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 £20/month on Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go.

data-binaryIn the last few months, unlimited data plans have seen a resurgence in the UK. Now available from two 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 £20/month on both Pay Monthly contracts on Pay As You Go bundles. Ordinarily, unlimited data is only available from giffgaff and Three but it’s also available for the first two months when joining selected tariffs on 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, two mobile networks currently offer an unlimited data plan: giffgaff and Three. Unlimited data is also offered by Vodafone but only for the first two months of a Pay Monthly contract lasting 12 months or longer.

Pay Monthly

SIM card

On Pay Monthly, unlimited data is available from £20/month.

On Pay Monthly, unlimited data currently starts from £20/month.

On Three’s £20/month SIM card, you’ll get 200 minutes, unlimited texts and all-you-can-eat 4G data (but there’s a maximum of 12GB of tethering each month).

giffgaff has a similar £20/month tariff with unlimited calls, unlimited texts and Always On data (tethering and 4G speeds are only offered on the first 6GB per month).

The following table compares the cheapest available unlimited data plans on giffgaff and Three:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
Three200UnlimitedUnlimited£20.00

The cheapest available Pay Monthly contracts with unlimited data.

Pay As You Go

Top Up

On Pay As You Go, unlimited data is available from £20/month.

Unlimited data is also available on Pay As You Go bundles from giffgaff and Three. Our recommended deal is giffgaff’s £20 goodybag on Pay As You Go with unlimited calls, unlimited texts and Always On data (only the first 6GB/month will allow tethering and be at 4G speeds).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£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 unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and Always On internet (the bundle is known on giffgaff as the £20 goodybag). With this, you’ll get unlimited downloads. However, only the first 6GB/month will allow for tethering and you’ll be dropped down to 256Kbps if you go over this limit (only the first 6GB per month will be at 4G speeds).

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 (1000 minutes, unlimited texts & 4GB of internet) if it later 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

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 & 4G coverage
Limitations & Restrictions
Tethering: Only on the first 6GB per month.
Traffic Management: Heavy users may have speeds capped to 300kbps between 3pm and midnight. Speeds are capped at 256Kbps after the first 6GB/month.
See giffgaff’s traffic management policy for more information.

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 up to 12GB/month on Pay Monthly contracts. You can also use your phone abroad at no extra charge through the Feel At Home offer (up to 12GB/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 £20/month on both Pay Monthly contracts and Pay As You Go bundles.

Key Information
Monthly Price: From £20/month
Coverage Provider: Three (98% coverage – check coverage here)
Download Speeds: 3G & 4G coverage
Limitations & Restrictions
Tethering: 12GB per month on Pay Monthly.
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 £20/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£20.00
Three600UnlimitedUnlimited£25.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£30.00
1 month contracts

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Three200UnlimitedUnlimited£23.00
Three600UnlimitedUnlimited£28.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£33.00

There’s 12GB of tethering per month included on Pay Monthly SIM cards.

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 6s or the Galaxy S7, you’ll typically pay around £55/month for an unlimited data plan. On lower-cost devices like the Moto G 3rd Gen, all-you-can-eat data is sometimes available from £37/month.

Apple iPhone 6s

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

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£49.00
upfront
£55.00
monthly
£1,369.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£29.00
upfront
£56.00
monthly
£1,373.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£0.00
upfront
£72.00
monthly
£1,728.00
Samsung Galaxy S7

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

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetUpfrontMonthlyTotal Cost
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£29.00
upfront
£53.00
monthly
£1,301.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£0.00
upfront
£70.00
monthly
£1,680.00

A full list of available handsets can be found on the Three website. Pay Monthly contracts with all-you-can-eat data come with 12GB of tethering per month.

Pay As You Go

Three also offers an unlimited data plan on their Pay As You Go tariff. With the £20 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

Vodafone

Vodafone

Unlike the other 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 two 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 two-month Data Test Drive, Vodafone will send you a text message with your average data consumption over the past two months. You’ll then be offered the chance to upgrade to a higher package if you need more data.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Vodafone250Unlimited250MB£9.50
Vodafone500Unlimited500MB£12.00
Vodafone1,000Unlimited1GB£15.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£16.20
Vodafone500Unlimited5GB£17.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£18.70
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£22.95
Vodafone500Unlimited10GB£23.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£32.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£37.00

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 two months.

Key Information
Monthly Price: From £9.50/month (unlimited data for 2 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 2 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 50GB per month
iD Mobile Up to 10GB per month
LIFE Mobile Up to 4GB per month
O2 Up to 30GB per month
Tesco Mobile Up to 20GB per month
The People’s Operator Up to 6GB 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 or Three websites. For information on the Data Test Drive offer, see this page on Vodafone’s website.

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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 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

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