Unlimited Mobile Data Plans: The UK’s Cheapest Deals For Your Smartphone

July 15th, 2015

In the UK, unlimited data is available on your smartphone from £12/month on a Pay Monthly contract and from £15/month on a Pay As You Go bundle.

data-binaryIn the last few months, unlimited data plans have seen a resurgence in the UK. Now available from three different networks, an unlimited data plan is perfect for heavy users. There’s no longer any need to worry about how much data you’re actually using and there’s no risk of your data connection being cut off mid-month. It’s perfect for download apps and games, for watching videos on-the-go and for streaming music from the internet.

At present, unlimited data plans for your mobile start from £12/month on a Pay Monthly contract and from £15/month on a Pay As You Go tariff. Unlimited data plans are currently available from giffgaff, TalkTalk and Three (it’s also available for the first three months when joining Vodafone).

In this article, we review and compare the best unlimited data plans available in the UK.

Overview of Unlimited Data Plans

In the UK, three mobile networks currently offer an unlimited data plan: giffgaff, TalkTalk and Three. Unlimited data is also offered by Vodafone but only for the first three months of a Pay Monthly contract lasting 12 months or longer.

Pay Monthly

SIM card

On Pay Monthly, unlimited data is available from £12/month.

On Pay Monthly, unlimited data currently starts from £12/month.

Available only to customers with TalkTalk home broadband, TalkTalk Mobile currently has unlimited everything for £12/month (unlimited minutes, unlimited texts & unlimited 3G internet). TalkTalk uses mobile coverage from the Vodafone network.

The cheapest unlimited data tariff available to the general market is Three’s £17/month unlimited data SIM card. It has unlimited data at 4G download speeds along with 200 minutes and unlimited texts.

The following table compares the cheapest available unlimited data plans on each UK mobile network:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Three200UnlimitedUnlimited£17.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
TalkTalkUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£24.00

The cheapest available Pay Monthly contracts with unlimited data. The £12 All-in SIM card from TalkTalk is only available to customers with TalkTalk home broadband. All SIM cards are on a one-month rolling contract (except from Three which has a 12-month minimum commitment).

Pay As You Go

Top Up

On Pay As You Go, unlimited data is available from £15/month.

Unlimited data is also available on Pay As You Go bundles from giffgaff and Three. The cheapest available deal is Three’s £15/month All-in-One SIM card: it comes with 300 minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited internet at 4G speeds. For £20/month, giffgaff has 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet at 3G speeds.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Three3003,000Unlimited£20.00
giffgaff2,000UnlimitedUnlimited£20.00

The cheapest available Pay As You Go bundles with unlimited data.

Read on for more information and for an in-depth review of unlimited data on each network.

Unlimited Data Plans By Network

giffgaff

Giffgaff Logogiffgaff has a £20/month Pay As You Go bundle with 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited 3G internet (the bundle is known on giffgaff as the £20 goodybag).

A major advantage of giffgaff’s goodybags is you’re able to change them on a month-by-month basis. For instance, you could later downgrade to the £15 goodybag (500 minutes, unlimited texts & 5GB of internet at 3G speeds) if it turns out unlimited data is unnecessary. Because it’s a Pay As You Go service, there are no credit checks and there’s also better control over your spending.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00

Unfortunately, the £20 unlimited data goodybag only gives you access to the internet at 3G download speeds. While giffgaff does offer 4G connectivity, you’ll need to buy one of their 4G goodybags to access the service. The largest allowance currently available on 4G is 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 5GB of internet for £18/month.

Tethering is not permitted on the £20 goodybag (it is, however, permitted on goodybags with a limited data allowance).

For more information, you can read our in-depth review of the giffgaff network.

Key Information
Monthly Price: £20/month
Coverage Provider: O2 (99% coverage – check coverage here)
Download Speeds: 2G & 3G coverage (4G not available with unlimited data goodybag)
Limitations & Restrictions
Tethering: Not permitted on unlimited data plans.
Traffic Management: Heavy users may have speeds capped to 300kbps between 3pm and midnight.
See giffgaff’s traffic management policy for more information.

TalkTalk Mobile

TalkTalkThe cheapest available unlimited data plan in the UK currently comes from TalkTalk Mobile.

For only £12/month, TalkTalk’s All-in SIM card has unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet at 3G download speeds. The offer is only available to customers who also have TalkTalk Broadband at their home.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
TalkTalkUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£24.00
TalkTalk All-in SIM Card

The All-in SIM: Unlimited data for £12/month but only for customers with TalkTalk home broadband.

The All-in SIM is on a one-month rolling contract.

TalkTalk Mobile uses coverage from Vodafone and claims 99% population coverage across the UK. Unfortunately, tethering isn’t permitted on the tariff (the data on your SIM card is only for use in a smartphone). You must also follow TalkTalk’s Good Network Guidelines.

For TalkTalk home broadband customers who later change to another broadband provider, the All-in SIM card will double in price to £24/month. The monthly allowances will also be reduced to 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet. For more information, read our in-depth review of the All-in SIM card.

Key Information
Monthly Price: £12/month
Coverage Provider: Vodafone (99% coverage – check coverage here)
Download Speeds: 2G & 3G coverage
Limitations & Restrictions
Tethering: Not permitted.
Traffic Management: See the TalkTalk Good Network Guidelines.
Other Restrictions: Only available to TalkTalk home broadband customers.

Three

ThreeOf all the UK networks, Three is perhaps the best-known network for their unlimited data plans. The network has offered unlimited data under the all-you-can-eat data moniker since 2010.

Advantages include the use of 4G at no extra charge and the ability to tether on Pay Monthly contracts (unique amongst the three networks offering an unlimited data plan). You can also use your phone abroad at no extra charge through the Feel At Home offer (up to 25GB/month in a Feel At Home country).

All-you-can-eat data is available on both Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go tariffs. Prices start from £17/month on a Pay Monthly contract and from £15/month on a Pay As You Go bundle.

Key Information
Monthly Price: From £17/month (Pay Monthly)
From £15/month (Pay As You Go)
Coverage Provider: Three (98% coverage – check coverage here)
Download Speeds: 3G & 4G coverage
Limitations & Restrictions
Tethering: 4GB per month on Pay Monthly SIMs.
8GB per month on Pay Monthly with handset.
Not permitted on Pay As You Go.
Traffic Management: See Three’s TrafficSense policy.

Pay Monthly

On their Pay Monthly SIM cards, unlimited data currently starts from £17/month. On a 12-month contract, you get 200 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet at 4G download speeds.

12 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Three200UnlimitedUnlimited£17.00
Three600UnlimitedUnlimited£22.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£27.00
1 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Three200UnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
Three600UnlimitedUnlimited£25.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£30.00

There’s 4GB of tethering per month included on all their Pay Monthly SIM cards (this is due to increase to 8GB/month from August 2015).

Pay Monthly with New Handset

Three is also unique in being the only UK network to offer 24-month contracts with unlimited data on a new smartphone. For a high-end smartphone like the iPhone 6 or the Galaxy S6, you’ll typically pay around £45/month for an unlimited data plan. On lower-cost devices like the Samsung Galaxy J1, all-you-can-eat data is sometimes available from only £34/month.

Apple iPhone 6 Apple iPhone 6

The following unlimited data tariffs are currently available for the iPhone 6:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
Three600UnlimitedUnlimited£99.00
upfront
£49.00
per month
£1,275.00
Three600UnlimitedUnlimited£29.00
upfront
£53.00
per month
£1,301.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£99.00
upfront
£52.00
per month
£1,347.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£29.00
upfront
£56.00
per month
£1,373.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£9.00
upfront
£66.00
per month
£1,593.00
Galaxy S6 Samsung Galaxy S6

The following unlimited data tariffs are currently available for the Galaxy S6:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£29.00
upfront
£50.00
per month
£1,229.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£9.00
upfront
£58.00
per month
£1,401.00

Other handsets with an unlimited data option include the iPhone 6 Plus, the Galaxy S6 Edge, the HTC One M9 and the LG G4. A full list of available handsets can be found on the Three website.

Pay Monthly contracts with a new handset include 8GB of tethering every month.

Pay As You Go

Three also offers an unlimited data plan on their Pay As You Go tariff. With the £15 All-in-One bundle, you get 300 minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited data at 4G download speeds. Unfortunately, tethering is not permitted on the Pay As You Go service (choose a Pay Monthly contract if you’d like to tether from your phone).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Three3003,000Unlimited£20.00

Vodafone

Vodafone

Unlike the other three mobile networks mentioned in this article, Vodafone doesn’t have a true unlimited data offering. Typically, the largest data allowance available on Vodafone is 20GB of data per month. However, to new customers getting a Pay Monthly contract or a SIM-only deal of 12 months or longer, Vodafone currently offers unlimited data for the first three months.

Known as the Data Test Drive offer, it’s designed to help you find your feet on how much data you actually need. At the end of your three-month Data Test Drive, Vodafone will send you a text message with your average data consumption over the past three months. You’ll then be offered the chance to upgrade to a higher package if you need more data.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Vodafone300Unlimited250MB£9.50
Vodafone600Unlimited1GB£14.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£15.30
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£19.80
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£24.30
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£27.20
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£30.00

Unfortunately, the offer from Vodafone isn’t a long-term solution. There’s no way of extending the unlimited data offer. Regardless of how much you pay, the largest data allowance available on Vodafone is only 20GB per month after the first three months.

Key Information
Monthly Price: From £9.50/month (unlimited data for 3 months only)
Coverage Provider: Vodafone (99% coverage – check coverage here)
Download Speeds: 2G, 3G & 4G coverage
Limitations & Restrictions
Tethering: Yes, up to your monthly allowance.
Traffic Management: See the Vodafone traffic management policy.
Other Restrictions: Unlimited data is only available for first 3 months.

Other Networks

Unfortunately, other UK networks don’t currently offer a plan with unlimited data. The largest data allowance available on other networks is:

Mobile Network Largest Data Allowance Available
ASDA Mobile Up to 4GB per month
BT Mobile Up to 20GB per month
EE Up to 20GB per month
iD Mobile Up to 10GB per month
Mobile By Sainsbury’s Up to 2GB per month
O2 Up to 20GB per month
Tesco Mobile Up to 8GB per month
The People’s Operator Up to 31GB per month

More Information

For more information on how much data you need for your smartphone, please see our full guide to mobile data allowances.

For information on the unlimited data plans mentioned in this article, please see either the giffgaff, TalkTalk Mobile or Three websites. For information on the Data Test Drive offer, see this page on Vodafone’s website.

Like this tip? Get the most from your mobile phone...

  • Discover brand new ways to use your mobile phone
  • Techniques to get more out of your mobile phone for less
  • Be the first to learn about new mobile technology

Enter your email to receive free regular Ken's Tech Tips:

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 3 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Aj said:

    Three have now increased the add-on’s price from £15 to £20 unfortunately.

  2. queelster said:

    I noticed today that ID network have stop doing unlimited unless its a typo ob the Carphone warehouse site now dropped to 10gb for £20

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hey there,
      A massive thank you for the heads up about the iD Mobile offer. We’ve now removed it from this page as they’ve dropped the tariff down to 10GB per month.
      Thanks again,
      Ken

Leave a Reply

E-Mail Notifications: By default, I'll drop you an e-mail when there's a reply to your comment. If you don't want to receive such a notification, please select the "Don't Subscribe" option from the dropdown menu above.