LycaMobile is a virtual network operated by LycaTel. It was launched in 2006 and specialises in cheap international calls from mobiles. As a result, it has proved to be very popular amongst expatriate customers and signed up 1.6 million UK customers in its first year. Now, it has more than 6 million PAYG customers worldwide, connects over 2.5 million calls every day and has £1.1 billion revenue. It generates a total of 3 billion minutes of calls per year. LycaMobile operates on the O2 and Orange networks in the UK.
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LycaMobile is a specialist international carrier but, surprisingly, it’s still very competitive on domestic rates. UK mobiles are only 10p per minute while UK texts are 9p each. Amazingly, LycaMobile also offer UK landline calls at only 3p per minute and free voicemail too.
However, the real reason you would use LycaMobile is if you make lots of international calls. They offer incredible 1p/minute rates to tons of countries such as India, China, South Africa, Nigeria, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Egypt. However, you should check whether the countries you need to call are good value on LycaMobile.
LycaMobile now runs on the O2 network and coverage is generally fine. They also have a useful online account management feature. Although the customer services call centre is located in India, it does have the benefit of being multilingual. Unfortunately, LycaMobile currently don’t offer any MMS services at all which is frankly shocking. The rates for 0870 and 0800 numbers are also astronomical.
The main problem with LycaMobile is that the offers are very misleading and that there are tons of hidden charges. For example, although it advertises free internet, this is capped at only 10MB per day and is 2G only so no fast 3G speeds. Even worse, LycaMobile claim that calls to LycaMobile Plus numbers are completely free. However, this only applies to LycaMobile Plus numbers in non-UK countries and there’s actually a 15p flat connection fee for these calls. If that’s not bad enough, they are also limited to 30 minutes in length otherwise you’ll get charged extra. As you can see, it’s incredibly misleading to claim (in capitals, no less) that these calls are “free”. The tariff is also incredibly difficult to understand. Thankfully, we’ve done a great job at deciphering it and you can read about the details of the new LycaMobile Plus tariff later in this review.
Overall, LycaMobile offers a good service at a very cheap rate as long as you fully understand all of the pricing scheme and the total you’ll be charged. They have good customer service and charge fair rates for UK calls and texts. Their 3p/minute price for UK landlines is amazing and their cheap international calls to several countries is rather useful to many people. Just be sure to thoroughly read our pricing summary below and check the rates that apply to you before signing up.
At a glance
LycaMobile used to offer a service on Orange using 075 numbers but has now phased that out and only offers its new LycaMobile Plus tariff that uses 074 numbers and the O2 network. The rates can be quite confusing but we’ve done our best to explain them clearly below.
As previously mentioned, LycaMobile Plus hasn’t got the best UK rates, but offers amazingly cheap international calls and texts. Still, UK calls are very reasonable at 10p/minute and texts are only 9p each. LycaMobile Plus really offers something special on its UK landline rates though – at only 3p/minute it’s cheaper than even the best value budget networks such as Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile. LycaMobile also give each customer 10MB of data each day free.
Of course though, the best aspect of the LycaMobile Plus tariff is found when looking at the international rates. International texts start from 2p each and calls vary from 1p/minute to Europe to 4p/minute to the US and Canada. There are also 1p/minute rates to some countries. However, you should bear in mind that these are only the lowest rates – most countries will cost a lot more. Also, the call rates to mobile numbers are much higher than to landlines and most texts are 10p not 2p.
LycaMobile Plus offers tons of deals but be sure to read the relevant small-print before signing up. They offer free minutes and texts when topping up but these only work to UK LycaMobile Plus numbers. However, for £5 you do get 150 minutes and 150 texts and for £30 you get a massive 2000 minutes and 2000 texts. These allowances last for a month and afterwards calls to UK LycaMobile Plus numbers cost 7p per minute.
LycaMobile also advertise that if you call LycaMobiles in other countries, the call is completely free. While the deal is still quite good, it’s not exactly “free”. In actuality, you can call for a single 15p connection fee but the call can only last for 30 minutes otherwise you’ll start being charged the standard rate. Still, this is good value for the participating countries.
Another deal on offer is LycaMobile Favourites. This gives you 2000 international minutes to call your favourite 3 numbers for £10 per month. Finally, LycaMobile offer bundles that give you, for example, 250 UK mobile and landline minutes for £10 or 800 UK mobile and landline minutes for £20. You can also buy bundles of cheap international minutes to selected countries.
To compare LycaMobile’s latest pricing with that of other networks, please see our conclusive price comparison page.
LycaMobile runs on the Orange network but the new LycaMobile Plus tariff is only on O2. Please see the our LycaMobile coverage page to learn the network coverage in your area. For more information, compare it with other mobile phone networks’ coverage.
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