Lebara Mobile review: are they good enough for just UK usage (2024)

Lebara Mobile review: are they good enough for just UK usage (1)

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We all know Lebara specialise in international calls but what's their mobile network like to use day-to-day in the UK? We find out. Lastupdated:17thOctober2023.

Lebara’s network

Mobile coverage is impressive on Lebara

Lebara Mobile review: are they good enough for just UK usage (2)

Check coverage near you before buyingCheck their signal

at mobile.lebara.com
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Lebara get full access to Vodafone’s network to provide signal, meaning they get the same call (3G/2G) and data (5G/4G/3G) signal coverage as their hosts. This has its strengths and its weaknesses.

It means Lebara have the joint-best call signal of all UK networks, with more than 92% of the UK’s landmass and practically everywhere people live covered for calls. And indoor call signal is typically strong.

Lebara’s 4G data signal is typically great in most urban areas (see 5G below). But signal will become weaker as you move out into the countryside and you may find yourself booted down to 3G as you move around.

Overall, Lebara have a strong overall mix of coverage, but it’s always worth using their coverage checker to see how signal is in your local area.

Useful link: Read Lebara’s About Us page

Our coverage rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Rank:
Joint 2nd

Not as good as:
EE

Better than:
Three


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4G data speeds can be excellent or disappointing

Lebara Mobile review: are they good enough for just UK usage (3)

Fast urban speeds, slow rural speedsRead more

at mobile.lebara.com
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Independent network testers Opensignal measure typical speeds on all networks. Their latest report shows typical speeds of 25.9Mbps over Lebara’s hosts, Vodafone.

When we tested them, we got speeds as low as 5Mbps in the countryside and as fast as 110+Mbps in the city centre. But we usually got speeds around 58Mbps in the city, so we can see how it all averages out.

That’s still a huge variation in speeds compared to most other networks. So you’re more likely to slow to a crawl out in the sticks, but you’re more likely to speed way ahead in the city centre than other networks.

We found no evidence of a speed cap on Lebara’s website, but we have yet to test them. Once we do we’ll update this page here, but for now we’re fairly confident you’ll get the same speeds on Lebara as on Vodafone.

Useful link: Lebara’s guide to their 4G network

5G coverage is underwhelming but speeds are healthy enough

Lebara Mobile review: are they good enough for just UK usage (4)

Good speeds but fewest 5G locationsRead more

at mobile.lebara.com
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In our guide to the best 5G networks, Vodafone and the providers that use their 5G came in last. It’s still a big improvement to their network where you can get it and we like that Lebara include it on all deals.

You get 5G on every Lebara SIM only deal. Here are what we think are their best deals:

You’ll get 5G in 160+ UK towns and cities on Lebara. But 5G is still only on a street-by-street basis and Lebara’s coverage within their locations tends to be a bit weaker than the other networks.

Network testers Opensignal and Speedtest measured typical 5G data speeds between 100.6Mbps - 146.19Mbps with peak speeds as high as 315.35Mbps. Those are the second highest peak 5G speeds of all networks.

In any case, it’s still good that a cheap provider Lebara get access to 5G as it increases speeds and helps ease 4G signal congestion, even if it’s not the strongest network for 5G around.

Useful link: Read Lebara’s full 5G guide

Our data speeds rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Rank:
Joint 2nd

Not as good as:
EE, Three

Better than:
O2


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WiFi calling and 4G calling are great features on Lebara

Lebara Mobile review: are they good enough for just UK usage (6)

It may take a week to start workingRead their guide

at lebara.mobile.com
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Typically, indoor blackspots are less common on Lebara due to their great indoor call signal coverage. But if you do run into indoor blackspots at home, Lebara offer a couple of features to help out:

WiFi calling and 4G calling are included as standard on Lebara. This lets you make/take calls over WiFi and 4G signal where traditional call signal is poor. Lebara seem to have the same supported devices as Vodafone.

We haven’t tested it out yet, but we think it’s largely the same as Vodafone’s scheme. If so then you should also be able to send SMS texts over WiFi and also transfer a call from WiFi to 4G without it dropping.

The big downsides are that it can take up to 7 days to start working after you get your SIM, it doesn’t work out of the box. And a few Android devices aren’t supported. But if it works it’s a great feature.

Useful link: The best networks for WiFi calling

Our WiFi calling rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Rank:
Joint 3rd

Not as good as:
Three, EE, 1pMobile, iD

Better than:
O2, Sky, Talkmobile


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Extra network features aren’t one of Lebara’s strengths

Other networks offer WiFi hotspotsRead our guide

at simsherpa.com
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Tethering is allowed on every Lebara SIM and you can tether your entire allowance if you so wish. They don’t say whether tethering works abroad. For now we expect it should work abroad.

Lebara don’t include any free WiFi hotspots and we can’t imagine they’ll introduce any, since Vodafone scrapped their own scheme. We have a guide to the best WiFi hotspot schemes across all networks here.

You also cannot forward incoming calls onto another number like you can on these networks. And you also can’t get visual voicemail on Lebara either, though you can customise your voicemail message how you like it.

And you can’t join Lebara on an eSIM. This makes sense as it’s mostly just the main networks that offer these. In all, you’ll be missing out on a few handy features on Lebara that you’d get on other networks.

Useful link: All providers that use Vodafone’s network

Our extra features rating
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Rank:
Joint Last

Not as good as:
EE, BT O2, Vodafone, VOXI, Three

Similar to:
Many others


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Where to next?

Our verdict

Network

Deals

Customer service

Lebara Mobile review: are they good enough for just UK usage (2024)

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