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What is Carphone Warehouse iD and why is it a big deal?



UK smartphone retailer Carphone Warehouse has announced iD, its own mobile network. So what exactly is it?

The UK's pool of mobile network operators seems to be shrinking all the time. With EE rolling together Orange and T-Mobile in recent years, and Three set to subsume O2, we'll soon have just three main networks to choose from.

Needless to say, less choice in such situations is generally bad for consumers.

Fighting against this uniformity, there are a number of MVNO offerings, of which Carphone Warehouse's iD is the latest.

What's an MVNO?

An MVNO is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator. This means a network operator that doesn't own its own network, but rather piggy-backs on the technology of one of the major networks that do own the physical equipment.

GiffGaff and Tesco Mobile are two MVNOs that utilise O2's network for their offerings, for example.

Where does iD fit in?

iD sees Carphone Warehouse entering the MVNO fray, this time utilising Three's network, which was rated the UK’s Most Reliable Network in a recent YouGov survey. This 4G offering will launch with the promise of greater contract flexibility than the big mobile networks currently provide.

Carphone Warehouse is selling its new network on the basis that it has listened to what its customers want from their mobile contracts. Over the past 18 months the company has asked three million of its customers what they want in a mobile plan.

According to Carphone Warehouse, "You told us you didn’t like nasty surprises, wanted greater flexibility and hated expensive calls abroad."

SEE ALSO: Project Fi: How Google's going to change the mobile industry forever


The return of 12 month contracts

Something that you may have noticed has all but disappeared from UK network offerings in recent times is the 12 month contract.

You'll struggle to find any kind of subsidised phone deal on anything less than a 24 month basis, though there are some 18 month deals out there.

iD's contracts will be based on a 12 month span. This means that you're needn't tie yourself into a lengthy and binding contract. Of course, you'll be paying more each month for these contracts, but it will be over a shorter period.

Monthly caps

Another founding principle of iD is monthly caps, which will prevent users from going over their months call and data limits and paying extortionate fees as a result.

Inclusive roaming

The third major feature of iD's contracts is that roaming will be built into the contracts. You won't have to pay for an add-on when you want to take your phone abroad.

This will be the case across 22 countries, 20 of which are in Europe. Just to note, that's more countries than Three's own free-roaming plan (18 countries, 10 of which are in Europe) allows for.

iD phones

The first deal to launch under the iD banner will involve a Samsung Galaxy A3, an entry-level phone with a premium build that launched recently here in the UK. Think of it as a low-end Samsung Galaxy Alpha. The A3 will be offered up on a £19.50 per month, 12 month deal with 300 inclusive minutes, 5,000 texts and a 1GB 4G data allowance.

Next up is the Windows Phone-running Lumia 635, which is another mid-range handset that'll set you back £7.50 a month on a 24-month contract.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 rumours, release date, price and specs

Galaxy A3

What they say

Explaining the thinking behind iD, Carphone Warehouse UK CEO Graham Stapleton had this to say:

"People want greater flexibility from their plans and are fed up with the ‘one size fits all’ approach. We are also a generation obsessed with the mobile internet and accessing data and services on the move – things people are either paying too much for or just aren’t getting."

Possible conflict

Of course, Carphone Warehouse won't want to undercut the existing mobile networks too aggressively - after all, its core business is still selling mobile phones with contracts from the big four networks.

You only have to look at Phones4U's example to see how reliant such retailers are on network support.

Rather, expect iD to go on offering alternative contract lengths and terms, likely aimed at the more affordable end of the market.

SEE ALSO: What is VoLTE? The missing iPhone 6 feature


iD availability

Carphone Warehouse iD has now officially launched and you can sign up online, or in any Carphone Warehouse, Dixons Carphone, Currys, or PC World store.


April 23, 2015, 7:55 pm

As you intimate, I'm sure CW is minful of the experience of Phones4U at the hands of the networks. Once they get iD up and running, why would they not want to put more of their eggs into their own basket, at least to the extent that they are self-insured against the fate meted out to P4U?


January 25, 2016, 7:03 pm

I have been with ID mobile for nearly 3 months, it is great but DON'T BUY ADD ONs. I brought some one off ADD Ons in my last billing period which was midnight before the 14th of every month (this case jan) and if one off add ons haven't been used by that point they should be taken off (it states it on their website) my next billing month has all the "one off" add ons included in that bill. After waiting on the phone for over an hour, three times, being hung up and having to email them. 4 days back and though though email, they seem to not understand when I said "I haven't purchased" these add ons for this billing month and apparently their is nothing they can do for me in regards of it. I would get my PAC Code, if it wasn't for the fact NO ONE PICKS UP.

Aminul Hussain

February 19, 2016, 1:17 am

Worst mobile network ever, scam.
After first month, they put me on a budget plan without telling me. Originally 10GB usage reduced to 500Mb paying. Later got a bill for £150. When I wanted to cancel they wanted to change me cancellation fee for 1 year contract when I originally signed for a monthly contract.


May 16, 2016, 9:03 pm

ID Mobile is the biggest scam ever. Avoid Carphone Warehouse, they're promoting in a big way. ID - They give you no transparency, they just want to hit with extra data charges. STAY AWAY


June 20, 2016, 12:46 pm

If you are reading this, please DO NOT sign up with ID Mobile. From the moment I signed up with ID I had no 3G/4G on my phone. I was passed around two three Carphone Warehouse stores and nobody would help me. In the end I had to opt for a SIM swap, which still didn't solve the solution. This was a lengthy process that spanned just over a month due to ID's incompetence. In the end I cancelled the contract. ID refuse to reimburse me any charges despite the fact that I bought into the contract on the basis that I would have 4G internet. SCAM. AVOID.


June 23, 2016, 1:50 pm

Absolutely right! ID mobile is fraud company! signing contract with ID is a blunder! very customer service agents , no proper help and support. Surprise overcharged bill and doesn't agree with facts. Plans looks cheaper but very poor signal and overcharging bills in your hand. I will never sign contract with ID mobile. If you don't want to go through the painful process, AVOID Id mobile.


July 29, 2016, 10:41 am

To any and ALL people considering using ID Mobile:


Not only did they take 50mb of data off my phone while I was sleeping, in my own house with the Wifi turned on the very first day I received it!! ...
((which supposedly unless you manually turn off the mobile data even with wifi on they will still use the data... wtf?? ))

But then after calling them the very next day saying I wanted it cancelling i told them I couldn't get to a store till the thursday, told that wouldn't be a problem and as I was cancelling within the first 14 days there would be no charge...... They have sent me a bill for £4 for the 4 days I had the contract ((including the days before I even RECEIVED the phone!!!! ))... because it wasn't returned till the Thursday...



August 1, 2016, 1:39 pm

Worst Mobile network and probably the worst customer service team in a mobile network operating in the uk. I was over charged for my bills for not been able to use the network! or receive or send text! Mobile internet was Joke.
Please pay extra few quid and go for decent network "o2" other wise you will end up with hear aches every time you ask for assistance or reported an error.
I have been to the Ombudsman but ID mobile record keeping was not that great infract the information provided to the investigation officers appeared to be vetted!


August 19, 2016, 2:25 pm

What an absolute waste of my time and money. Blinkered by the extra 2GB of 4G data for £2 less a month than GiffGaff... wish id never left them!
3 months of next to no signal at home regardless of the checker saying i had 'excellent coverage' the 4G speeds where non existent, the customer service... dont even get me started on how rude and unhelpful they are!
I was charged £3+ extra a month for international calls and texts to several different numbers that i had never made and even after bringing this to their attention the best they could was to credit my account with the difference - but this involved me having to have the same 25 minute conversation every month because no notes where left on my account?!
My phone then completely rejected my sim card for no apparent reason, to which customer service had no resolve and told it my phone must be faulty - a journey to an independent repair shop and £20 out of pocket and 2 weeks with no phone, it came back with the same issues - popped my old giffgaff sim in and hey presto - working straight away... online account balance with ID mobile - £14.30 after not using it once. Another phone call and no resolve. D/D cancelled and back to Giffgaff
needless to say i wish i had read the reviews first. DO NOT BE BLINKERED BY HIGH DATA ALLOWANCE!

Heathen Geek

August 24, 2016, 11:48 am

Thank you to those who shared their experiences below.
I was going to sign up to one of the iD contracts but after having a bit of a read, I think I'll look into giffgaff instead.
I hope someone from iD is reading this because your apparently crappy service has just cost you a 24 month contract.


September 30, 2016, 1:07 pm

ID is the worst phone provider I have ever been with. I never get service at home, while I am driving, inside my work... everyone laughs at the fact that they can never get through to me. I am 10 months into a 12 month contract and will be cancelling the minute the contract is up. I initially joined because of the ability to use my phone for free abroad, which actually hasn't been an issue - but one month they charged me 70 pounds for going an extra 500mb over my 10gb limit without warning (so the 'caps' above are only for a select few plans, not all of them) - and I really doubt I used that much - think this was a huge scam. When I wanted to get through to them to help troubleshoot some issues, the stress and terrible customer service involved is not worth a cheap contract. Stay away.


October 23, 2016, 9:41 am

ID is horrible, worse provider I ever been on. I took a monthly £5 contract Sim only as they providing 1.5GB of data and 250 min free. But every month they were taking £10, £12 and sometime £14. I was furious and I made enquiry why my bills double suddenly. ID mobile told me I subscribe to some premium txt message which I had no knowledge of. I asked for refund which they never paid me back when I wanted to cancel my contract by giving by giving 30 days notice I found my contract was still running and direct debit the amount of £15 £20 was being taken out from my account. So I stopped the direct debit through my bank. IB mobile then threaten me via email to put the direct debit back as it was before. I informed them I already gave notice to you and you still continue my contract. So I was not going to put ID mobile back on the direct debit. I then receive a final bill through the post the amount of £12 in which I ignored. Two month later I received a letter from Creditlink Account Recovery Solutions a Debt Collection Agency that ID mobile refer to claim back the money. I then decided to pay the remaining money. The IDmobile are the biggest are scammers.


November 28, 2016, 12:04 am

Don't join ID mobile they are scum, they mis sold me a phone and their customer service are cenying i was mis sold. Ofcom are currently involved.

KC Cooper

January 23, 2017, 12:29 pm

To echo others on here, ID Mobile are the worst I have ever experienced. They messed up the porting of my number and it's been 6 days so far and still not resolved as I still can't receive phone calls. Their customer service team are useless, don't understand the implications or consider the fact that their mistakes are affecting their customers so much. I'm potentially losing work over this as no one can contact me. I'm so frustrated and angry that a company like this can continue to operate.

If you never have to contact them, you might be fine. But if you do, you'll regret ever signing up with them.

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