Sheffield-based Plusnet became a quad play (that’s broadband, TV and landline and mobile phone deals) in 2016, with the launch of its mobile division. Plusnet Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) which tags onto EE’s mobile network and specialises in SIM-only plans. Committed to its northern heritage, it offers affordable, no-nonsense mobile packages on rolling contracts.
At a glance
|The good:||The bad:|
|Good value SIM only deals||No handsets available with pay monthly contracts|
|Widespread UK coverage||No unlimited data plans available - 15GB is the maximum|
|Discounts available for Plusnet Broadband customers||No option to roll over your data|
|Award-winning UK-based customer service||No free roaming outside of Europe|
|Plusnet Reward Cards can be spent online and in most high street stores||Limited extras and special offers|
|Limit the amount you can be charged for exceeding your plan with Smart Cap|
|Easily set up data, calls or texts ‘bolt-ons’ just by sending a text|
|‘Roam like at home’ in over 40 EU destinations|
Plusnet SIM-Only Rolling Contracts
Plusnet Mobile doesn’t sell handsets, so you’ll need to own one already or buy it outright from elsewhere. What it offers instead are SIMs which refresh with a monthly allowance of minutes, text messages and mobile data. These are purchased on rolling, 30-day contracts, so you can duck out whenever you want. If you’re a Plusnet broadband or TV customer, you’ll get double that number of minutes, messages, and data for the same price - a perk known as “Mates Rates.” If you don’t qualify for as a ‘mate’ (you’ll need to take out a Plusnet broadband contract at least 24 hours before signing up for a mobile tariff to do so), Plusnet’s allowances can be restrictive, topping out at 5GB of data a month. ‘Mates’ can get up to 10GB, which is still significantly less than the 50GB or even unlimited data you can obtain from other providers.
Plusnet SIMs should fit into any handset, but if you’re purchased the device through another mobile provider, you may need to unlock it. Providers vary in their policies about unlocking, with some requiring you wait a month and pay a few pounds to unlock a phone you’ve previously bought on a contract.
Customer Service & Complaints
Plusnet Mobile isn’t included in Ofcom’s customer service tracker for mobile providers or its ranking of mobile providers by complaints. But the company’s broadband service recently attracted the most complaints, at 43 per 100,000 customers. But this is possibly related to the failed launch of its new billing system and can’t necessarily be extrapolated to its mobile phone service.
Plusnet Mobile Network Coverage
Luckily, Plusnet Mobile stands on the shoulders of EE - the UK’s most reliable, fastest, and widespread mobile network. EE boasts the fastest 4G speeds, at an average of 32.5 Megabits per second (Mbps) downstream, and best 4G availability, at 89% (that means customers can connect to it nearly nine out of 10 times they try). This 4G covers more than 99% of the UK population. It also delivers coverage to 84% of outdoor areas in Britain - the best of the four networks - although its indoor premises coverage, at 88%, lags behind the rest of the mobile network operators.
Plusnet Mobile largely only makes sense if you can juice up their data offerings with Mates Rates. Otherwise, you can find heartier SIM deals with greater allowances elsewhere. But if you are a Plusnet broadband subscriber (and hundreds of thousands of us are), you can streamline your telecoms purchases by bundling it all together - provided you buy a phone elsewhere.