EE’s Orange Offers 1GB Of Free Data With £10 Top-Ups On Pay As You Go

August 10th, 2013

Smartphone users can get 1GB of free internet (“shed loads of data”) when topping up by £10 on Orange Pay As You Go.

orangeOrange, a part of EE, offers 1GB of free data to Pay As You Go customers who top-up by £10/month. In addition to receiving a free download allowance, customers will receive 400 free text messages for staying in touch with friends (both of the free allowances last for one month). Customers also retain their £10 of credit for further use: for calling or for purchasing extra data bundles for instance.

According to Orange, 1GB is a “shed load of data”. It’s perfect for the average smartphone owner – most people use around 300MB per month. With the 1GB allowance, you’re able to browse the web, chat with friends, use apps and social networking websites.

In this article, we take an in-depth look at Orange’s Pay As You Go offering. We’ll look at the free internet and free text messages you receive with each top-up and ask how you’re able to opt-in to receive them. We’ll also look at alternative offerings and ask whether you’re able to find a better deal elsewhere.

What’s the Dolphin Tariff?

Orange Dolphin

Dolphin: 1GB free internet with £10 monthly top-up.

The “1GB Free Data” offer refers to Orange’s Pay As You Go Dolphin tariff. Customers on this tariff will receive a free internet allowance and a free text message allowance every time they top up. If you top-up by £10/month, you’ll receive 1GB of free internet as well as 400 free text messages. These last one month from the date of your top-up.

If you’re a heavy user, you’re able to get larger allowances by topping up more. A £15 top-up will give you 2GB of free internet and 600 free texts. Meanwhile, a £20/month top-up gives you a huge 3GB of internet and unlimited texting for a whole month.

Monthly Top-Up Free Internet Free Texts Remaining Credit*
£10 top-up 1GB 400 £10 (equivalent to 33 minutes)
£15 top-up 2GB 600 £15 (equivalent to 50 minutes)
£20 top-up 3GB Unlimited** £20 (equivalent to 67 minutes)

* With the Dolphin tariff, you can keep the credit you topped up by in addition to receiving free internet access and free text messages. Assuming the leftover credit is purely used for making phone calls (calls cost 30p/minute on Dolphin), you’re able to call for 33 minutes using a £10 top-up. ** There’s a fair usage policy for unlimited texts.

Calls cost 30p/minute on the Pay As You Go Dolphin tariff. Assuming your credit is primarily used for calling, you’d get the equivalent of 33 minutes from your £10 top-up. This would be in addition to the 400 free text messages and the 1GB of free internet.

Call Charges Outside Your Allowance

EE Logo

Orange is part of the EE network.

Once you’ve joined the Dolphin tariff, it’s not necessary to top-up every month. You’re still able to use your phone without topping up in a given month – however you’ll lose the free allowances you normally receive. For smartphone owners, losing the inclusive internet can be quite problematic. Without the free data allowance, you’d normally pay a massive 65p per megabyte when browsing the web. As the average smartphone user consumes 10MB per day, this would add up to approximately £6.50/day. In this case, your leftover credit runs out incredibly quickly. You’ll also pay 12p for each text message you send.

Calling Rates:
Voice Calls 30p/minute (any network, any time)
Calls to Voicemail 30p/minute
Minimum Call Charge 30p minimum charge
Messaging Rates:
Text Message (SMS) 12p
Picture Message (MMS) 40p
Free Allowance for 1 month 400 SMS with £10 top-up
600 SMS with £15 top-up
Unlimited SMS with £20 top-up
Internet Rates:
3G Internet 65p/MB*
Free Allowance for 1 month 1GB with £10 top-up
2GB with £15 top-up
3GB with £20 top-up

Prices on the Orange “Dolphin” tariff. The prices within this table are for UK-to-UK. If you’re roaming, making international calls or calling a special number then higher charges will apply. Source for pricing information: * This can be reduced by buying a web browsing bundle.

You cannot transfer Pay As You Go credit between networks.

Whilst you don’t need to top up every month, smartphone owners would need to buy a data bundle in-lieu of topping up.

Due to the high “per megabyte” costs of accessing the internet, we’d recommend buying a data bundle in the months where you don’t get a free allowance. Orange has a choice of two data bundles. They start at £7.50/month for 500MB of internet. You can pay for the bundles using leftover credit.

  • £7.50/month for 500MB internet
    Text “WEB 7.50” to 6620
  • £12/month for 1GB internet
    Text “WEB 12” to 6620

For light users who primarily need data, it’s possible to top-up one month to receive the 1GB of free internet. The following month you can spend £7.50 from your remaining credit to buy a 500MB monthly data bundle. The “effective cost” of browsing the web will be £3.75/month.

Special Offer for Under 24s

If you’re under 24, you’re also able to take advantage of Orange’s U24 offer. Providing you’ve signed up and added it to your account, you’ll receive 1GB of additional free internet as well as free calls & texts to other customers of Orange and T-Mobile. You’ll get the free allowances whenever you top-up by £10/month or more.

For under 24s, the free allowances on Dolphin are boosted to the following:

Monthly Top-Up Free Internet Free Texts Free Calls Remaining Credit*
£10 top-up 2GB Ultd to Orange & T-Mobile Ultd to Orange & T-Mobile £10 (~33 minutes)
400 to other networks
£15 top-up 3GB Ultd to Orange & T-Mobile Ultd to Orange & T-Mobile £15 (~50 minutes)
600 to other networks
£20 top-up 4GB Unlimited Ultd to Orange & T-Mobile £20 (~67 minutes)

For full details on U24, see our full review of the U24 offering. Alternatively, check out the Orange website.

How much is 1GB of free internet?


Most smartphone users consume around 300MB/month.

The average smartphone user consumes around 10MB of data each day. Over the course of one month, this adds up to 300MB. For the majority of smartphone users, 1GB/month should be plenty. A 1GB allowance allows you to do either of the following:

1GB corresponds to…
Basic webpages (mainly text) 10,000
Rich webpages (with multimedia, e.g. BBC) 3,000
Basic e-mails 1,000,000
Rich e-mails (with attachments) 2,000
Downloading/streaming music 200 songs
Downloading/streaming video 2 hours
Skype voice call 30 hours
Skype video call 4 hours
Listening to online radio 16 hours
Downloading/updating apps 160 apps

Source of estimates: O2 [1, 2]. Our testing found that a Skype mobile voice call consumes around 0.55MB/minute (70kbps). A Skype video call uses 4MB/minute (500kbps). Online radio calculation assumes 128kbps bitrate. The average size of an app is 6.1MB (based on a sample of the top 20 Android apps).

For further details, see our guide to the real-world meaning of monthly download allowances.

What handsets are available?

Lumia 520 Colours

Orange offers the Lumia 520 for £129.99 on Pay As You Go.

Orange has a large choice of Pay As You Go handsets. You’ll normally need to make an initial top-up when buying a new handset. The initial top-up is normally £10 (though a £20 top-up is required for some handsets). You can find a full list of available handsets on the EE website.

If you already own an unlocked handset, you can save money by getting a free SIM card from Orange. Please take care to choose the right type of SIM card. For iPhone 5 owners, this will be a Nano SIM card. For almost all other handsets, choose the Combi SIM option.

How do I get this offer?

As of February 2015, the Dolphin offer is only available to existing customers already on the Orange network.

Existing Orange customers can opt-in by changing their Animal plan. To change your Animal, dial 343 from your Orange mobile. Please note that upon changing your plan, you may lose benefits from your existing plan. Call charges may also increase. To give an example, customers on the Racoon plan will see their phone calls rising in price from 14p/minute to 30p/minute. In some cases, you may be better off on your existing plan.

What are the alternatives?

goodybag10If you use your phone on a regular basis, it might be worth considering a Pay As You Go bundle.

With bundle tariffs, you “convert” your £10 top-up into a set allowance of calls, texts and internet. For £10/month, giffgaff will give you 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB internet. For most people, this will offer better overall value. With Orange’s Dolphin plan, you’ll get the equivalent of 33 minutes, 400 texts and 1GB internet.

Pay As You Go bundles around £10/month include:

Network Bundle Name Minutes Texts Internet Monthly Price
giffgaff £7.50 Goodybag 200 Unlimited 250MB £7.50/month
giffgaff £10 Goodybag 500 Unlimited 1GB £10/month
O2 Pay & Go Go Go 75** 500** 250MB** £10/month
Orange Dolphin 33* 400 1GB £10/month
Three All-in-One 10 100 3,000 500MB £10/month
T-Mobile £10 Smart Pack 100 400 1GB £10/month
Vodafone £10 Freedom Freebee 150 Unlimited 250MB £10/month
giffgaff £12 Goodybag 500 Unlimited 3GB £12/month

* Calls cost 30p/minute on Dolphin. Hence the £10 of retained credit would give you the equivalent of 33 minutes. ** If you’re on O2 Pay & Go Go Go, the allowances automatically double after 3 months. As long as you top-up every month, you’ll get 150 minutes, 1000 texts and 500MB internet from the third month onwards.

If you’re a light user, consider the 321 plan from Three. Calls cost 3p/minute, texts cost 2p each and internet costs 1p/MB.

Finally, further savings can be had by extending your search to SIM only deals. SIM only deals work on a “Pay Monthly” basis. You’ll sign a contract that’s either for 12 months or rolling on a 30-day basis. Payment is made at the end of the month via a Direct Debit. A large number of SIM only deals are available for just £10/month.

What’s the coverage like on Orange?

Mobile MastOrange offers 2G and 3G coverage to 99% of the UK population. To make sure you can get coverage where you live, use the online coverage checker provided by EE.

Please note that unlike its parent company, EE, Orange doesn’t offer a 4G mobile service. Instead, customers are restricted to 3G-only speeds. In our view, this is not a significant drawback. 3G already offers very good download speeds – around 4Mbit/s. This is easily fast enough for most activities carried out on a smartphone including the streaming of high-definition video.

At the time of writing, 4G is only available to EE contract customers.

Can I transfer my phone number to Orange?

Yes, it’s incredibly easy to transfer your phone number to Orange. The whole process should take no more than 24 hours. Start by getting in touch with your existing mobile network. Ask them to issue you with a PAC Code: this is a nine-digit code that authorises Orange to take control of your phone number. After your new handset arrives, call Orange Customer Services on 450. Give them the PAC Code and they’ll arrange for your number to be transferred. Your number transfer normally takes place on the next working day.

For a step-by-step guide on transferring your phone number to Orange, please select your current mobile network:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Orange

Your current network provider:

  More Options

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more on the Orange section of the EE website.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

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. Jack said:

    Do they still do the Under 24 offer?

    I tried asking around but never got an actual clear answer (even from customer service).

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Jack,
      Thanks for your comment and a very good question! I can still find references on the EE website to the U24 offer (e.g. here) so I presume the offer should still be available.

  2. may said:

    Dear ken i currently have a orange dolphin account and have bought a newphone which needs a micro simcard who do i connact for one regards

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi May,
      You can get a replacement micro-SIM free of charge for your Orange account. This can be done either at an EE retail store, or alternatively you can order one online. For more information, please see my guide to changing the size of your SIM card.
      Hope this helps,

  3. Anna Lawler said:

    I top up my phone by 15 pound so I could get my 600 texts and 2gb of internet for the month used to get a text saying top up 16th of ever month not had such text for ages

  4. Paula said:

    I have a question has Orange stopped the 168 minutes. I have just stopped getting it? And on the Dolphin package am I still entitled to an extent 1GB data I am on the U24 or have they stopped that too?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Paula,
      I believe the U24 offer is only offered for a maximum of 24 months. Is it possible that the 24 months have now passed, which could explain why you no longer get the extra minutes and data?

      1. Paula replied:

        Yes, Thanks for your reply. I can understand the U24. But my 168 min was a completely separate deal. I got that at the end of 2014 , I think it was called a shed load of data. For every time you top up. My husband is still getting his.
        Just wondering.

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Paula,
          So sorry for misunderstanding the question (my bad). Regarding the deal that gives you 168 free minutes every month, the only thing I was able to find was the terms & conditions on this page. Was this the offer you got? By my understanding, the offer was only for 2014? Sorry – chances are EE Customer Support will be better placed to answer your question!

  5. zed said:

    what about virgin data and text tariff 1GB + 3000 txt for £10 top up similar to orange dolphin plan, now orange no longer available

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Zed,
      Thanks for your comment. You’re right: Virgin’s “Big Data & Texts” tariff on PAYG can be a good alternative to anyone wanting a replacement for Dolphin. There’s more information here on the Virgin Mobile website. In general, however, it may also be worth considering a Pay As You Go bundle as this is likely to offer better value if you use the internet every month.

      1. zed replied:


        Getting a PAYG bundle means actually spending £5-10-15 of your money. Orange gave you 1GB + 400 txt ‘free’ for just topping up. Virgin mobile do a simialr offer 1GB + 3000 txt ‘FREE’ for topping up £10. You still get to keep your credit with these plans, which is not the case with the PAYG bundle deals. I see providers are starting to get rid of these plans which give you ‘free’ internet/txt/mins for a top up and pushing people towards the PAYG bundles where they actually take your money.

        It’s a shame Orange got rid of their Dolphin plan now that it’s become EE. The EE plans are rubbish go good luck virgin.

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Zed,
          Thanks for your comment. I can see where you’re coming at with this: indeed, I used to have a similar tariff for the same reasons. However, I’ve now become a fan of using Pay As You Go bundles… several reasons for this:
          1. Psychologically, the offer of “free allowances” is very attractive (it feels like you’re getting something for nothing). In reality, however, you’re paying for this through inflated prices elsewhere. For instance, Virgin charges 35p/minute for a phone call (so you would only get 28 minutes of calling for your £10 top-up). You shouldn’t think about the top-up like putting money in your bank account: there’s no way to ‘withdraw’ credit from your account – the only way to use it up is by paying for calls/texts/data on that network.
          2. If you’re using your smartphone on Virgin, it’s £1/day to access the mobile internet (this is once your 30-day free allowance has been used up). So in the following month, once your allowances have expired, you’ll only be able to get a maximum of 10 days usage. Hence, your £10 top-up would last a maximum of 40 days anyway.
          3. Almost always, a PAYG bundle will be better value for anyone with a smartphone. At the moment, you can get 1000 minutes, unlimited texts & 2GB of data for a £10 monthly top-up on ASDA Mobile. Alternatively, if you aren’t using a smartphone, the lower PAYG rates of 8p/minute and 4p/text could see your credit lasting a lot longer than it would on Virgin Mobile.

  6. Art said:

    I am an Orange PAYG customer on the Dolphin tariff. I receive the taxt reminder to top up which arrives one day before the 30 day period expires. If I were to top up immediately on receipt of the reminder, would the next 30 day period commence from the date of my top up, or from the (one day later) expiry date of the previous allowance? In other words, if I top up immediately, do I in effect reduce the 30 day allowance period to 29 days? Grateful if you could help, as I would rather simply top up when reminded, but don’t want to effectively lose around 12 days of allowance over the year by topping up too early. Thanks.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Art,
      Thanks for your comment. The way it works, as far as I know, is you’re given a top-up anniversary date by Orange. Your free allowance will always last for the full 30 days – then you just need to top-up before the next anniversary to get your free top-up allowances. To give an example, I could top-up £10 on the 18th January. My anniversary date would then be set to the 18th of each month. Providing you top-up £10 before the 18th February, you’ll get a new 30-day allowance from the 18th February.
      Hope this helps!

      1. Art replied:

        Thanks for coming back so promptly Ken. On that basis I imagine that if I were a day or two late in topping up, then my “anniversary” would be reset to the latest top up date. Next time I’ll try topping up as soon as prompted and then subsequently check from my Orange App when the expiry date of my latest data allowance is. Thanks again. Art

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Art,
          That’s right! If you top up late, the anniversary date is reset to match the latest top-up date (so you’ll always get 30 days to make use of the allowance).

          1. Art replied:

            Great. Thanks Ken.

  7. Mahbub khan said:

    How can i get free bundles…Am one of the users of Orange Netwrk

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Mahbub,
      Thanks for your comment. To get your free allowances, you’ll need to be an Orange Pay As You Go customer on the Dolphin tariff. You can change plans by calling 343 from your Orange device.
      Hope this helps,

  8. Liz said:

    Thanks the meantime I topped up by calling 450 pd £10 and received acknowledgement text but it did not refer to the free texts or internet usage as per my usual dolphin package messages. So does this mean this last payment has not awarded me with the package credits because I used a different top up method? How would I know if my texts usage is free at this time or not and if not why has this happend?

  9. Liz said:

    what are the details I need to enter by text to top up my Dolphin Package by text service ..I’m using a different phone at moment….i usually send a text I think to 2886?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Liz,
      That’s right: a text message to 2886 should do the job when topping up on Orange Pay As You Go. For detailed instructions, you can see the help article on EE’s website.
      Hope this helps,

  10. Ian said:

    I was having a problem with adding a 1gb internet extra for £12. I contacted customer service and they sorted it out but was told that it should only cost £5. I’ve looked everywhere on Orange for it at that price but i can’t see it anywhere

  11. alison masson said:

    Hi my husband is suppose to be getting his dolphin pack today but has been trying to get it this has happend a few times before. I tried to call but got cut off so have no credit to call back.

  12. Alyaan khan said:

    Have you got any free orange customer service number please

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Alyaan,
      You can see a list of contact details for Orange Customer Services here. From your Orange Pay As You Go handset, dial 450 for Customer Services (this will cost you 25p per call). Alternatively, you can call 07973 100 450 from any landline or mobile – this will come out of your inclusive minutes.
      Hope this helps,

  13. Alyaan khan said:

    My bundles is finishing and i have toped up £10 on dolphin.its finishing 25th. And its the 24th. I topped up £10 on 24th can i still spend my £10 if credit but still have my bundle

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Alyaan,
      Thanks for your comment. Did you top up the extra £10 before the end of the anniversary month on your tariff? If so, unfortunately, you’re only able to receive a free allowance once every month (so it’s best to top up after the 25th if you want to receive your free allowances). Any credit you’ve topped up during the month can still be used for calling/texting/browsing/etc.

  14. Gordon said:

    I’ve just bought a new smartphone and after being with O2 payg for a few years, decided to change to Orange. The connection with O2 especially with going on the internet was very slow so I went with Orange who I was with originally back in the days before smartphones.
    Now I’m not a heavy user when it comes to texting and making calls but I do like going on the internet occasionally. With O2 I would purchase £10 top-up and get so many free txts and internet up to whatever the data limit was for that month and once the month was up, I would be charged from my balance until I topped up another £10 and get the free allowances again.
    Now at the moment, I’m on Orange’s payg starter plan and want to upgrade to the Dolphin plan. What I want to know is if this is similar to O2, where I can top up whenever my credit runs out and get the free allowances on offer and not having to top up every month whether I need to or not?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Gordon,
      The Dolphin plan is very similar to what you had on O2 before: when topping up £10 you receive 1GB of free data and 400 free text messages (lasting for up to one month). You still keep the £10 of credit which can be used for anything you like! Do be warned however: data is 65p/MB. If you continue to browse when the free allowance ends, you could expect your £10 to disappear very quickly (probably after 1 or 2 days)! You can switch to Dolphin by calling 343.
      As a slight aside, I would also consider looking at alternatives to see whether anything is better value. To give a few examples: EE currently offers 100MB of free data every month when you order a SIM card before the 28th December. Meanwhile, giffgaff offers 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data for £10/month.
      Hope this helps,

  15. Dayna said:

    How do you get unlimited? I heard if you text “TEXTS 5” to 6620 you get unlimited text, i no you need 7:50 on your phone and i have that but i get a text saying they don’t recognise it.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Dayna,
      It’s worth having a look at the current version of Orange’s Pay As You Go price guide (a little hard to find since they moved their website to EE!). To add unlimited texts, you’d have to send TEXT 7.5 to 6620 (it’ll cost you £7.50/month).
      A better value option might be to upgrade to EE Pay As You Go: on EE you’ll get unlimited texts, 150 minutes and 500MB of 4G data for £10/month. Alternatively, giffgaff has unlimited texts, 200 minutes and 500MB of data for £7.50/month. This will probably work out cheaper than staying with Orange or EE.
      Hope this helps,

  16. shikira said:

    I purchased an Orange PAYG Barcelona smart phone on 25 Dec 2014 – unaware of being on any Dolphin tarriff – I always thought that PAYG mobiles: you are not placed on tarriffs, and simply just top up?.

    I am now experiencing an unwarranted ‘restriction’ on my PAYG mobile, and cannot access some 4-digit security code, they are suppossed to provide upon initial purchase of one of their phones – regardless of whether it is PAYG or contract.

    The whole thing started when I topped up my PAYG mobile on 23/06/2014, via my reliable phone top-up-card that I have always used since I got the phone. However, the £10.00 credit I placed on
    the phone has not been credited to my phone. I went into T Mobile store twice to demand their customer service excellence right away, only to be asked for my account holder details – I must
    have registered my phone with Orange at some point, yet, and again, because it is just a PAYG
    phone; did not keep a mental log of signing-up details as a non-android mortal – even if Orange
    does of their customers.

    Now, I cannot call anyone – not even Orange – without phone credit. I have tried emailing every available Orange customer service team to no avail, to sort this nightmare of a PAYGO merry – go round out. They still have the £10 credit I placed on my phone as mentioned above; yet have no way of getting this back -wherever it has mysteriously vanished – and getting the rightful assistance
    of Orange, who cannot help me without this 4-digit security code: I cannot even obtain from my Orange user account, due to a technical fault when attempting to press the ‘4-digit-code’ application.

    Can someone please be of helpful assistance if you do work for Orange.

  17. Soniclife said:

    How can they get away with 65p/MB, isn’t that more than the EU data cap price?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Soniclife,

      Thanks for getting in touch! The EU has capped the cost of roaming data at 46p/MB. However, the price cap only applies when you go to another EU country. Bizarrely, it doesn’t apply for a network operating in its own country. Hence Orange UK can charge more than 46p/MB whilst you’re using your phone here in the UK. If you travelled to another EU country with your Orange handset then data would be 46p/MB (actually cheaper than here in the UK!) Another bizarre point: you could use a French SIM or a German SIM and the “per megabyte” rate in the UK would be lower than on Orange.

      In practice, sensible Dolphin users will buy the data bundle (500MB for £7.50/month). This will cost the equivalent of just 1.5p/MB.


      1. Soniclife replied:

        I thought there may be some sort of loophole like that, it is as you say bizarre. It might be interesting to see a list of UK tariffs that exceed the EU roaming cap prices, and even more interesting to see a statement from the companies as to why they think it’s fair.

        PS Your site is about the only one I have seen where clear comparative info on tariffs is presented in a way normal people might have a chance of finding the best tariff for themselves, thanks.

      2. John Welsh replied:

        Can the £7.50 bundle be purchased monthly until credit is used up, and then return to the £10 top up?

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi John,
          Indeed it can – you can buy the bundle at any time using the credit on your account (it’s not necessary to make a fresh top-up when buying the bundle).
          Hope this helps,

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