Carphone Warehouse has today launched its own mobile phone network called iD, "piggybacking" off Three's network, but are its deals any good?
The mobile phone retailer has traditionally only sold plans offered by other providers – something it says it will continue to do, though it has now made its own foray into the market. See our Cheap Mobile Phones guide for tips on cutting costs.
Plans on the new network, which are available at iD's and Carphone Warehouse's websites and at Carphone Warehouse stores, come with 4G as standard (specific 3G plans are not available). You also can't buy handsets from iD without taking out a plan with it too.
Here's a summary of the plans available:
Pay-monthly contracts (including a handset)
- 'GoTo' plan: This is iD's standard contract, offering calls, texts and data costing between £13.50/month and £37.50/month on a 12-month contract, and costing between £13.50/month and £23.50/month on a 24-month contract.
- 'ShockProof' plan: These plans offer calls, texts and data from £7.50/month to £12.50/month on a 24-month contract only. However, unlike the GoTo plans, they come with a £5 buffer on your calls, texts and data, so you'll never be able to go over your limit by more than £5. iD says you can alter the cap via its website.
- 'TakeAway' plan: These plans offer calls, texts and data costing from £25.50/month to £45.50/month on a 24-month contract only. The difference with these is you can use your plans inclusive minutes, texts and data for free in 22 countries – Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and USA.
Monthly 30-day rolling Sim-only contracts
- 'GoTo' plan: This is iD's standard contract offering calls, texts and data from £7.50/month to £20/month.
- 'ShockProof' plan: These plans offer calls, texts and data from £7.50/month to £20/month. However unlike the GoTo plans, they come with a £5 buffer on your calls, texts and data, so you'll never be able to go over your limit by more than £5. iD says you can alter the cap via its website.
- 'DataOnly' plan: These plans do what they say on the tin and only offer data. They cost from £5/month to £20/month.
So are the deals any good?
Here are our analysis of iD's new offerings:
- Limited handsets. iD offers only limited handsets at present. For example, it doesn't have any contracts available on iPhones. It does, however, say it has plans to add more handsets in future.
- Samsung S6 deal can be beaten. If you take a popular new phone on the market such as the 32GB Samsung S6, iD sells a 'Takeaway' plan for £35.50/month over 24 months where you get 600 mins, 5,000 texts and 1GB of data. Once you factor in the £70 handset cost, it's effectively £38.41/month. However, you can get 1,000 mins, unlimited texts and 1GB data with Vodafone's 24-month contract at £29.71/month (including the £113 handset cost), although Vodafone's allowance can't be used for free overseas.
- Compare plans first. There are many pay-monthly contracts on the market, so the best way to compare which plan is best for the handset you're after is to use a comparison tool such as MobilePhoneChecker. Also see our Cheap Mobile Phones guide for tips on cutting costs.
- Overseas allowance, but locked in for 24 months. iD's 'TakeAway' plan enables people to use their phones abroad for free. Only Three enables its customers to do the same, although its 'Feel At Home' feature is available in 18 countries compared with iD's 22. However, Three's feature is also available to pay-as-you-go-users, while with iD you have to be on a 24-month contract to get it. See our Mobile Roaming guide for more help on how to cut costs.
- Competitive Sim-only deals. iD's Sim-only deals are competitive. For example, it has a one-month contract for £15/month with 2,000 mins, 5,000 texts and 3GB data (4G). This compares to a similar deal from Virgin Mobile costing £15/month with unlimited mins, unlimited texts, 3GB data (3G) but on a 12-month contract. See our Top Sim-only deals for more details and other best buys.
- No overseas allowance. You can't use your allowance abroad for free with a Sim-only plan. However, iD says it will be "continually reviewing and evolving the iD offering".