You can get a 5G SIM Only Deal from £15/month in the UK. We compare 5G SIM cards from EE, Vodafone and more.
In the UK, it’s possible to get a SIM-only deal with 5G coverage from as little as £15/month. Compared to older 3G and 4G SIM cards, this gives you access to faster 5G download speeds, along with the greater network capacity and reduced latency when using a 5G mobile network.
In this article, we’ll compare the 5G SIM Only Deals currently available in the UK. We’ll then look at the 5G price plans on each mobile network in more detail, before investigating the benefits of 5G, the handsets you can use 5G with and the coverage that’s available on different networks.
Compare 5G SIM Only Deals
The following table shows a list of these deals:
Showing 13 of 13 price plans that match your criteria
To benefit from the fastest 5G download speeds, you’ll need a 5G-ready handset and you’ll need to be in a 5G coverage area. If you aren’t able to access 5G, you can still access older types of coverage like 3G and 4G on any of these SIM cards.
5G SIM Cards: By Network
BT have said that their 5G mobile service will launch to customers in Autumn 2019. It will initially be available to BT Mobile customers who take their mobile phone plan as part of a BT Plus package. This gives you superfast fibre broadband at home along with BT Mobile SIM cards that have double the amount of data. You’ll also be able to benefit from BT’s Keep Connected promise.
The pricing for BT Mobile’s 5G SIM-only deals is still yet to be confirmed. However, you can register your interest on their website to find out more when they launch 5G.
BT Mobile will be using 5G coverage from EE, so the 5G coverage you’ll get on BT Mobile will be the same as the coverage on EE.
EE was the UK’s first mobile network to offer a 5G service, having launched it in May 2019. Their 5G network (5GEE) is currently available in six UK cities: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. This is due to be extended to another 10 cities by the end of 2019 (Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield).
You can get a 5G-ready SIM Only deal from £32/month on EE:
All of EE’s 5G-ready SIM cards come on a 12-month contract, with two Swappable Benefits included in the price (e.g. a Video Data Pass, Music Data Pass, the Roam Further Pass or access to the BT Sport app). You’ll get uncapped download speeds on the EE network (in theory up to 1,000Mbit/s, but realistically more like 150-200Mbit/s on 5G).
O2 are still yet to announce the exact launch date of their 5G service, except from saying that it will arrive in 2019. Initially, 5G coverage will be available in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London by the end of 2019. The roll out of 5G in other towns and cities will then take place in 2020.
You can register your interest in O2’s 5G service on their website. Alternatively, we’ll keep you updated on this page as soon as O2 announce further details.
Three will be launching their 5G mobile service in August 2019. It will initially roll out to customers in London, followed by a further 24 towns and cities before the end of the year:
Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland and Wolverhampton.
Pricing is still yet to be confirmed for Three’s 5G SIM cards, but we’re expecting it to be fairly competitive against the 5G deals from Vodafone. In recent months, Three have been heavily pushing their unlimited data plans so we’re expecting this to play a big part in their new 5G offering.
Sky Mobile are still yet to announce the exact launch date of their 5G service and their line-up of 5G SIM-only deals. It’s expected they’ll launch 5G coverage at the same time as O2 (as they’re using O2 as their network coverage provider) which means a 5G service should be available by the end of 2019.
Vodafone’s 5G network is currently available in 15 towns and cities:
Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bristol, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Lancaster, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newbury, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton
A further 7 towns and cities (Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton and Warrington) should be connected to Vodafone 5G by the end of the year.
You can choose from the following 5G SIM-only deals on Vodafone from just £15/month:
All of the SIM cards shown will all give you access to 5G coverage on a 12-month contract. If you’d like more flexibility, you can pay an extra £2/month to have the plan on a 30-day rolling basis.
On a 12-month plan, you can optionally add a £6/month Entertainment package if you choose the Red 20GB, Unlimited or Unlimited Max price plans. This will give you access to Amazon Prime Video, NOW TV, Sky Sports Mobile TV or Spotify Premium. You’ll also get 100 UK-to-EU minutes every month.
On Vodafone’s Unlimited Lite and Unlimited price plans, there is a restriction on the maximum download speeds you’re able to obtain (2Mbit/s on Unlimited Lite and 10Mbit/s on Unlimited). You’ll need to choose the Unlimited Max price plan for unlimited data without speed restrictions.
At the time of writing, other mobile networks are still yet to confirm the launch date for their 5G services.
For a mobile network to launch 5G, their underlying coverage provider will first need to switch on 5G coverage themselves. To give an example, giffgaff uses O2 as their network coverage provider. This means the earliest date they can switch on 5G is when O2 launches their own 5G service.
In reality, individual mobile networks will normally get 5G a little bit later than the underlying coverage provider. This is because the four major networks (EE, O2, Three and Vodafone) like to keep the latest technology as an exclusive for their own customers. This pattern was also seen when 4G launched in the UK, with individual networks often getting it one or two years after the underlying coverage provider.
The following table keeps track of the 5G coverage provider for each mobile network and any announcements that have already been made around the launch date:
|Mobile Network||5G Coverage Provider||5G Launch Date|
|1pMobile||EE||TBC – “as soon as we have access” (see announcement)|
|ASDA Mobile||EE||TBC – “not currently available” (see FAQ)|
|Plusnet Mobile||EE||TBC – “no information regarding 5G” (see discussion)|
|Virgin Mobile||EE||TBC (see discussion)|
For more information, see our full guide to mobile phone coverage in the UK.
Benefits of 5G
There are three main benefits to using a 5G mobile network:
- 5G has greater network capacity. 5G mobile networks have much more capacity for carrying data than older 3G and 4G networks. This means a lot more people can be using their phones before the mobile network gets congested in an area. This can be important in places like a sports stadium, a train station or other city centre locations where many people are using their phone at the same time.
- 5G has lower latency. Latency refers to the amount of time it takes for data to travel from your phone to the internet and back. On present-day 4G mobile networks, average latency is around 50ms (0.05 seconds). On 5G networks, this should drop to less than 10ms (0.01 seconds). This lower latency is important for online gaming, as well as technologies like augmented reality.
- 5G offers faster download speeds. On 5G, it’s possible to get average download speeds of around 150-200Mbit/s. This compares to around 30Mbit/s for present-day 4G mobile networks. Maximum download speeds on 5G can be even faster than this (sometimes up to 1,000Mbit/s or 1Gbit/s) but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to access these download speeds at the start.
See our guide to mobile network download speeds for more in-depth information.
To get the benefits of 5G technology, you’ll need a handset that supports the latest 5G mobile networks. At the time of writing, the following 5G handsets are available to buy in the UK:
- LG V50 ThinQ: Available on EE.
- OnePlus 7 Pro 5G: Available on EE.
- OPPO Reno 5G: Available on EE.
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G: Available on EE and Vodafone.
- Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G: Available on Vodafone.
You may also be able to buy a 5G smartphone from various retailers on an unlocked basis.
All of the 5G-ready smartphones currently available on the market are powered by Google’s Android operating system. If you’re looking for an Apple iPhone that supports 5G coverage, this is likely to only be available around September 2020 according to the latest industry rumours.
If your handset doesn’t support 5G technology, you’ll still be able to access 3G and 4G coverage on a 5G-ready SIM card.
To benefit from 5G technology, you’ll need to be in a 5G coverage area. At the moment, there is a phased rollout of 5G coverage across the UK, mainly starting from the largest towns and cities.
The following table shows a list of confirmed launch dates for when 5G coverage will roll out on different UK mobile networks:
|Mobile Network||Launch Date||Confirmed Towns and Cities|
|EE (check coverage)||May 2019||London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast|
|End of 2019||Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield|
|2020||Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Leicester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton and Wolverhampton|
|O2 (check coverage)||End of 2019||Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London|
|Three (check coverage)||August 2019||London|
|End of 2019||Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland and Wolverhampton|
|Vodafone (check coverage)||July 2019||Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bristol, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Lancaster, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newbury, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton|
|End of 2019||Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton and Warrington|
If 5G coverage hasn’t yet launched in your area, you’ll still be able to receive coverage from older 3G and 4G mobile networks.