Budget phone provider, iD Mobile, which is part of retail company Dixons Carphone, has announced it will now support 5G data on its network. That means with SIM only prices starting from just £6, for 2GB of data and unlimited calls and texts, there’s not many cheaper options for getting 5G.
It isn’t much of a surprise that iD Mobile is enabling 5G. As a “virtual” network, its network backbone is provided by Three, which has been working on 5G for some time. Three’s own customers are able to use 5G at no extra cost either, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that’s trickled down to consumers.
Looking at the iD website, the £8 for 12GB of data SIM only deal (opens in new tab) that’s currently on the site seems like an absolute bargain. It’s a time limited offer through, so if you want it then you’ll have to move quickly. Like Three, iD also has an unlimited data tariff, which is £16 per month but with a 24 month contract. That’s the same price as Three often sells a 12 month unlimited contract for, so again iD’s not cheaper here.
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Still, for people who don’t use a lot of data, and would like to save some money, iD Mobile is probably a pretty good option. Three’s 5G speeds are screamingly fast at times, with downloads knocking on the door of 1gbps in the right conditions. Three also owns a big chunk of the spectrum that will be used for 5G, and that’s going to give it quite competitive coverage and should prevent some of the problems the company has previously experienced with congested networks in some areas.
Interestingly, iD Mobile does issue one warning with 5G. Namely that phones bought from other providers, or just directly at retail, may not support 5G. This is because these devices may not have the correct profile installed on them. This seems a little weird, as iD Mobile can push these out to anyone who needs one, but perhaps it’s a way of managing demand for the superfast service.
According to the press info, the network now has 265 5G locations in the UK made up of 1,500 cell sites. Three is spending £2bn getting its network switched over to 5G and it already owns 140MHz of 5G spectrum, with other companies maxing out at 90MHz. That could help Three grow its customer base, and potentially annoy EE at the same time.