This article first appeared in our Ethical Shopping issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 30 October 2020. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Mobile phone customers get tied in and overcharged (to the tune of £182m a year) by a confusing mobile network industry that puts profits first.
The good news is that there’s now an alternative.
Just as challengers came along to shake up energy and banking, a third stagnant industry – telecoms – has just received an overdue wakeup call.
Andy Aitken and Josh Mihill co-founded Honest Mobile after watching Octopus and Monzo turn energy and banking on their heads. They realised nobody was making similar improvements for mobile phone customers.
‘Like banking and energy 10 years ago, the telecoms sector is dominated by old-school incumbents who tie you in to complicated contracts, overcharge you for being a loyal customer and keep you on hold’, Andy tells us. ‘There had to be a better way – and that’s why we launched Honest Mobile.’
If a lack of differentiation and innovation in the sector has been the problem, Honest Mobile looks very much like the solution. It provides carbon-neutral calls and data and plants trees for all its customers – all while providing the basics you’d expect: clear bills, great customer service, rewards for loyalty and a solution to network problems.
This focus on honesty and transparency helps to save customers cash; ‘We’re sick of seeing people put on the wrong plan in the hope they don’t notice’, Josh tells us, ‘so every month we let you know what the best plan for you is. You can change it in two clicks.’ Even without changing plans, Honest customers’ bills get cheaper each month thanks to an automatic Loyalty Discount.
Honest Mobile’s focus is very much on keeping customers happy – and its customer support is the best in the business (it really is – take a look at TrustPilot). Customer feedback
was one of the reasons for creating Honest Mobile Smart Signal, a unique bolt-on that lets you jump from one UK network to another.
Bag a 50% discount on your first month with Honest Mobile – plus a 10% lifetime discount – by using the code MyGreenPod when you checkout at honestmobile.co.uk. For every friend or family member you recommend, you’ll also both get a free month with Honest Mobile.
Honest’s core network provider is Three, but customers with Smart Signal enabled will automatically jump over to EE or O2 if they lose signal. ‘We’ve heard from our customers how important this is to them’, Andy tells us. ‘Many, particularly those who live in rural areas, say it has transformed the way they use their phones!’
In addition to breathing new life into a tired industry, Honest has also put sustainability at the core of its operations. Honest Mobile is the UK’s first carbon-neutral mobile network; every time you call, text or use your data, Honest measures the impact and offsets it through sustainable reforestation. It even offsets charging and handset manufacture – in total around 315kg a year on average.
Using the Honest Mobile app, you can track your impact by monitoring the trees Honest Mobile has planted for you.
‘We’ve baked sustainability into our business since day one’, Josh tells us. ‘From the very first time one of our test SIMs went live, all the usage has been carbon neutral.’
Honest Mobile became a certified B Corp in October. It began the process in the first month of operation, highlighting a commitment to people and the planet – not just profit – from day one. ‘We think it’s a duty of all businesses to work towards a radically more sustainable economy’, Andy says.
Andy and Josh would like to move the whole telecoms industry to more sustainable practices, like Octopus and Bulb have in the energy sector, while continuing to offer the best customer support in the industry. ‘There are lots of opportunities to grow in the future,’ Josh says, ‘but our focus right now is on keeping all our customers happy.’