SMARTY bills itself as the UK’s “simplest and most honest network ever”. It’s a pretty bold claim. But one that’s not without justification.
Using Three’s 4G and 3G network, SMARTY offers just three SIM only plans to choose from. All of which are keenly priced and operate on a rolling contract basis, so you’re not locked into a lengthy deal.
But that’s not all that marks it out from other networks. SMARTY’s unique selling point is a money-saving offer that means you actually get a discount for any data you don’t use. So in effect you’re only paying for the data you use.
Here, we take a closer look at SMARTY to see exactly how those sales claims stack up. And we’ll see how it compares with rival carriers and explain how the cashback scheme works too.
Three plans to choose from. Starting at £7.50 per month
SMARTY offers just three SIM only plans, which are dubbed Small, Medium and Large. All three include unlimited standard UK calls and texts and are rolling contracts. So you can cancel at any time.
All plans also include the aforesaid money-back mechanism for unused data. More of that in a bit. But until then, what you need to know is that...
- Small is priced £7.50 per month and gets you 2GB of data per month
- Medium is £10 per month and gets you a monthly allowance of 4GB
- Large is the top-end plan. Priced £15 per month, it includes a comparatively whopping 8GB of data per month
Because they’re rolling contracts, SMARTY’s plans renew automatically at the end of each month. Unless you specify that you’d like to close the plan, of course.
You get money back for unused data
Here comes the science bit. Concentrate.
As intimated above, SMARTY customers only pay for data they use. So you don’t lose out financially if you’re left with unused data at the end of the month.
How does that work? Well, on all three plans, £5 of your outlay covers the cost of unlimited standard calls and texts, and running costs for the network. The rest of your monthly premium is what you pay for your data allowance.
Once you get to the end of the month you’ll be given a discount for any data you have left over, with each unused GB working out to a discount of £1.25. This is credited to next month’s plan.
SMARTY will count unused MBs, as well as GBs, too. So you don’t just get a discount on whole GBs of data that you opted not to use.
So, for the sake of example, if you’re on SMARTY’s Small plan and you used none of your data allowance at all for a month, you’d get a discount of £2.50 at the point your plan renews.
If you were on the Medium plan and you had your full allowance of 4GB left at the end of the month, you stand to get a £5 discount when your plan renews. Or £2.50, if you only used 2GB.
To let you know how much of a discount you’ll get, SMARTY will send you an email and text on the day the plan renews.
SMARTY uses Three’s network
SMARTY’s service is based on Three’s nationwide network. That means you get extensive 4G coverage, as well as 3G coverage that spans 97% of the UK.
No license to roam
SMARTY is a UK-only network. At launch, anyway.
The upshot is that you won’t be able to use your UK allowances abroad. Nor can you make international calls. But it’s not all bad news.
SMARTY says that it’s working on offering roaming in future. So the situation may change at some stage.
And if you do need to call overseas, you can use VOIP calls services such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger. In which case you’ll be using your data allowance to make calls, unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
Want to use your phone on a getaway? We outline how changes to roaming charges affect you in our one-stop guide.
In the event you’re running low on data, you can shell out for an add-on. There are three to pick from:
- 1GB for £1.25
- 2GB for £2.50
- 4GB for £5
To buy one, you’ll need to head to smarty.co.uk and log into your account via the Smart dashboard.
However, if you need to make a call to a non-standard UK phone number, such as a service number with the prefix 084 or 087, you’ll need to buy a cash add-on.
These come in denominations of £5, £10 and £15.
Once again, you’ll need to buy one from the Smarty dashboard.
There’s no expiry date on data or cash add-ons, as long as you’ve got an active account. So you can use them whenever you like.
Refer a friend and get up to 12 months' free
Persuade a friend, family member or even passing acquaintance to join you as a customer on the SMARTY network and you'll get month free, by way of thanks.
Impressively, SMARTY will let you add up to 12 people this way, meaning you could get a whole year free-of-charge.
Perhaps more impressively, customers who have a free month will still get a discount rolled over to the next month in the event that they don't use their data allowance in full.
What's more, the friend you've referred to SMARTY qualifies for a month free when they join too.
Want to know more about SMARTY'S refer-a-friend scheme? We take a closer look in our one-stop guide.
Online customer support
SMARTY customers can contact the network by visiting the site and starting a web chat with one of its customer service team.
They’re available between 8am and 8pm every day, except Bank Holidays.
Alternatively, you can contact them by email.
What there isn’t at the moment is a customer helpline to phone. But there are some handy guides on the site, which ought to help you out with common-or-garden queries.
Take a look at SIM only plans from a range of networks at our comparison page.