Engine Mobile - Frequently Asked Questions

ParentShield from Engine Mobile is a completely new type of mobile phone service. Here are some answers to questions we are frequently asked. If there's something we've not covered, you can email us at: hello@engine-mobile.co.uk

1What is Engine Mobile?

Engine Mobile is a new breed of mobile telephone service, designed to help parents and guardians protect children and vulnerable people from the risks that are associated with them having their own phone. Our service provides parents and guardians with the ability to listen to all calls, read all texts and limit the internet access through an online portal. This service works in the same way as a normal SIM would for the child or vulnerable person, but provides important safety benefits.

The end user experience is identical to that of any other mobile network.

2Do you have coverage in my area?

Our SIM cards are Roaming SIMs and will connect to Vodafone, EE, T-Mobile, Orange and O2 networks. If you have coverage from any of these networks where you are, the answer is YES!

(if you're on the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey we also work with Manx Telecom, Jersey Telecom, Sure and Airtel)

3What is a Roaming SIM?
A UK Roaming SIM, allows your child's phone to automatically connect to the strongest network in their area, meaning that they will have signal in nearly all areas of the UK (excluding remote areas). We believe this to be a great safety feature, as where ever your child goes, they will nearly always be able to be in contact with home, which wouldn't be the case if the SIM connected to one specific network.
4How do the Home Numbers work?

Each account has "Home Numbers", which are free for all SIMs associated with that account to contact, via calls or SMS.

To prevent abuse of this feature, you can only change these numbers every 30 days. These numbers normally contain the mobile number of the child's mother & father and a home or family friends number.

5How do the Specific Word Alerts work?

The new "Specific Word Alerts" allow the account holder to be alerted when the user uses a certain word or phrase. As soon as a text containing an alert word or phrase is detected, the account holder will receive a text, containing the word that has been used and a link to the portal to allow the account holder to take necessary action as soon as possible.

You can set alerts for as many words as you feel necessary, which can be added in your online account under the settings section.

6What is Phone GeoLocation?
Phone Geolocation uses advanced triangulation technology to identify the location of a phone. This technology is usually used by the Police to find a missing person, which we hope won't be the case for you and your child. We hope that this part of the service will give you the ability to know if your child is where they claim to be.
7How does Time-Restricted Mode work?
The Time-Restricted Mode has been designed to give you, as a parent total control over when your child can use their phone. You have the ability to block all communications to and from the phone between your chosen hours, such as after bedtime or during school hours. This can be done in the settings in your portal.

During the restricted time period, the Phone can only be used to contact, and be contacted by the three "Home Numbers" or, of course, the Emergency Services

8Is it possible to completely block internet access?
It is only possible to block your child from accessing the internet through mobile data, as they will still be able to connect to the internet through a wifi connection. Although we don't have the power to block internet access through a wifi connection, your internet provider should be able to give you the option to use appropriate parental controls, to ensure that your child will always be protected.
9How long will I be able to view the recorded information for?
The information recorded by the Engine Mobile SIM will be stored in your online portal for 6 months after the record was created. If you wish to keep any of the records for a longer term than 6 months, you can download the records to keep as potential evidence. If any of the records are of no interest to you they can be simply deleted to make it easier to manage the information.
10Can I block and unblock numbers?
Yes you can block as many numbers you feel necessary. This can be easily done in the online portal by finding the number that you would like to block in the call history and simply clicking block. This number will then be blocked from calling or being called from the Engine Mobile SIM until you, the account holder unblock the number.
11Will my child be able to be contacted by withheld numbers?

You can choose whether to allow withheld ( anonymous ) callers or not in the account's settings.

Your child will be unable to be contacted by withheld numbers when Ultra Secure Mode is turned on, but they will be allowed when Ultra Secure Mode is turned off.


1What will I see as the Network Name at the top of my phone?

You'll see the brand of the Network you're currently attached to, so if you're in an area where Vodafone provides the strongest signal - you'll see "Vodafone UK". If your phone has roamed to O2 - you'll see "O2-UK" etc.

The Roaming means you experience far fewer 'mobile blackspots' than if you're tied to just one carrier

2Can the user of the Engine Mobile SIM bypass the recordings?
No, the user of the Engine Mobile SIM can't bypass their activity being recorded while using an Engine-Mobile SIM card. The user will be unable to tell any difference from using any other mobile network.
3Can I keep my current number?
Yes you can keep your current number, this will need to be done after you have set up your account. If you wish to transfer your current number to your new Engine-Mobile SIM, please use the form at: https://engine-mobile.co.uk/number-porting/
4Will the SIM card work with all types of mobile phones?
Yes, your Engine Mobile SIM will work with any mobile phone, but it's vital that you insert the correct size of SIM, or else the SIM will not work. You can find out what size of SIM you need from your phones instruction booklet, or through a quick internet search.
5Will my phone need to be unlocked to use an Engine Mobile SIM?
Yes in order to use the Engine Mobile service, you will need an unlocked mobile phone, so that it is open to all networks. You can buy unlocked mobile phones through our partnership with Carphone Warehouse that will already be unlocked and ready to use with an Engine Mobile SIM or unlock your current phone.
6Are Engine Mobile SIMs available in Standard, Micro and Nano sizes?
Engine Mobile SIM cards are available in all sizes, but it's up to you as the customer to purchase the correct size of SIM to fit correctly into your chosen phone. If you order a Micro SIM it will arrive as a Standard SIM and you will need to convert it to the Micro size. To convert the SIM card into a Micro sized SIM, hold the angled corner of the SIM and push the golden chip until they separate, this will give you a Micro SIM and you will be ready to insert it into your phone.


1I've placed an order - what happens now?

In a day or two you'll receive a little padded envelope in the post at the address you specified as the delivery address, containing your SIM Card(s).

Pop them in a phone and turn the phone on. Within a minute or so the phone will receive a text message with its new telephone number. At the same time you'll receive an email with your temporary portal password. The username will be your email address.

You can then log in, change your password, and top up the account if you wish. You're good to go.

2Will this service work abroad and how much will it cost?
The Engine Mobile service won't yet work abroad, but if the engine mobile user tries to use the phone whilst abroad they may still be charged for trying to use the the sim to communicate.
3Additional Costs

Here at Engine-Mobile, we have a close working relationship with the Major UK mobile network providers, 02, EE & Vodafone, to ensure that our network and it's features work as smoothly as possible.

If you (a parent or guardian) have your own mobile phone contract with a smaller UK mobile provider, such as Plus net, Giff Gaff or a supermarket network, there is a small risk that you MAY be charged a small amount for texting your child's Engine-Mobile number. If this does happen, it is important that you contact your network to resolve the billing problem.

Below is a billing comparison table for the rate that you will be charged to contact numbers that aren't entered into your Home Numbers.

£0.30 per minute£0.30 per minute£0.30 per minute£0.18 per minute
£0.20 per message£0.15 per message£0.14 per message£0.14 per message
£12 per 1000MB£30 per 1000MB£13 per 1000MB£25.00 per 1000MB


1How does the service comply with Data protection or Privacy laws?

We have taken a large amount of time to ensure that our service complies with these laws.

In practice, our service is the same as a parent monitoring the websites that their child visits, which is recommended by large organisations who deal with safeguarding as guardians have a legal responsibility to protect vulnerable people in their care.

As the SIM card is in the control of the guardian for their own personal use, it doesn’t count as an interception as defined in RIPA 2000.

You are quite legally allowed to record your own phone calls as long as the calls aren’t sent to a third party.

Privacy and Data protection is covered by the privacy and electronic communications regulations 2003.

Our responsibility is covered under section 5 ( appropriate measures) which ensure that calls are stored securely, can only be accessed using the most secure SSL encryption protocols, and ONLY by the account holder. Calls and SMS messages are deleted securely when required.

All Data is hosted securely encrypted in the UK

2You're an MVNO - which network are you on?
Yes, Phone Engines and Engine Mobile are a full MVNO - A Mobile Virtual Network Operator; but we're not totally virtual! We produce SIM cards that are true UK roaming and we own and control our own telephony infrastructure. The Engine SIMs will connect to whichever mobile network is the strongest, wherever you are. This gives you the very best signal and network available. Especially in rural areas.

We are telephone system developers and programmers and proudly own and secure our own interchange hardware that links to the other networks. That's how we can cram so many features into our service. We have two UK data centres at present linked to the UK's major Internet Peering points in both London and Manchester. Our NOC is at our offices in South Derby.

All our numbers are in the range 079783 and are in-tariff with every major carrier in the UK so will be treated just like any other mobile number as far as other carriers are concerned. However please check with your mobile company to make sure.

If you have technical questions about the service, or are interested in peering with us, please feel free to email the development team directly:


We will soon be announcing peering relationships with some overseas networks to take Engine into other countries.

3I'm worried about phone-hacking. How does Engine Mobile protect me?
Phone hacking is the process used to remotely access stored voicemail messages. Engine Mobile, by virtue of its secure system, will only allow access to messages from the sim-enabled phone itself, or from the Secure Portal. Third-party access is impossible so the voicemail cannot be hacked. If you have anymore questions about the Engine Mobile Service, you can contact us at 0330 122 1180, or email hello@engine-mobile.co.uk

If you have any questions you'd like to add to this page, please contact us


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