card is a nice bonus, our view is it’s not particularly suitable for use in a smartphone (the 200MB monthly data allowance is incredibly restricted and will typically be used up very quickly). If you’d like to use the tariff in a smartphone, it’s probably worth adding the £2.50/month Double Allowance Booster. This will upgrade your allowances to 200 minutes, 500 texts and 400MB of data per month. The Double Allowance Booster can be added and removed at any time.
The Plus TV SIM card counts as normal towards your limit of 3 SIM cards per household.
TalkTalk Home Broadband
Requirement to Have TalkTalk Broadband
The TalkTalk mobile service is exclusive to customers who have TalkTalk Broadband installed at their home.
Each household is allowed a maximum of five contracts on TalkTalk Mobile. Two of these can be Pay Monthly contracts with a new handset: the other three can be SIM only contracts.
From the terms and conditions of the TalkTalk Mobile service (see “the small print” at the bottom of the TalkTalk Mobile website):
Family members must each have a TalkTalk mobile package charged monthly and linked to the main residential fixed line account.
Each additional mobile service will be charged in full on the monthly bill. Households limited to no more than two handsets (incl. SIMs) and 3 individual SIMs.
Home Broadband & TV Packages
If you aren’t currently a TalkTalk home broadband customer, you’ll need to sign up for one of their broadband packages.
TalkTalk’s basic broadband package is their SimplyBroadband service. It’s £3.75/month for the first 18 months. You’ll also need to take landline rental from TalkTalk (£17.70/month). SimplyBroadband has unlimited downloads with a maximum download speed of 17Mbps. For faster home internet, you can upgrade to their Fibre Broadband service which give a maximum download speed of 76Mbps.
For quad-play (where you get home phone, home broadband, TV and mobile from the same company), TalkTalk currently offers the Essentials TV and the Plus TV packages. With Essentials TV, you get a YouView set-top box which gives you seven-day TV catch-up on demand. With Plus TV, there’s also the ability to record live television. There’s also additional channels from Sky including Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky Living and Sky Sports News. The Plus TV package also includes a free SIM card with 100 minutes, 250 texts and 200MB per month.
Cancelling Your Home Broadband
You can only sign up to TalkTalk Mobile if you have a TalkTalk Broadband connection at your home.
The requirement to have TalkTalk Home Broadband doesn’t preclude you from later cancelling your home broadband. If you were to change your home broadband to another provider, you’d still be able to keep your TalkTalk Mobile contract. The only thing you wouldn’t be able to do is to renew your contract at the end of its term.
For customers who have an All-in SIM card, special rules apply when cancelling your home broadband. For customers who change their broadband provider, the All-in SIM card will double in price from £12/month to £24/month. Your allowances will also be reduced to 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of 3G internet.
The exact rules about cancelling your home broadband connection can be seen in clause 2.5 of the TalkTalk Mobile service agreement:
2.5 To become a customer of the Mobile Services, you must be an existing customer of TalkTalk or AOL TalkTalk for fixed line services (line rental, calls and / or broadband). Our Mobile Service Plans are provided to TalkTalk customers with a built in discount for purchasing our fixed line services. As such, all TalkTalk customers who sign up and take our Mobile Services from 1 March 2013 must also remain a customer of TalkTalk for fixed line services at all times to continue to be eligible to receive our Mobile Service Plan at the same discounted price. For any of such customers who subsequently cease to take our fixed line services, but wish to continue to take our Mobile Services, we reserve the right to remove the discount from your Mobile Services Plan and transfer you to our standard rate from the date you cease to be a fixed line services customer. For pricing details please visit talktalk.co.uk/mobilepricing. Please note that if you are still in a minimum contract period for your Mobile Services Plan at the time you cease to take our fixed line services and you also wish to cancel that Mobile Services Plan at the same time, you must pay the applicable early cancellation charge which will be calculated at the existing rate of your plan before removal of the discount. If you leave our fixed line services and transfer to the standard rate for your Mobile Services Plan and then later decide to cancel your Mobile Services Plan before the end of your minimum contract period, your cancellation charge will be calculated by reference to our standard rate and not the discounted rate.
Coverage & Network
2G & 3G Connectivity
TalkTalk provides 99% population coverage for their mobile service. They’re using Vodafone as a network coverage provider. Customers using TalkTalk Mobile will get the same coverage as customers on Vodafone.
Before signing up to TalkTalk Mobile, we strongly recommend checking the coverage for your area online. You can do this on the TalkTalk Mobile website:
At present, the coverage on TalkTalk is limited to 2G and 3G.
4G Connectivity & Move to O2
In November 2014, TalkTalk signed an agreement to use O2 as their network coverage provider. As part of the forthcoming transition, customers on TalkTalk will gain access to the O2 4G network.
It’s not currently known when the transition to O2 will occur. It’s also unknown how existing customers will be affected by the transfer.
Tethering or portable wi-fi hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (e.g. a laptop or a tablet). Typically, the tethering feature is used to gain access to mobile broadband on-the-go from other devices.
In general, tethering is permitted on TalkTalk Mobile. There are no additional charges for using the feature: any data included in your tariff can be used as normal when tethered to other devices. The one exception is with the £12/month All-in SIM card. The terms and conditions of the All-in SIM card specifically prohibit tethering on the tariff.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re switching from another network over to TalkTalk Mobile, it’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number.
To begin the process of moving your mobile number to TalkTalk, contact your old network and ask them for a PAC Code. A PAC Code is nine-digits long and will authorise the transfer of your number to TalkTalk. It’s a legal requirement for your old mobile network to give you a PAC Code within two hours of your request.
Once you have the PAC Code from your old network, you should order the new phone or SIM card from TalkTalk’s website.
After the new phone or SIM card arrives through the post and after you’ve had the chance to make sure everything works properly, you should give the PAC Code to TalkTalk Mobile by submitting it online in the TalkTalk customer area. After you do this, your phone number will then normally be transferred on the next working day.
For step-by-step instructions on moving your number to TalkTalk Mobile, please select your current network provider:
If you’re changing your landline or home broadband to TalkTalk, a different process applies for keeping your landline number. A PAC Code is only applicable when moving your mobile number.
Popularity & Number of Subscribers
At the end of 2014, TalkTalk Mobile had approximately 400,000 customers. This represents just under 10% of the TalkTalk’s broadband customer base (4.2 million). The company claims it’s currently taking around 13% market share of new SIM-only connections. With the rapid growth in the network, we’re now expecting subscriber numbers to be substantially higher than 400,000.