New UK PAYG network Now open for business

A new player in the Pay As You Go mobile sector has arrived in the UK. Now Mobile has launched a no-nonsense service that promises low cost call packages and extremely competitive international rates.

The network offers a free SIM card to anybody that signs up on nowmobile.co.uk, which will, obviously, work in any unlocked handset. And there are three non-contract price plans to choose from.

The Standard Plan is a basic PAYG model, but includes free voicemail and customer services. There's also a Club Plan and 1st Class Plan, each of which offers progressively more free Now to Now call minutes and texts for £10 and £20 a month respectively.

In addition, Now offers bundle packages, costing £5 to £25, each giving greater amounts of minutes and texts to any network the higher up the price bracket you go.

There really is little else to it, except those international rates, which are definitely in the lower bracket in comparison to competitors'. For example, calls to the US cost 4p per minute - not bad.

Roaming rates, however, aren't quite so cheap. Calling the UK from the US, for instance, costs 96p per minute, while receiving a call will set you back 80p. Data roaming charges abroad are, in the more common countries, £2.50 per MB (although it can rise dramatically when off the beaten track).

And with only 5MB free in the UK (15p per MB extra), this is not really the network for smartphone owners.

However, for those who use a phone as a phone, and who may make calls to other countries on a regular basis, it's certainly an interesting new option.