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Smarty review: a flexible, fuss-free network

Our Smarty review answers all the questions that you may have about switching over to this relatively new UK network provider

Our Verdict

If you want a phone network with extremely low prices, Smarty could be a great option. The provider offers a range of contract deals with flexible price points and data allowances. For a contract that promises high-speed, reliable coverage at low prices, Smarty is worth considering. But if you want a contract that includes a device, or to speak to customer support over the phone, Smarty isn't the best choice.

Reasons to buy
  • Ultra cheap data deals
  • Impressive 4G and 5G performance
  • Free EU roaming
  • Short-term contracts
Reasons to avoid
  • No device options
  • Unable to speak to agents via phone

Smarty is a relatively new network provider in the UK, popping up out of seemingly nowhere back in 2022. The network is run and owned by Hutchison 3G, which owns Three. It may not be one of the big four network providers in the UK but Smarty has become increasingly popular since it launched.

Smarty is regularly named as one of the best UK phone providers for value, and as a sim-only network provider, it doesn’t offer any new devices with a Smarty contract. That isn’t a problem for many users, who still have flagship devices going strong and want a cheap contract. Are you thinking of making the switch to Smarty? I’ve researched the network’s coverage, roaming, and service and will share my first-hand experience as a Smarty customer for the last few years.

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Plans and prices

Smarty offers voice plans, data-only plans (with no calls or texts), and data discount plans (which give you money back for unused data). All the voice plans come with unlimited calls and texts, so regardless of how much data you opt for, you have guaranteed unlimited calls and texts. The cheapest plan currently starts at 5GB of data for £6 per month, which will be enough for occasional web browsers. The most expensive plan offers unlimited data for £18 per month – ideal for gamers and streamers who often chomp through content on the go. 

Smarty Voice Plans (2024)

Plan Price (monthly) Data allowance Contract length
5GB £6 5GB + unlimited calls & texts 1 month
8GB £7 8GB + unlimited calls & texts 1 month
50GB £8 50GB + unlimited calls & texts 1 month
60GB £10 60GB + unlimited calls & texts 1 month
 100GB  £12 100GB + unlimited calls & texts  1 month
150GB  £15 150GB + unlimited calls & texts 1 month
 200GB £17 200GB + unlimited calls & texts  1 month
Unlimited £18  Unlimited data, calls & texts 1 month

One of the major benefits of Smarty is that plans are 30-day rolling, giving you the flexibility to change your data each month. This is incredibly helpful; when I’m staying away or traveling, I usually opt for an unlimited bundle, so I know I have data for whatever I may need that month.

Smarty app open on iPhone being held in hand

Coverage and speed

Smarty offers 3G, 4G, and 5G mobile cover through Three’s network, which has been improved significantly over the past year. Their 5G service reaches more than 60% of the UK, meaning that Three’s level of coverage (which Smarty also benefits from) competes with EE for 5G. 

According to the Smarty website, estimated maximum download speeds are 70Mbps and 22Mbps for uploads. As a Smarty user myself, I’ve always found the speeds offered by Smarty exceptionally fast, with 5G always good enough for efficient web browsing. In addition, it also works well when it comes to audio and video streaming. I often stream shows from Netflix and other streaming services via my phone using 4G or 5G and rarely have to wait for buffering. 

Signal strength tends to be fairly even; in most places, I seem to have adequate signal strength. However, that said, it can sometimes be a little hit or miss, and can occasionally drop out, but that can be said of most network providers. 

Smarty app on iPhone being held in hand


Free EU roaming is incorporated into Smarty plans but is subject to a 12GB limit. If you want to go over that, you can choose between buying a data add-on – the price ranges between £1 and £15, depending on how much data you need to bolt on – and buying a one-day or three-day EU Roaming Data Pass, which provides full access to your usual data allowance while abroad.

If you’re traveling outside of the EU then you will need to pay an extra fee, topping it up with a credit, that can be used to pay for texts, data, and calls, with prices ranging from 50p to £2.50 per minute for calls, 10p and 40p per text, and 2p and £5 per MB, depending on the country you’re traveling to. I haven’t personally used Smarty abroad yet, but I have friends who have traveled to countries in the EU and have been impressed with how well it works. 

Customer service and perks

The downside to using a budget virtual network provider like Smarty is that the in-person customer service setup can be limited. At Smarty, all customer service is managed 100% virtually via live chats and forums, meaning there’s no option to call the network provider.

There are few customer perks with Smarty, as it’s a no-frills network. But there are sporadic deals throughout the year, particularly for pay-as-you-go members. Often, along with their regular pay-as-you-go bundles, Smarty will add a couple of deal options that provide added data for a discounted price. They also run refer-a-friend schemes allowing users to benefit from a gift card in return upon successful sign-ups.

Smarty doesn’t offer the option of eSIMS or spending caps, however, you’re unable to use more than your pre-paid allowance, so you can’t overspend. One helpful feature is Wi-Fi calling, which I’ve found to be a reliable means of communication when I’m somewhere that lacks adequate signal levels.


There are many reasons to choose Smarty as your network provider. You can get high-speed coverage, including free coverage when traveling in the EU. You also get access to super cheap contract deals and can use Wi-Fi calling should you want or need to.

There’s also the extremely competitive price point, and with lots of great low-priced contracts to choose from, in addition to various pay-as-you-go bundles, it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a way to cut costs.

That said, there are some crucial caveats, including the fact that Smarty is a sim-only network provider – a dealbreaker if you want a shiny new phone baked into your phone contract.


If you want a phone contract with a new device built into the cost, we recommend looking at these providers: