What You Need to Know
Serving more than 4 million customers, the low-cost network Tesco Mobile is the result of a partnership between O2 and Tesco. Started in 2003, the network offers incentives--including Tesco Clubcard Points, Top-Up Tripling and Family Perks--you won’t find on other networks. Capped bills make it easy to keep your mobile budget in line too.
Tesco Mobile offers both pay monthly and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) service. Pay monthly tariffs range between £7.50 and £20 with a range of minute and data allotments. PAYG plans range between £5 and £20 for bundles.
SIM-only plans make it easy to bring your existing device. Should you need a new phone, 24-month phone contracts make it easy to bundle the cost of an upgrade into your tariff. Tesco Mobile offers a decent selection of budget and flagship options from major manufacturers.
- No-contract tariffs available
- 4G access
- Bill capping for predictable costs
- PAYG bundles available
- Anytime Upgrade phone financing
- No unlimited data options
- Less 4G coverage than many other carriers
- Anytime Upgrades: With credit approval, Tesco Mobile customers can enjoy no-interest financing on the latest mobile phones with the ability to upgrade at a lower price whenever you like.
- Family Perks: Add multiple contracts to your account and enjoy monthly bonuses including extra minutes, extra data, Tesco Clubcard points and discounts on your bill.
- Tesco Clubcard Points: Pay monthly and PAYG tariffs earn Tesco Clubcard points for every £1 spent each month.
- Xtras App: Earn up to £3 per month off your mobile tariff by allowing Tesco Mobile to display ads on the lock screen of your mobile phone.
- Capped Contracts: By capping your account, you can use your phone without worrying about surprises on your bill. Instead of charging per-use rates or overage fees, your phone service will suspend until the next billing cycle.
Awards and Recognitions
- Uses the O2 network, #4 in Ookla’s 2016 Speedtest Market Report UK for both upload and download speeds
- Uses the O2 network, #4 in overall download speeds in OpenSignal’s 2016 UK State of the Mobile Network report
- Uses the O2 network, #4 in 3G download speeds in OpenSignal’s 2016 UK State of the Mobile Network report
- Uses the O2 network, #4 for 4G download and upload speeds in Ofcom’s 2016 Smartphone Cities report
- Uses the O2 network, #4 in 3G download speeds in Ofcom’s 2016 Smartphone Cities report
How's the Network Coverage and Speed?
Tesco Mobile partners with O2 to offer service in the UK. Their 3G network covers 98% of the UK population. Their 4G network covers 78%. If you’re near a major UK city, you should have no problem finding 4G or 4G LTE service.
You can check coverage and network types in your area at their support page.
In the 2016 “Speedtest Market Report UK”, O2 ranked fourth for both upload and download speeds. Uploads averaged 8 Mbits per second while downloads averaged 16 Mbits per second.
OpenSignal’s 2016 “State of the Mobile Network UK” and "State of Mobile Networks: UK (April 2017)" reports shows average 4G download speeds of 16 Mbits per second and 3G download speeds of 4 Mbits per second.
Finally, Ofcom’s 2016 “Smartphone Cities” report shows overall download speeds across 8 of the UK’s major cities averaging 13 Mbits per second.
Do They Charge Roaming Fees?
If you’re travelling in the EU, all Tesco Mobile tariffs include the Home from Home feature. This means that you can place calls, send texts to the UK or use data using your monthly allotment for no additional fee.
There are a few limitations, including:
- 4G access is not available while roaming
- If you use more than 12GB of data, a surcharge applies to further usage
- Roaming usage is limited to 60 days in a rolling 4-month window
You can find out more at their Home from Home page.
Rates vary outside the EU. For a full list of prices and destinations, consult Tesco Mobile’s Using Your Phone Abroad page.
What About Long Distance Fees?
All Tesco Mobile plans include calling to mobiles and landlines in the UK with your monthly minute balance.
For calls outside the UK, you’ll enjoy 25p per minute calling to 50 countries. Rates to other destinations vary. Texting internationally is a flat 20p per message.
For a list of destinations and fees, consult Tesco Mobile’s Call Charges from the UK to Abroad page.
Does Tesco Mobile Offer Wi-Fi Calling?
Not exactly. Tesco Mobile does not support native Wi-Fi calling features.
While they have the Tesco International Calling app, this is not the same as the Wi-Fi Calling offered through other networks. Usage is billed separately from your mobile tariff, even for local calls.
How About Voice over LTE (VoLTE)?
Can I Tether My Mobile?
Yes! You can tether using your tariff’s data allowance at no additional charge. If you don’t have a data allowance or go over your data allowance, you’ll pay standard data rates.
NOTE: Tethering with a laptop or gaming console will often result in more data use than using your phone. If you have a tariff with a small data bucket, monitor your tethering usage to avoid unwanted surprises.
Can I Rollover Unused Data?
No. None of Tesco Mobile’s tariffs include data rollover.
What Add-ons or Bundles are Available?
Tesco Mobile offers a selection of data bundles to help you keep data costs low.
Pay Monthly data bundles offer between 250MB and 2GB of additional data. Prices range from £1.50 to £7.50 each.
PAYG users will find more options, including:
- 150 voice minutes for £5
- 5000 texts for £5
Data packs are also available with allowances between 500MB and 8GB. Prices range from £5.00 to £20 per top-off.
If you add a bundle to your plan or top-off for more than £15, you’ll receive a free bonus as well. Options include 5,000 texts, 150 minutes or 500MB of data.
For a full list of add-on and bundle options, consult Tesco Mobile’s Help and Support page.
Can I Bring My Own Mobile?
Sure! Tesco Mobile supports a wide range of 2G, 3G and 4G mobiles. Simply buy a SIM, choose your plan and you’re ready to go!
You’ll find a full list of pay monthly, PAYG and mobile data plans on their SIM Only Tariffs page.
Do They Require a Credit Check?
All UK pay monthly plans require a credit check. PAYG bundles do not require a credit check if you already have a phone or pay for a new phone in full.
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You must have a UK credit or financial history
If you’re on the electoral roll at your address and have good credit, this can help to both speed up the credit check process and reduce the chance of needing to pay a large deposit.
To perform the check, Tesco Mobile will likely ask for:
- Your name, date of birth and marital status
- Your current address and other addresses in the past 3 years
- A credit/debit card or bank account registered to your current address
Tesco Mobile checks Equifax, Experian and CallCredit.
NOTE: Credit checks from networks that pull your credit bureau report may impact your credit score. If you're not sure the best options for your credit profile, we suggest contacting the network before attempting to obtain service.
Do They Charge an Early Termination Fee?
Tesco Mobile’s Leaving Tesco Mobile page notes:
“Please call Customer Care on 4455 from your Tesco Mobile phone or 0345 301 4455 to request to cancel your contract. If you’re leaving before the end of your contract then fees will apply.
You'll receive a final bill from us, which will include any recent usage. It won't be any more than your monthly line rental, unless you made calls to non-standard numbers.”
Can I Port My Number To or From Tesco Mobile?
All mobile networks in the UK must provide a PAC Code upon request. Giving this code to a new network will allow you to transfer your number.
To port your number to or from Tesco Mobile, contact customer support and request your PAC code. They must deliver your PAC code within 2 hours of your request.
To receive your PAC code:
- The account you are trying to transfer from must remain open.
- You must be able to verify your identity through either personal documents or payment history
Once you receive your code, contact Tesco Mobile or your new network and give them the code. In most cases, your number will transfer within 1 to 2 business days. Be sure to complete this process quickly, as PAC codes expire 30 days from the date they are issued.
Will They Unlock My Mobile?
For Pay Monthly subscribers, you can unlock your mobile or tablet at any time for no charge.
For PAYG subscribers, you can unlock your mobile or tablet 12 months after activation. There is a one-time fee of £10.
Want to know more about unlocking your Tesco Mobile device? Consult their Unlock Your Phone page.
For other questions about pricing, features and coverage, be sure to check our Tesco Mobile Q&A Forum. It’s filled with questions and answers from people like you looking to get the most out of their mobile service!
If you spot any errors or missing information, please let us know! It's appreciated and will help make this page better for everyone.
Voice network: GSM 900 / 1800 MHz
Data network: UMTS, HSDPA, HSPA+
Review Sources and Citations
Use this product?
Help inform others by sharing your experience with Tesco Mobile