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Talk Home increased PAYG SIM card rates

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Will higher PAYG SIM card rates discourage some consumers?

Will higher PAYG SIM card rates discourage some consumers?

Recently we have seen a significant change in PAYG SIM card tariff at Talk Home, with some rates going up by 80%.

Talk Home Mobile is a MVNO that provides pay as you go SIM cards and its main goal is to provide affordable domestic rates and cheap international calls. Recently, the operator decided to update its tariffs to adjust them to current market. Unfortunately, this meant that their UK rates went up dramatically. On average, main PAYG SIM card rates were increased by 50%, but the highest increase was introduced for landline calls as the rate changed from 5p/min to 9p/min, a whopping 80% hike. Other rates that were changed are mobile calls, domestic and international texts (all from 10p to 15p) as well as data (new rate is 8p per Mb, previously 5p). Thankfully, this MVNO maintained its standing deal which gives its customers opportunity to call and text for free to other people with Talk Home PAYG SIM cards, as long as they top-up regularly. Tariff changes did not include international and roaming rates, so Talk Home still have competitive rates for international calls.

In order not to feel the tariff price hike so much, customers can use one of the bundles that Talk Home offers to its pay as you go SIM card customers. The MVNO has an extensive range of bundles available: from talk bundles, talk & text bundles or data bundles to all-you-can-eat options catering even for the needs of heavy Internet users. The bundle prices start at £5 and goes up to as high as £30 for the biggest package available (unlimited calls and texts plus 10GB of data). The value-for-money of the add-ons provided by Talk Home is extremely good. For example, a simple £5 bundle that gives customers 100 minutes, 100 texts and 100 Mb of data means that just for 5 quids they receive credit worth £38! This means that while the PAYG SIM card tariff increase may look gigantic, in reality using the bundles will mitigate any potential losses caused by that.

Written by adm

April 9th, 2015 at 7:35 pm

New countries added to Three’s Feel at Home service

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Will Three attract more customers thanks to no roaming costs in Spain?

Will Three attract more customers thanks to no roaming costs in Spain?

Three UK announced that Spain and New Zealand will be part of Feel at Home programme from April this year which means they will become roaming-free zones for Three’s customers.

Holiday-makers are one of the consumer groups that have been recently pampered by all operators. All main mobile providers have some sort of deal that allows customers use their allowance when going abroad or use preferential rates (in case of PAYG SIM cards users). Customers not only can call, text and browse the Internet at standard rates but they also don’t have to pay for incoming texts and calls. In the beginning this was the result of new roaming regulations introduced by the EU, however, right now mobile operators extend their roaming services to countries all over the world.

One of such programmes is Three’s Feel at Home. Currently it allows contract customers to use their allowance in 16 countries without any additional costs. PAYG SIM card owners can also benefit from Feel at Home, but they need to convert their credit to add-ons in order to do so. The Feel at Home countries encompass 4 continents and include such countries like France, the USA, Israel, Hong Kong, and the Republic of Ireland. Dave Dyson, Three’s CEO, said that Feel at Home is a very popular service and since its launch over a million customers used it. Additionally, countries include in this programme equals roughly 50% of all foreign travels of Three customers.

The addition of Spain and New Zealand to the Feel at Home range before the summer holiday season is great news for consumers. While New Zealand is not the first-choice summer destination, Spain definitely is. The country is one of the most popular spots for Brits as an estimated 13 million people from the UK are expected to spend some time sunbathing in Spain. This is why Dyson predicts that due to the addition of Spain and New Zealand the service will be used by around 70% of all Three customers that go overseas.

Three’s Feel at Home offer is one of the best available on the market as both pay as you go SIM cards and postpaid SIM cards are eligible and most importantly it is offered free of charge. We are going to see more of these kinds of deals from other operators in the near future as roaming fees will have to be phased out by December in accordance with the EU’s vision of Connected Continent.

Written by adm

January 15th, 2015 at 9:16 am

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Huge increases of PAYG SIM card tariffs at Vectone and Lycamobile

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Will customers move away from Lyca and Vectone after these price hikes?

Will customers move away from Lyca and Vectone after these price hikes?

Vectone and Lycamobile has recently raised their standard PAYG SIM card rates by around 50%

Two well-known MVNOs, Vectone and Lycamoble, changed their basic PAYG SIM card tariffs during last couple of weeks. This price hike touched mobile calls, landline calls and text messages.

In November (data from Nov, 4th) Vectone Mobile websites showed that mobile calls outside Vectone cost 10p/min, landline rate was 5p/min, while non-Vectone texts were at 10p per message. During our next check of British PAYG SIM card tariffs on Dec, 2, we noticed that calls to other networks rose by 50% to 15p/min, landline calls went up by 80% to 9p/min and texts rate was increased by 33% to 15p. These changes were introduced only to Vectone’s standard rates for PAYG SIM cards. Customers may take advantage of their Pocket Saver bundles which also gives access to discounted rates that basically are the rates valid before the price hike.

Lycamobile’s update of PAYG SIM card rates was of the same size. Customers now have to pay 15p per minute for mobile calls, 9p for landline calls and 15p for a text. This means that the rates were increased by 5p, 4p and 5p respectively. Additionally, Lyca also changed its international PAYG SIM card rates, particularly costs of international texts.  In this case, the update made the rate grow by 25% from 12p to 15p. If customers select one of the UK Plan bundles, then they are offered special lowered international and national rates. Special National tariff means that UK landline calls 5p/min, while mobile calls are for 10p/min.

Lyca and Vectone’s decisions to increase standard rates for their PAYG SIM card definitely isn’t a popular decision, however, thanks to their wide range of bundles customers may actually not feel that change too much.

Written by adm

December 11th, 2014 at 8:23 pm

O2 introduces data sharing plans

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O2 new plans may be of interest for tech-savy consumers

O2 new plans may be of interest for tech-savy consumers

O2 launched new plans for all pay monthly customers to share data across many devices.

On November 24, O2 announced that they are introducing two new plans dubbed “Sharer Plan” and “Family Sharer” to make sharing data between people and devices easier. Basically, these two new plans allow customers to use the same bundle on many SIM cards. The “Sharer Plan” is aimed at individuals that use multiple devices, while the “Family Sharer” plan is designed to cater for the needs of families.

The idea behind such plans came from recent research results which showed that there are over 70 million mobile devices in the UK, which means that an average Brit has 1.5 devices, while each household has 3 mobile gadgets on average. Based on that data, O2 decided to introduce a way for consumers to get one big bundle and use it across all devices.

Individuals, who wish to use one bundle in many devices, should select the “Sharer Plan”. The cost of opt in is £6 per month and it is available to any customer with at least 1GB of monthly data on O2 Refresh tariffs.  You can use one bundle on up to 10 devices, which means the lead device and 9 additional SIM cards.

The “Family Sharer” plan allows family members to get a data allowance bolt-on of between 1GB and 8GB and spread across up to 9 people.  An additional option to this plan is to get a £15 contract for each member of the family which will give unlimited call time and text messages. If you need “Family Sharer” just for data, for example for a tablet, then the cost is £6 a month.

Customers can check how much of their data allowance has been used through My O2 app and get a text notifications when they reach 80% of that and another one when it has been fully used. In such a case, they can get additional data bundles that start from £3.

In order to sign up for one of the plans you need to either visit an O2’s retail outlet or turn it on through the phone.

Written by adm

November 27th, 2014 at 9:37 am

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Virgin introduced a new “Freestyle” tariff

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Will new Virgin tariff lure some PAYG SIM card customers?

Will new Virgin tariff lure some PAYG SIM card customers?

Virgin UK extends its offer by adding a flexible contract tariff that enables to tweak your offer on a monthly basis.

This week Virgin has announced that they go live with new flexible tariffs know as Freestyle. In a nutshell, customers will be able to change their tariff every month and get a new phone before their 24-month long contract ends, as long as they pay for the handset in full.

Virgin’s customers will be able to move around five tariffs priced between £10 and £25.  There is no restriction for whether you move up or down, which basically means that one month you can choose the £20 tariff and then drop to the lowest one next month. In terms of what the tariffs come with, the lowest £10 tariff offers unlimited texts, 250 minutes and 250 MB of data. The next tariff is the £13 one and it has four times more minutes and twice as much data. The middle £17 tariff gives unlimited calls and texts plus 1GB of data, then for £20 you will get 2GB of data more. Finally, the highest tariff comes with unlimited calls, texts and data for £25 a month. If you already have Virgin broadband, TV or home phone, then you will get £5 off on all tariffs.

The second innovation offered by “Freestyle” tariffs is the possibility to upgrade your phone before the contract ends. However, to do so you need to pay off all the remaining balance on your mobile phone. It is possible, because essentially Virgin sells handset in “Freestyle” tariff through a credit agreement. This means you pay for your phone in monthly instalments but there is no interest rate. This monthly phone payment is added to your tariff price which together gives you the final value of your monthly bill.

You can get a wide range of phones with the “Freestyle” tariff. This includes all major state-of-the-art models like iPhone 6 and 5S/5C, the newest Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z3 or HTC One. However, if we take, for example, Samsung Galaxy S5 then the monthly instalment is £19, while the newest iPhones start at £29 per month. Add to this a middle-priced tariff and you can end up with a monthly payment of £36 or £46.

All in all, Virgin Media launched a nice novelty that gives contract customers some degree of flexibility, so that you don’t end up with a too high or too low tariff for the next two years. However, the option to pay off your phone doesn’t seem to too alluring, but we must admit that it creates an opportunity to take your phone on credit with zero interest rate.

Written by adm

November 20th, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Free data for Christmas for new EE PAYG SIM cards

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Did Santa make you move to EE? Free data

Did Santa make you move to EE?

EE is giving out free 100MB of monthly data allowance to all new pay as you go customers who register before Christmas.

The Halloween is not yet over but we are starting to see first Christmas offers popping out here and there. The first mobile operator to jump the gun on Christmas deals is EE. Their new promotion is aimed at new customers who choose PAYG SIM cards. The Christmas deal includes affordable smartphones and tablets paired with a free monthly allowance of 100MB of data.

In terms of PAYG smartphones, EE offers quite a nice bargain on Nokia Lumias 635 as they are sold at £99. It is an attractive price for a phone that supports 4G speeds. But the 4G operator doesn’t forget about tablet-users as it prepared a good deal for 4G tablet as well. The slate on offer is Alcatel ONETOUCH POP 7S, which is a moderate device in terms of technical specifications but at this price it’s an entry-level device that may be one of the cheapest on the market so far.

The second part of the Christmas offer is a monthly allowance of free 100 MB of data to new PAYG SIM card phones and SIM-only customers. In order to be eligible to receive it, you need to top up your account by as little as £5 not later than on January 4, 2015. In terms of tablets, the SIM card needs to be registered online and this will have to be done by February 6, 2015. From then on, every 30 days you will receive 100MB of data as long as your PAYG SIM cards are active. EE hasn’t declared how many times you will get this allowance, but we might safely assume that it will be on to the end of 2015.

In order to qualify for this deal you need to move to EE and get a PAYG phone/tablet deal or just a PAYG SIM card by December 28, 2014 for phones and January 31, 2015 for tablets.

The biggest 4G operator in the UK definitely brought an interesting Christmas gift for mobile fans. Obviously, one may say that 100MB is not much especially considering 4G speeds. But to put it into perspective with 100MB you could browse the Internet for 4 hours, send 2000 WhatsApp messages or download 20 tracks. No the worst present PAYG SIM card customers could have got.

Written by adm

October 29th, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Lebara increases PAYG rates more than expected

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Will customers complain about Lebara PAYG rates rise?

Will customers complain about Lebara PAYG rates rise?

Consumers might be surprised by Lebara’s increase of PAYG SIM card rates by around 25 percent.

Last month we reported that Lebara announced a change in their tariff for PAYG SIM cards. The MVNO’s website showed that rates were supposed to be raised by 1p. Lebara officially informed its customers about the upcoming change and gave them plenty of time to react to the tariff increase.

It turned out, however, that the price hike introduced by Lebara is more than they advertised on the website in September. On October 1, the customers were surprised to see that PAYG SIM card rates grew to 19p. The hike involved mobile and landline rate, text messages, mobile data and voice mail. Previously abovementioned prepaid rates at Lebara were at 15p. This makes Lebara PAYG SIM card offer less competitive than their competition and it seems that they fall behind other MVNOs.

Such a huge rise is not often seen on the British market, customers might not welcome it considering that prices changed by over 25%. Have you been affected by the price increase at Lebara? Are you planning to switch the operator because of it?

Written by adm

October 9th, 2014 at 3:34 pm

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New EE tariffs – 4G PAYG SIM cards

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Will you take advantage of EE's new 4G packs?

Will you take advantage of EE’s new 4G packs?

The first 4G operator wants to reinforce its position by offering 4G packs from just £1 a week

EE updated their 4G tariffs for their PAYG customers in an attempt to increase their customer base and reaffirm their market leader position.  Their new range of tariffs starts from just 1 quid a week. This obviously aroused the imagination of the market and the operator called it a breakthrough in terms for providing 4G service to PAYG SIM card users.

There are 3 new types of bundles for pay as you go (payg sim card) available at EE: Data, Talk and Text and Everything.

The only available Data pack is the mostly advertised £1 pack that comes with 10 minutes, 10 texts and 100MB of data and is renewable every 7 days. It is hardly enough for any daily user and with just 100MB the customers will not have many opportunities to experience 4G speeds. On the other hand it costs just 1 quid, so considering the price it is a good value-for-money deal.

There is more to choose from in terms of Talk and Text bundles as you have 3 different options to choose from. The cheapest one also costs just £1 and gives the customers 25 minutes, 50 texts and 10MB of data, which is valid for 7 days. Again such a small bundle would hardly satisfy any customer. The other two Talk and Text bundles come with unlimited texts, 10MB and 250 or 750 minutes. The smaller version costs £10 and the bigger £15. Both of them are valid for 30 days and are renewed after such period.

Finally, we have got the all-in-one Everything packs which may be the most useful bundles for everyday PAYG SIM card users. They come in 3 sizes: £10, £15 and £25. The smallest one offers 150 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. The medium one also has unlimited texts but also 500 minutes and 2GB of data. The biggest Everything pack is something that can truly satisfy most customers and let them experience 4G at its best. It comes with 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data. All of the Everything packs can be renewed after 30 days.

All in all, EE came up with quite nice all-in-one bundles for PAYG SIM cards plus some less useful data and talk and text package. However you judge that offer, it is a nice improvement to their last PAYG SIM card deals with 4G and as always increased competitiveness means better rates for consumers.

Written by adm

September 19th, 2014 at 4:03 pm

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Lebara increases PAYG SIM tariff

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Will customers complain about Lebara PAYG rates rise?

Will customers complain about Lebara PAYG rates rise?

Lebara UK announced small changes in their PAYG SIM card tariff, which means slightly higher rates.

It is always unwelcomed when an operator decides to increase their rates. This time it’s one of the most established MVNOs, Lebara, that informed about price hikes for their pay as you go SIM card users. The operator announced to their customers about the change 30 days before the updated tariff comes into force (October 1).

If you are a Lebara customer you should not be too concerned about this tariff increase. The MVNO decided to increase their PAYG SIM card rates just by 1p. The affected rates are domestic landline and mobile calls, texts, voicemail and data. This means that instead of 15p per minute/text or MB consumers will pay 16p. This is the lowest possible hike and standard PAYG SIM card users should not feel much difference, however if you look at it percentage-wise the MVNO changed the rates by roughly 6,5%. In business terms it may bring them a lot of extra revenue, however Lebara UK core business is providing cheap international call rates and this part of their PAYG SIM card tariff wasn’t included in this upcoming tariff update.

Interestingly, as of today Lebara hasn’t updated the price of their bundles and bolt-ons for PAYG SIM cards. If you are with Lebara and rely on their UK Plus, Lebara Freedom, Data Pass or any other package, then this price hike will not affect you at all.

Written by adm

September 16th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

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International calls for less than 1p/min

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PAYG International call rates go below 1p/min

PAYG International call rates go below 1p/min

Vectone Mobile breaks the 1p per minute international call rate and cuts it by half.

MVNOs have been competing  to offer the best rates for PAYG SIM cards. Some virtual operators fight on national rates, but majority of them want to provide the cheapest international call rates. For long time operators were luring customers by offering rock-bottom rates of 1p per minute for international calls. Not all of them have such prices but all strive to get there and customers got used to having very low international pay as you go rates.

However, Vectone Mobile went one step further and decided to break the 1p per minute line. Currently if you use Vectone PAYG SIM card you can take advantage of call rates of 1/2p. Yes, that’s half a penny for one minute of international airtime.  Such a low rate is available for calls to 7 countries: Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Poland and Romania. But it is valid for landline calls only. The half a penny rate is part of Low Cost International Calls offer in which Vectone offers their PAYG SIM card users call rates of 1/2p or 1p per minute. The higher-but-still-low rate of 1p per minute applies to 40 countries all over the world and is valid mostly for landline numbers but also includes mobile numbers. All of this comes without any hidden catches or fine print, you just need to be Vectone PAYG customers.

Vectone Mobile’s new international deal is definitely a game change for PAYG SIM card market in the UK. Most likely it will mean that the competition will have to adapt by offering rates better than, or at least as good as, this offer.  Although, I do not know how lower can you get. It seems crazy to think that in the future we will have international call rate for PAYG SIM card of less than 1/2p per minute.

Written by adm

September 8th, 2014 at 9:04 am

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