Compare Pay As You Go Networks: Prices & Coverage

August 12th, 2015

Looking for the best Pay As You Go mobile network in the UK? Our interactive comparison table allows you to compare multiple networks by price and coverage.

Top UpIf you’re looking for a Pay As You Go mobile network in the UK, you’re spoilt for choice with almost 20 networks to choose from. Indeed, the UK is one of the most competitive marketplaces in the world for mobile telecoms. There are lots of great deals to be had on the market: just order a free SIM card and you can start taking advantage of lower rates for calling and browsing.

When choosing a Pay As You Go mobile network, there are two primary considerations you need to think about. Firstly, the price: you’ll want to get the best deal without paying more than you need to. Secondly, there’s the coverage: you’ll want a mobile network that gives you good and reliable signal.

The table below is intended to help you with navigating the UK’s mobile market. For each Pay As You Go network, we’ve listed the charges for accessing the internet, for making a phone call and for sending a text message. We’ve also listed the coverage provider for each mobile network and provided a link to where you can check the network coverage. You can use the table in conjunction with our other guides when choosing a new network.

To sort the table, please click on the relevant column heading.

NetworkInternet (per day)Calls (per min)Texts (per SMS)Picture Message (MMS)VoicemailSpecial Rate (per min)Coverage Provider
EE-
(fixed, 500MB per month)
30p12p40p30p
per minute
44p
+ service charge
EE Review
giffgaff20p
(fixed, 20MB per day)
10p6p16p8p
per call
15p
+ service charge
O2 Review
O2 Big Bundles£1
(fixed, 50MB per day)
35p14p35p30p
per call
25p
+ service charge
O2 Review
O2 Big Talker£1
(fixed, 50MB per day)
30p14p35p20p
per call
25p
+ service charge
O2
Three~10p
(estimated from 1p/MB)
3p2p31p3p
per minute
25p
+ service charge
Three Review
Vodafone Big Value Bundles£2
(fixed, 50MB per day)
35p14p36p35p
per minute
23p
+ service charge
Vodafone Review
Vodafone Freebie Tariffs£2
(fixed, 50MB per day)
30p14p36p30p
per minute
23p
+ service charge
Vodafone
ASDA Mobile~50p
(estimated from 5p/MB)
8p4p25p8p
per minute
8p
+ service charge
EE Review
Co-operative Mobile~50p
(estimated from 5p/MB)
8p4p25p4p
per minute
21p
+ service charge
EE
Delight Mobile~90p
(estimated from 9p/MB)
10p
(5p to landline)
10p25p5p
per minute
-EE
Lebara Mobile~£1.90
(estimated from 19p/MB)
19p19p45p19p
per minute
25p
+ service charge
Vodafone
Lycamobile~90p
(estimated from 9p/MB)
19p
(12p to landline)
19p-0p
per call
23p
+ service charge
O2 Review
Mobile By Sainsbury's~50p
(estimated from 5p/MB)
8p4p25p8p
per call
15p
+ service charge
Vodafone Review
Orange Racoon~£6.50
(estimated from 65p/MB)
14p14p40p14p
per minute
44p
+ service charge
EE Review
Orange Dolphin~£6.50
(estimated from 65p/MB)
30p12p40p30p
per minute
44p
+ service charge
EE Review
Post Office Mobile~£1
(estimated from 10p/MB)
8p10p40p8p
per minute
30p
+ service charge
EE
T-Mobile£1
(fixed, 500MB per month)
35p14p30p35p
per minute
44p
+ service charge
EE Review
Talkmobile25p
(fixed, 25MB per day)
8p4p30p8p
per minute
15p
+ service charge
Vodafone
Tesco Mobile ~£1
(estimated from 10p/MB)
25p10p25p15p
per minute
25p
+ service charge
O2 Review
Tesco Mobile Lite~£1
(estimated from 10p/MB)
8p4p25p8p
per minute
25p
+ service charge
O2 Review
The People's Operator~10p
(estimated from 1p/MB)
5p3p30p5p
per minute
5p
+ service charge
EE Review
Vectone Mobile~90p
(estimated from 9p/MB)
19p
(12p to landline)
19p25p10p
per minute
-EE
Virgin Mobile£1
(fixed, 100MB per day)
35p12p30p26p
per call
36p
+ service charge
EE

Sources: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, o2.co.uk, o2.co.uk, three.co.uk, freesim.vodafone.co.uk, freesim.vodafone.co.uk, mobile.asda.com, payg.thephone.coop, delightmobile.co.uk, lebara.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, phoneshopbysainsburys.co.uk, ee.co.uk, mobile.postoffice.co.uk, ee.co.uk, talkmobile.co.uk, tescomobile.com, tescomobile.com, thepeoplesoperator.com, vectonemobile.co.uk, store.virginmedia.com. Last updated on 15th July 2015.

For pricing on other types of usage (e.g. voicemail, picture messages and special rate phone numbers), you can hover your mouse over the “…” column.

We endeavour to keep the information in the table above as up-to-date as possible. If you know of any changes to the pricing on each network, please contact us either by leaving a comment below or by sending us an e-mail.

Below, we’ve provided some background information on each column in the comparison table above.

Mobile Internet

data-binaryIn the UK, Pay As You Go mobile networks charge for data in one of two ways: either on a “per megabyte” basis or on a fixed daily rate. Due to the differences in how data is charged, it can sometimes be difficult to compare the price across networks.

To simplify the data cost comparison, we’ve estimated the daily data cost on each network. To come up with this, we assume a typical usage of around 10MB per day. This corresponds to approximately 20 web pages, 3000 instant messages, 2 music tracks, one minute of online video, 10 minutes of online radio or 0.7 smartphone applications (any data transferred using wi-fi will not be counted towards your mobile internet usage).

For a more accurate comparison, you may want to enter your own estimates of data usage (e.g. if you’re a light or heavy user). In order to customise the comparison, please enter your estimated data usage here.

For someone using 10MB per day, the cheapest mobile networks are currently as follows:

At A Glance: The Cheapest Networks For Mobile Internet
Three 1p/MB (10p/day for 10MB)
The People's Operator 1p/MB (10p/day for 10MB)
giffgaff 20p/day for up to 20MB/day
Talkmobile Essentials25p/day for up to 25MB/day

Phone Calls

Phone CallWhenever you make an outgoing phone call, you’ll be charged for this on a per-minute basis. Each mobile network has a standard rate which applies when you’re calling a mobile or landline (these are phone numbers beginning with 01, 02, 03 or 07). Occasionally, there’ll be a discounted rate for calling landline numbers. In this case, we’ve separately listed the per-minute rate for calling a landline.

Other types of phone call will be charged differently to this rate. For instance, if you’re calling a special-rate phone number, higher rates will apply for the call (see the section below on special rate phone calls). Calls to voicemail and calls abroad will also be charged differently to the normal rate.

Please note: most mobile networks have a minimum charge for every outgoing phone call. This is normally equivalent to the cost of a one minute call. For instance, if your mobile network charges 10p/minute then the minimum call charge will normally be 10p/call.

You’ll never be charged to receive a phone call in the UK.

At A Glance: The Cheapest Networks For Making A Phone Call
Three 3p per minute
The People's Operator 5p per minute
ASDA Mobile 8p per minute
Co-operative Mobile 8p per minute
Mobile By Sainsbury's 8p per minute
Post Office Mobile 8p per minute
Talkmobile Essentials8p per minute
Tesco Mobile Lite8p per minute

Text Messages (SMS)

iMessage VS SMSA SMS text message is able to contain up to 160 characters. If you exceed 160 characters, your message could be split and sent as multiple SMS messages. In this case, you’ll be billed additionally for every extra message sent (e.g. you’ll be charged double if your text message is split into 2 SMS).

In recent years, the cost of sending a text message has become much less important on mobile phone tariffs. This is because users with a smartphone can avoid paying for SMS messages (e.g. by using iMessage, WhatsApp, Snapchat or Facebook Messenger). With these instant messaging apps, you can send messages for free using a wi-fi connection. When you’re out and about, normal 3G data charges will apply for the usage.

At A Glance: The Cheapest Networks For Texting
Three 2p per message
The People's Operator 3p per message
ASDA Mobile 4p per message
Co-operative Mobile 4p per message
Mobile By Sainsbury's 4p per message
Talkmobile Essentials4p per message
Tesco Mobile Lite4p per message

Other Charges

There are three other types of charge also listed in the table above (MMS picture messages, voicemail and special rate phone calls). You can see information on the charges by placing your mouse on the … column in the table above.

Picture Messages

Galaxy S6 CameraOn most 3G handsets, you can send a picture message over the mobile network using MMS functionality (Multimedia Messaging Service). The cost of a picture message can range from 16p to 45p per MMS message. Each MMS can be up to 300KB in size. If you’d like to avoid paying for MMS, you can use an instant messaging app such as iMessage or WhatsApp (you won’t be charged for sending a MMS message when using these applications).

At A Glance: The Cheapest Networks For Sending A Picture Message
giffgaff 16p per picture minute
ASDA Mobile 25p per picture minute
Co-operative Mobile 25p per picture minute
Delight Mobile 25p per picture minute
Mobile By Sainsbury's 25p per picture minute
Tesco Mobile 25p per picture minute
Tesco Mobile Lite25p per picture minute
Vectone Mobile 25p per picture minute

Voicemail

Most mobile networks will offer a voicemail service for when you aren’t able to receive an incoming call (e.g. for when your phone is switched off or for when you miss an incoming call). With voicemail, you’ll normally be charged twice for the service: once when an incoming caller leaves a message on your voicemail and again when you later listen back to the voicemail.

At A Glance: The Cheapest Networks For Accessing Your Voicemail
Three 3p per minute
giffgaff 8p per call
Co-operative Mobile 4p per minute
Mobile By Sainsbury's 8p per call
Delight Mobile 5p per minute
The People's Operator 5p per minute

Special Rate Phone Calls (to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers)

UK Calling Logo

As of July 2015, the cost of calling special rate numbers is split into two parts: an access charge and a service charge.

If you’re calling a special rate phone number (phone numbers beginning with 084, 087, 09 or 118), you’ll be charged differently to when you’re making a normal phone call.

With special rate numbers, the charge is divided into two separate parts. Firstly, there’s a per-minute access charge from your mobile phone network (you can save money by choosing the network with the lowest access charge). Secondly, there’s a service charge from the company you’re calling (this is always the same regardless of the network you’re calling from).

The following mobile networks currently have the lowest per-minute access charge:

At A Glance: The Cheapest Networks For Making A Special Rate Call
The People's Operator 5p/minute access charge + service charge
ASDA Mobile 8p/minute access charge + service charge
giffgaff 15p/minute access charge + service charge
Mobile By Sainsbury's 15p/minute access charge + service charge
Talkmobile Essentials15p/minute access charge + service charge

Coverage Provider

UK

All mobile networks provide at least 98% coverage. In certain locations, the quality of coverage might differ.

In the UK, only four companies currently hold a license to build their own mobile network: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. Each of the companies has licensed spectrum from the government and maintains their own network of mobile phone masts. All other companies offering a mobile phone service will lease spare capacity from one of the four coverage providers.

The level of coverage offered on a Pay As You Go network depends solely upon the coverage provider they use. Click through to the coverage checker maps for each provider – they’ll inform you whether coverage is available in your area:

Based on the results of this comparison, you should eliminate any networks using a coverage provider that gives poor signal in your area. For more information, please see our in-depth guide on how to check and compare mobile network coverage.

Handset Compatibility

giffgaff smartphones include the Xperia Z1, Galaxy S4 and Note 3.Providing your handset is unlocked, it should work on any mobile network in the table above. The only exception is for 2G-only handsets: 2G-only handsets will not work on the Three network (this is because Three only provides 3G and 4G coverage).

If you already have a smartphone that’s unlocked, you can order a free SIM card from most networks above. The SIM card will slot inside your existing unlocked smartphone: you’ll get lower calling rates and you can even keep your existing number. When ordering your SIM card, be sure to choose a SIM card of the right size.

If your smartphone is currently locked to a network, see our guides to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy. It’ll sometimes be free to unlock your handset though some mobile networks will charge up to £19.99. If you’re looking a buy a new handset that’s unlocked at the point of sale, look out for SIM-free smartphones at a retailer such as Amazon.co.uk.

Bundles & Credit Expiry

For customers who use their smartphone fairly regularly, it’s normally better value to convert your credit into a 30-day bundle. When buying a bundle, you’ll get a set amount of airtime for a fixed price every month. For instance, giffgaff will give you 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet for only £10 per month. Other bundles at £10 per month include:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaff500Unlimited1GB£10.00
EE150Unlimited500MB£10.00
O22501,000500MB£10.00
Three1003,000500MB£10.00
Vodafone150Unlimited500MB£10.00
giffgaff500Unlimited3GB£12.00

For more information, see our guide to Pay As You Go bundles. You can also read our in-depth reviews of EE’s Everything Packs, giffgaff’s Goodybags, O2’s Big Bundles, Three’s All-in-One and Vodafone’s Big Value Bundles.

Order giffgaff SIM Card (Free) »
The £10 goodybag comes with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB internet (coverage from O2)

For customers who rarely use their handset (e.g. if your mobile phone is mainly for emergencies), it’s important to be aware of the inactivity policy on your Pay As You Go network. If you don’t use your SIM card for a certain amount of time (normally for more than 6 months), your account could be closed and your credit could expire.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re changing mobile networks, it’s super easy to keep your existing phone number. Simply ask your old mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code and then give this code to your new network. The process should only take one working day. For more information, see our guide on moving your phone number between networks.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

I'm a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005 with the aim of demystifying mobile technology for the rest of us.

Before writing about mobile technology, my background was in space & atmospheric physics. I have also worked in software development. Nowadays, I help companies to explain mobile technology to their customers. Please check out my portfolio or get in touch for more information. I'm also on Google+.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 39 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. John said:

    I’d like to note that, according to the EE website, for international calling with EE you may add the call abroad addon for free, which offers good rates, even lower than calling within the UK. Just a note of that.

  2. Angus Day said:

    Although Three and The People’s Operator have the same 1p charge for data, only TPO will connect to the 2G network for a simple Feature Phone. Conversely, only Three provides 4G for a Smartphone. Horses for courses!

  3. Mike R said:

    I was with “Family Mobile” (IKEA) PAYG with whom I was quite happy, but they are now closing down.
    One of their key features, for me, was the Automatic Top-Up, taking £10 from my credit card when my credit expired.
    Are there any other providers that provide a similar auto top-up PAYG service? All those I have looked at seem to require a “manual” top-up. I don’t want a “package”, as I am a very low user.
    Grateful for any advice.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Mike,
      Thanks for your comment. Certain other networks do indeed also have an auto top-up feature. My recommendation is probably to go with giffgaff (info here on how to set up their auto top-up feature). There’s no need to buy a goodybag when using this service as it also works with their normal Pay As You Go rates (10p/minute, 6p/text & 20p/day for up to 20MB of internet). Other networks might also have this service but you’ll sometimes need to buy a bundle to use it (unfortunately, I don’t have a full list of networks to hand).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      1. Mike R replied:

        Ken,
        Many thanks for your helpful advice.
        I wanted to avoid a bundle, and you have also confirmed the good reports I have read of giffgaff (more than I can say of Family Mobile…).
        Regards,
        Mike

  4. Simon said:

    I’d like to get an old style Credit SIM only for my 9 year old as an emergency phone now he’s moving to middle school.

    I don’t want data as its a basic phone that he will use to either phone or text, no internet or games.

    What I want is to put credit on but it lasts for a least 6 months if he doesn’t use it.

    They all seem to last only a month now.

    The phone is unlocked and 2G, yes I know we cant use the 3 network. I have a number of these old phones he could use.

    any help is gratefully received.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Simon,
      Thanks for your comment. With the SIM cards listed on this page, your credit doesn’t expire after one month. In fact, your credit should last indefinitely providing you keep the SIM card active by using it occasionally (make sure you avoid buying a Pay As You Go bundle).
      As you aren’t able to get a SIM card from Three (Three requires you to have a 3G-compatible handset), I would recommend the SIM cards from either ASDA Mobile or Mobile by Sainsbury’s (they charge 8p/minute and 4p/text). You can also consider a SIM card from giffgaff (slightly more expensive at 10p/minute and 6p/text). All three SIM cards will happily work in a 2G-only handset.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  5. J. Swindlehurst said:

    I have an old Nokia phone on pay as you go and I’ve had no network coverage from Orange forvtge last few days even though there is £11 still on the phone. I have purchased a new nokia phone with Virgin network which is linked to Orange and is now ee. Is there any way I can retrieve my £11 or get my old phone to work. I’m presuming it’s because the network doesn’t support old mobiles anymore.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi there,
      There shouldn’t have been any changes on the Orange side which would have caused your old handset to stop working on Orange (they still support 2G networks, just as before). Could it be possible they’ve disabled your account due to 6 months of inactivity on it?
      Ken

  6. G Davies said:

    I have a Samsung E1500 phone with a t-mobile payg sim. I only want it for occasional use to make a call or text. What is the cheapest plan to be on?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment. Is your Samsung E1500 currently locked to T-Mobile? Or is it unlocked for use on any mobile network? As the E1500 is a 2G-only handset, you won’t be able to use Three’s 321 tariff (this requires you to have a 3G-ready handset). Hence, you’re probably looking for one of the other low-cost networks (e.g. the ones that charge 8p/minute and 4p/text). As a good all-round option, you should also consider giffgaff. They charge 10p/minute and 6p/text (but you get free calls & texts to other members on giffgaff). You also get coverage from O2.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  7. George said:

    Hello Ken

    Thanks very much for all the info on your site, it’s very helpful especially for a complete novice as i am.

    i rarely use a mobile phone but carry one in case of emergency but yesterday unfortunately lost the Samsung i had on a Tesco PAYG tariff.

    i can see basic handsets sold by Tesco/Argos/Asda etc for around £5 but would like to know if:

    a) i can get the unused credit on my old phone transferred to a new handset/provider

    b) choose a provider with a low cost tariff rate which doesn’t expire quickly (less than 6 months, though a year would be good!)

    c) get basic email access on any of these cheap (2G?) handsets

    Any simple recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks
    George

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi George,
      Thank you for the kind words regarding my website! To answer your questions in order:
      a) Which mobile network were you previously using? The credit is actually linked to your mobile phone SIM card rather than to the handset itself. Hence, you can contact your old network and report your SIM card as lost/stolen – they’ll be able to re-issue a new SIM card with your credit on it (EE and T-Mobile charge £10.21 for a replacement SIM card, most other networks will send you a replacement for free). Please be aware: if you have an unregistered Pay As You Go SIM card, it can sometimes be difficult to get the SIM card re-issued (you’ll need to pass a security check from the network).
      b) The table above shows rates for each mobile network. On most mobile networks, credit shouldn’t expire providing you use the phone at least once every six months (be sure not to buy a bundle which will require you top-up your phone every month).
      c) The vast majority of low-cost handsets won’t allow you to access your e-mail. If you want access to your e-mail, it might be worth having a look at some low-cost smartphones (e.g. the Lumia 435 is £65 unlocked). A low-cost smartphone will allow you to access your e-mail free of charge when connected to wi-fi.
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

  8. Bob Cook said:

    Family Mobile say on their website that their coverage is provided by T mobile… http://www.yourfamilymobile.co.uk/search?search=coverage

    1. Bob Cook replied:

      Ok. I’ve found that T mobile is EE. All very confusing!

      1. Ken Lo
        Ken replied:

        Hi Bob,
        Good find – it looks like their website needs a little bit of updating! Family Mobile did originally use signal from T-Mobile. However, T-Mobile completed a merger of their network with Orange sometime around 2012 (hence, customers now get access to the 2G & 3G networks originally provided by both Orange and T-Mobile). For simplicity, we consider this as just the EE network. The information on their official website is around 2 years out-of-date and needs updating! 😉
        Ken

  9. Gill said:

    We manly use our landline for both calls and internet Both my husband and I have mobiles. He is retired, in his 80s and uses his rarely (mainly to track me down) and has been with O2 forever. A £10 topup lasts him for 2 or 3 months. He has, however, now got an android smartphone and would like to be able to check his emails while out and about. I would imagine his data usage will be minimal and therefore a monthly inclusive package would be wasted.

    what would you suggest?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Gill,
      Thanks for your comment! As your husband now uses a smartphone, you’d be looking for a tariff with affordable mobile internet.
      On O2 Pay As You Go, it would normally cost £1/day to access mobile internet or you can buy one of the £10/month Big Bundle packages. Clearly, this is very expensive given a £10 top-up will normally last you 2 to 3 months. It’s also probably overkill as he won’t require a huge amount of data to check e-mail on the go (as you pointed out in your comment).
      My two suggested tariffs would probably be as follows:
      1. EE now have a Pay As You Go deal where it’s £1/week for 100MB of internet. This should be more than sufficient for e-mail on the go. You also get 10 minutes & 10 texts per week (perfect for finding each other when you’re out and about). You can order a free SIM card from EE via this link – you can also keep the existing phone number from O2.
      2. Three’s 321 tariff will only charge you 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB for accessing mobile internet. This is substantially cheaper than using O2 Pay As You Go (you’d probably spend less than 10p/day for accessing the mobile internet).
      Best wishes and hope this helps to answer your question!
      Ken

  10. Amir said:

    Hi I want a cheap pay as you go sim for my mum she doesn’t want top up on the internet so that rules giffgaff out even though you can use their vouchers.

    Doesn’t use a 3g phone or uses the internet on phone or at home.

    Looking at Asda Mobile as it has a shop and phone call presence.

    Uses the phone very rarely maybe 30 mins a month. Any ideas before i go with ASDA Mobile.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Amir,
      Thanks for your comment. It is possible to top-up your giffgaff SIM card without using the internet: you buy a voucher like you said in your comment then call 43430 and follow the voice-guided instructions. Alternatively, you could configure auto top-up using a debit or credit card (extra credit will automatically be added to your account every time your balance goes below £3).
      Aside from that, the option you mentioned (using ASDA Mobile), would also be a very good choice!
      Ken

      1. Amir replied:

        Sure i replied to this how come my message was deleted out.

        So are you going to update the 0845 and 0800 number what it costs to call from pay as you go. The one you have is hopelessly out of date written in 2009.

        No mention of what ASDA charge. Otherwise great site Ken keep up the good work

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Amir,
          Thanks for the comment. I actually replied to your last message over on this thread – sorry for the confusion! The reply has the latest 0800, 0845 & 0870 rates for ASDA Mobile.
          With regards to our article on 08 number rates, it is on my list of things I want to do (sorry, things have been crazy over the last few months!). I do hope to re-visit the article in the future – in the mean time I hope you’ll find it helpful having the rates for ASDA Mobile.
          Ken

  11. Mark said:

    Hi Ken,

    I am looking for a PAYG 2G standard size SIM card to fit into a GPS/SMS/GPRS Tracker. I need to be able to top-up online too.

    What would you recommend?

    Thanks

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Mark,
      Thanks for your comment. As you’re looking for a data-only SIM card, this rules out a number of tariffs which can only be used within a handset (more specifically, you’re looking for a mobile broadband SIM card). Also, as your device is 2G, it puts Three out of the running (Three only has 3G and 4G coverage). Based on the criteria you’ve given, the best value deal would probably be giffgaff. You’d pay a flat rate of 20p per day when using data on the tracker device. You can order a free SIM card here.
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

  12. Karim said:

    Hello Ken/ everyone,

    I am new to the UK, and I got a new company phone ( unfortunately it’s a blackberry ).

    In parallel I own a iPhone 5, with no SIM card in it.

    So my question is: How can I get 3g or 4g on my Iphone without having to get a phone number on it ( as I will not use it).

    If this is not possible, what options do I have. I read somewhere about the PAYG system here in the UK.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Best Regards

    Karim

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Karim,
      Welcome to the UK! Unfortunately, it’s not possible to get 3G or 4G without having a SIM card in the phone. As part of getting a SIM card, you’ll be assigned with a phone number (of course, you don’t actually need to use the phone). As someone mainly using data, look out for the best data packages (e.g. giffgaff’s £12 goodybag gives you unlimited data on 3G).
      As an alternative, you can also tether from your BlackBerry. This allows you to browse on-the-go without having a separate SIM card/contract.
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

      1. Karim replied:

        thank you Ken.

        This helped a lot.

  13. alan said:

    i cant find the voicemail charges i need a network p as you g that has free voice mail to listen to i have no calls but about 30 a week voice mails and it cost me to listen to them help

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Alan,
      Thanks for your comment! Place your mouse over the “…” for each network to see their voicemail charges. Unfortunately, no network offers free calls to voicemail (it is a service that costs them money to provide). However, Three charges just 3p/minute so is a fairly low-cost offering. If you buy a Pay As You Go bundle, you’ll normally get voicemail included in your minutes.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      1. alan replied:

        yes ken thanks i just need to hear my voice mail then i will phone back on a house phone if its there house phone i get free calls house to house

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Alan,
          On second thoughts, try making use of Ovivo Mobile’s Freedom 0 deal. It’s £0/month and you’ll get 250 minutes per month – the minutes can also be used for calling the voicemail service. There’s an upfront cost of £20 for the SIM, of which £15 is returned in the form of free credit. To keep your account active, be sure to use the service at least once every 60 days.
          Hope this helps!
          Ken

  14. Andru said:

    Hi Ken,
    thank you for great job.
    May be you know
    I use now sim from Three but my mobile displays Orange as my Network.
    That phone was never locked and allocated to any network.
    This is dual sim Nokia and the second sim is from Delight.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Andru,
      Thanks for your comment! The most likely explanation is that your dual-SIM handset only supports 2G on your Three SIM card (voice/text coverage). In certain areas, Three has a 2G service provided by Orange (though they began turning it off as early as 2011). As Orange is being displayed as your network, you’ll be using the 2G roaming service.
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

  15. Dawn Kay said:

    These are worth considering too:

    Simplecall Mobile (Orange)
    UK Landline 3p per min
    UK Mobile 4p per min
    UK Text 5p per msg
    UK Picture & Video Messages 30p per msg
    UK Internet 10p per Mb

    The new 3 payg 321
    3p calls 2p texts 1p mb data

    Victory Mobile (EE)
    UK mobiles 4p
    UK SMS 4p
    Landlines 4p
    Voicemail 4p
    0800 prefix 10p
    0845, 0870/1 etc 25p
    Data 4p/MB
    Victory to Victory calls FREE FREE
    Victory to Victory SMS FREE FREE

    White Mobile (EE/orange)
    White Mobile to White Mobile UK Calls FREE International Text Messages from 10p
    White Mobile to White Mobile UK Text FREE Voicemail FREE
    Calls to UK Landline 3p ’0800′ prefix numbers 10p
    Other UK Mobile 6p ’0845/0870′ prefix numbers 25p
    UK Text Messages 5p Data 2.5p/MB

  16. Michael Wilkinson said:

    For a one off payment of £20 you can get a Freedom sim from Ovivo which will give you

    150 mins + 250 texts + 500MB data per month.

    If you do not exceed that limit you will never pay another penny.
    I got mine 4 months ago and as a light user have no problem staying within the limit.
    Best deal Ive ever had.

    1. Bob replied:

      The table unfortunately does not appear in your email which is a shame (probably would not fit well anyway). Also can’t help feeling sorry for Ovivo as their free calls/texts/data (150mins/250texts/500mb) package although quite limited do not show in your comparison (not easy to fit everything in I realise).

    2. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Michael and Bob,

      Thank you both for your comments! You make a really good point about Ovivo’s Freedom Plan – I’ll have a look into how to display this information more clearly in the table. Also thanks for the heads up about the e-mail formatting… I’ll take a look into this.

      Ken

  17. Stew said:

    Is there such a thing as PAYG 4G?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Stew,

      Thanks for the comment! Funnily enough, EE launched the UK’s first 4G Pay As You Go tariff only this morning. Refer to the EE website for full details or see the review I posted earlier this month. EE charges 30p/minute and 12p/text. For mobile data, you’ll need to buy a bundle (e.g. £6/month for 500MB of data).

      Ken

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