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Appalling 4G signal strength. Disappointing!

SMARTY Pioneer
SMARTY Pioneer

4 reasons why I moved from Vodafone to Smarty: Price (very competitive for unlimited calls/texts + 40GB of data/month); SIM-only contract terms (1-month rolling contract; in EU, no roaming charges and 12GB/month of data without charge); Signal strength on Three's network; Customer service.

3 reasons have been fulfilled. But, an essential one - signal strength, is a complete failure. Getting no or 1 bar of signal isn't acceptable; people end up calling me on WhatsApp to ask if I've changed phone number or if my phone is broken. Since nothing has changed on my end since my transfer to Smarty, I can only conclude that Three's 4G network isn't as good as advertised and reviewed, and/or Three gives substandard signal to its Virtual Private Operators.

What a pity, because all started well with Smarty, particularly an excellent price, good and flexible contact terms, and commendable customer service. However, at the end of the day, the key use of phones is for calling and receiving calls; if this doesn't work, then all other factors are worthless, and I can't afford to lose business calls.

In conclusion, I'm happy to pay a few £s more if Smarty solve their problem of signal, or I'm out at the end of the month.


SMARTY Motivator
SMARTY Motivator

Did you test drive a Three SIM card prior to purchasing a 30-day Smarty plan so that you could evaluate the coverage and performance to see if it met your needs? Sometimes such issues can be down to temporary work on a local mast or congestion at certain times of the day - you can use the Three coverage checker/ network status with your postcode...that might tell you if there are any issues currently.

Bear in mind, no network can guarantee 100% coverage since the signal is affected by many different things (buildings, weather, terrain, distance from mast etc) .. or I would recommend starting a webchat to see if Smarty can troubleshoot for you. I don't think that there could be a difference in the signal itself since Three owns Smarty but it is known that a network that is strong in one area, may not be so good in another. That is an inherent problem with mobile networks in general.

The good thing is you're not tied to a long contract incase the coverage is not meeting your needs. 

SMARTY Pro-coach
SMARTY Pro-coach

You didn’t “buy blind” did you ? 

Since I have been with Smarty in June, I have quite frankly been amazed at the number of people who obtain a Smarty SIM purely on price, without checking the coverage of Three, Smarty’s parent network, where they live, work and socialise. 

You absolutely have to check the coverage on whatever network you plan to use before parting with your hard earned cash. Where I live for example, O2 is extremely poor, so I won’t use O2 or any MVNO’s that use O2, such as Tesco Mobile.

Before I switched to Smarty, it was imperative that I check the coverage of Three where I mostly use my phone, to ensure that it gave me the coverage I require. 

SMARTY Pioneer
SMARTY Pioneer

I got a Smarty SIM and put it in my Samsung A34 5G before activating it. My existing SIM was an ID Mobile one which is also on Three. The ID signal was very poor but the Smarty one was much stronger. I chose to activate the Smarty SIM and transfer my number. Immediately on doing this, the Smarty signal has dropped to be the same as the ID one. Why? Have I been lured and then robbed?

@HowardL_2816013 I really do hope you are not suggesting that Smarty have a clever way of upping the signal strength just the first time a sim is inserted in a phone and then deliberately dropping it once you activate the sim.

What would even be the point? How long do you think that a company could get away with that - even if it is possible? How come they have a large number of satisfied customers who were apparently not 'lured and then robbed'? FYI, robbery is a criminal offence and so best to think through carefully.