iD: What You Need to Know

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on June 16, 2015, Buying Guides

Heard of iD? If you haven’t, you’re sure to soon. iD is a brand new option on the UK mobile market, and one that could be pretty exciting if you’re looking for a new mobile operator. Given that the network has only just gone live, we’re here to take a look at what they have to offer, giving you the chance to see the advantages and disadvantages of this new operator.

iD: The Basics

Alrighty, let’s start off with the basic stuff. iD is owned and operated by Carphone Warehouse, who you are probably already familiar with. Carphone Warehouse is a mobile phone retailer, selling phones in the UK and across Europe (though outside of the UK they’re known as Phone House). So what exactly is Carphone Warehouse doing opening a mobile network? Well, given that they already sell phones it’s not a huge step to running a network. Plus, the company hasn’t had to build a mobile infrastructure.

Why is that? Well, iD will be using the mobile infrastructure built and owned by the mobile network Three in order to provide service. This isn’t terribly unusual, and many smaller mobile operators actually use another company’s infrastructure, so there’s no much to worry about there.

What Makes Them Different?

There are really three things that you need to know about iD. The first of these is that the company is trying to make mobile contracts and services simpler. In real world terms that means that they’re offering fewer contract options, but more add on services. They have only four basic kinds of contract, but you can then add on extra services as you need them.

The second thing you need to know is that iD is a 4G network. 4G data is included as default on all contracts, so you’ll be getting super fast mobile data speeds wherever they’re available. Finally, iD are also planning to specialise in mobile roaming, and are already offering the best mobile roaming deal around, which is good news for frequent travellers.

What Kind of Contracts are They Offering?

As mentioned, there are four basic contracts offered. The first of these is called GoTo, which offers a selection of calling minutes, data and text messages in different amounts, depending on how much you want to spend. This kind of contract can include a phone or not, and can be on either a twelve month or 24 month term, as well as a thirty day rolling contract.

The second kind of plan is called ShockProof, and is essentially the same as GoTo, but with one big difference. A ShockProof plan has an automatic data cut off, which switches your data off once you reach your limit, meaning that you’re not going to get any unpleasant and surprising phone bills. This could be a good option for kids and teens…

Thirdly, there’s the TakeAway option, and again this is the same general concept as GoTo, but it includes mobile roaming. Choosing this plan will give you free mobile roaming in 22 European countries, so it’s a good bet for travellers.

Finally, there are SIM free options, available as just calling packages (minutes, texts, data), or as data only (for tablets). Again, these come in a variety of sizes, and are a good bet if you already own a phone and want to keep it.

The All Important Price Point…

With so many mobile operators on the market in the UK, a lot of people’s decision really comes down to price. And although iD haven’t released all of their prices yet, it does look as though their plans are going to be quite competitive, particularly considering that they all include 4G data rather than just 3G.

For calling plan only both GoTo and ShockProof contracts start at £7.50 per month, and that will include 250 calling minutes, 5000 texts and 500 MB of data. You can play around with limits a little bit, but the most expensive plan right now is £20 a month for both GoTo and ShockProof, and that gives you 2000 minutes, 5000 texts and unlimited mobile data.

Tariffs for the mobile roaming TakeAway option are more expensive however, with even the cheapest plan costing £25.50 per month.

You should note that add ons are available on every contract. Download the iD app and you’ll be able to control which add ons are added and when, keeping options for just a month at a time. You have the option of adding more calling minutes (200 minutes is £3), texts (250 texts is £5) or data (100 MB is £1.50), which gives you a lot of flexibility.

What about plans with phones? Well, that depends on what kind of phone you’re interested in getting, obviously. Just as an example though, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 will cost you no money down and £43.50 a month on a two year contract with 2000 minutes, 5000 texts and 2GB of data. A similar deal with O2 will cost you £29.99 up front and £42.50 a month with unlimited calls and texts but only 1 GB of data. So prices with iD on phones seem to be fairly comparable to other networks.

To Switch or Not?

Switching operators really depends on your situation. In general, prices are pretty equal across networks, though some offer better deals on certain things. The roaming deal with iD, for example, could be great if you’re often in Europe and so it would be worth switching for you. It’s worthwhile running the numbers and looking at the different contract options just to see if there’s a good deal for you with iD. That 4G data is pretty nice though, and Three’s mobile network does get great coverage in the UK, which could be important for some people…

In Summary

iD does offer a couple of benefits, such as mobile roaming and flexible add ons. These could be enough to make signing a contract with them good for you. But more importantly, they’re adding more competition to the market, which in the long run is a good thing, since it’s likely to bring prices down across the board. Do we need another mobile network? Probably not, but then, it’s always nice to have a choice.