With a Pay As You Go bundle, you convert your credit into a one-month allowance of calls, texts and mobile data. We compare the UK’s best value Pay As You Go bundles.

In the UK, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Pay As You Go deals. With almost 70 Pay As You Go bundles across 12 different mobile networks, the best Pay As You Go deals can now rival those found on a Pay Monthly contract.

To get the best value from your Pay As You Go tariff, you’ll normally need to convert your credit into a one month bundle.

Buying a bundle is a little bit like paying for your airtime in bulk. Rather than paying on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis, you simply buy a one month bundle that covers all of your usage. If you’re a regular mobile user, this should save you money compared to traditional Pay As You Go. You’ll still retain full control over how much you spend, with no need to sign a contract or to undergo a credit check.

In the UK, there’s a wide range of Pay As You Go bundles available to choose from. In this article, we’ll compare the best value Pay As You Go bundles currently available on the market.

PAYG Bundles: How Do They Work?

When choosing a Pay As You Go tariff, it’s important to know the difference between the two ways of paying for your airtime:

Pay As You Go Bundles Traditional Pay As You Go
Best for regular mobile users and smartphone users. Best for light users who don’t have a smartphone.
Get a one month bundle with calls, texts & data included. Pay a fixed amount which is known in advance. Pay on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis. Rates are typically higher compared to a bundle.
Unused allowances expire after a month, after which you’ll need to buy another bundle. Your credit doesn’t expire providing you keep the SIM card active.
No credit check & no contracts to sign. No credit check & no contracts to sign.

Through the rest of this article, we’ll be comparing the best value Pay As You Go bundles. If you’re a light user instead wanting traditional Pay As You Go, please see our comparison of traditional Pay As You Go plans.

A Brief Overview Of Pay As You Go Bundles

Top Up LogoIn the UK, Pay As You Go bundles have been available since 2010. Having originally launched in response to growing smartphone adoption, bundles combine some of the benefits of Pay Monthly (including low costs and certainty over how much you’ll spend) with the benefits of traditional Pay As You Go (including lots of flexibility, no credit checks and no lengthy contracts).

With a bundle, the key difference is you’ll be using your Pay As You Go credit to buy mobile airtime in bulk. Rather than paying for your usage on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis, you’ll instead buy a one month bundle that covers all of your usage.

The advantage of buying a bundle is you’ll get much lower rates and certainty over how much you’ll spend every month. For instance, a £10 top-up can buy you a one-month bundle with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data. On traditional Pay As You Go, this would only get you up to 1GB of data with no minutes or texts.

For light users who don’t have a smartphone, traditional Pay As You Go tariffs are still available and can sometimes be a better value option. On traditional Pay As You Go, your credit normally won’t expire providing your SIM card remains active.

Recommended Bundles

At present, we’d recommend the £10/month bundle, either from VOXI or from giffgaff:

VOXI by Vodafone

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 6GB data and unlimited social data.
  • Uses the Vodafone network. 99% coverage, 3G & 4G internet, check coverage here.
  • Keep your current number. It’s easy to transfer your phone to VOXI.

VOXI is currently our recommended network if you’re looking for a good value Pay As You Go bundle.

Customers signing up to VOXI can get a £10 bundle with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data. You’ll also get endless social data included for use on Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Viber and Facebook Messenger.

If you’re a heavy data user, you can get 15GB of data for £15/month or 45GB of data for £20/month. VOXI is a subsidiary of Vodafone, offering 99% population coverage on Vodafone’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

Order VOXI SIM card (Free) →

giffgaff

giffgaff is another highly popular Pay As You Go mobile network. They offer 3G and 4G coverage from the O2 network.

The most popular bundle on giffgaff is the £10/month goodybag which gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data. Once you’ve been a giffgaff member for 3 months, this is automatically boosted to 7GB per month.

For heavy smartphone users, giffgaff has a competitive range of bundles with more data (e.g. 10GB of data for £12/month, 15GB of data for £15/month, and 40GB of data for £20/month). For customers with even heavier data usage, giffgaff has a £25 goodybag with Always-On data (unlimited downloads with 4G speeds on the first 40GB per month).

Order giffgaff SIM card (Free) →

For more information, please read our in-depth reviews of VOXI and giffgaff.

Bundles By Price Range

Through the rest of this article, we’ll be comparing Pay As You Go bundles at a range of price points from £5 up to £25 per month and more.

In the tables below, tap on a mobile network’s logo to see information about which coverage provider they’re using (i.e. whether they’re piggybacking on coverage from EE, O2, Three or Vodafone). You can also tap on the data allowance for information about download speeds.

From £5/month

5 Pound Note
In the UK, the cheapest Pay As You Go bundles start from £5/month.

There are currently six mobile networks offering a Pay As You Go bundle from £5 per month. Those networks are EE and Vodafone, along with four virtual network operators that piggyback on one of the coverage providers:

The cheapest Pay As You Go bundles start from £5 per month. For instance, you can get 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB (0.5GB) of data:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
ASDA Mobile200Unlimited500MB£5.00
iD Mobile150Unlimited500MB£5.00
Tesco Mobile100100250MB£5.00
EE100250150MB£5.00
Vodafone150250100MB£5.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimitedNo data£5.00
ASDA Mobile2502,000No data£5.00
giffgaff300500500MB£6.00

For about £7/month, you can get substantially more data. For instance, ASDA Mobile is offering 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data for £7/month (this is four times as much data as you’d get for £5/month). Alternatively, giffgaff offers 2GB of data for £8/month:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
ASDA Mobile300Unlimited2GB£7.00
Tesco Mobile250500500MB£7.50
Lycamobile150150500MB£7.50
giffgaff500Unlimited2GB£8.00

From £10/month

10 Pound Note

Most commonly, customers decide to choose a Pay As You Go bundle around the £10/month price point.

At the moment, our recommended deal is the £10 bundle from VOXI which gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 6GB of data and endless social data. You’ll get coverage from the Vodafone network.

Alternatively, giffgaff offers a £10 goodybag with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data. This is boosted to 7GB of data once you’ve been a giffgaff member for 3 months. The coverage on giffgaff comes from the O2 network.

For customers wanting to call abroad to other countries, Lebara Mobile’s £10 bundle comes with 100 international minutes to 41 countries.

The following table compares Pay As You Go bundles costing £10/month:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£10.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£10.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£10.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£10.00
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£10.00
ASDA Mobile600Unlimited4GB£10.00
iD Mobile500Unlimited4GB£10.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited3GB£10.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited1,0003GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0003GB£10.00
Vodafone250Unlimited3GB£10.00
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£10.00
EE100Unlimited2GB£10.00
Co-operative Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
EE250Unlimited1GB£10.00
EE5,000Unlimited50MB£10.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£12.00
ASDA Mobile800Unlimited5GB£12.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0004GB£12.50

From £15/month

15 Pound Notes

For £15 per month, we’d currently recommend giffgaff’s £15 goodybag. This comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 15GB of data (upgraded to 16GB per month once you’ve been a customer for 3 months). On giffgaff, you’ll get 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from O2.

The following table shows a list of Pay As You Go bundles from £15/month:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£15.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£15.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£15.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£15.00
ASDA Mobile1,000Unlimited8GB£15.00
iD Mobile1,000Unlimited8GB£15.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited6GB£15.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0006GB£15.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited1,0005GB£15.00
EE2,000Unlimited5GB£15.00
EE500Unlimited5GB£15.00
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£15.00
Co-operative Mobile7501,0002GB£15.00

From £20/month

20 Pound Note

For £20 per month, VOXI offers a 45GB bundle with endless social data. Alternatively, giffgaff has the £20 goodybag with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 40GB of data.

If you regularly travel abroad to other countries, Three offers a £20 bundle with 12GB of data. With this bundle, you’ll get access to Go Roam Around The World. This allows you to use your inclusive data allowance abroad in 71 destinations including most of Europe, the USA and Australia.

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimited45GB£20.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited40GB£20.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£20.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£20.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£20.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited10GB£20.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited1,00010GB£20.00
Vodafone1,000Unlimited10GB£20.00
Tesco Mobile2,0005,0008GB£20.00
EE1,500Unlimited4GB£20.00
Co-operative Mobile1,0001,0004GB£20.00

£25/month and more

For £25 per month, giffgaff offers the £25 goodybag with Always-On data. This gives you unlimited downloads with the first 40GB per month at full 4G speeds. After the first 40GB per month, your download speeds will reduce to a maximum of 384kbps between 8am and midnight. You’ll also get unlimited calls and unlimited texts included within the £25 goodybag.

The following Pay As You Go bundles are available for £25/month or more:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£25.00
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£25.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£25.00
EE3,000Unlimited10GB£25.00
EE2,000Unlimited8GB£25.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited36GB£27.50
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£30.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£30.00
Vodafone3,000Unlimited20GB£30.00
EE3,000Unlimited20GB£30.00
EE3,000Unlimited16GB£30.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£35.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited50GB£50.00

The price of bundles and their inclusive allowances can sometimes change without prior warning. If you’ve noticed a mistake in the tables above, please contact us by leaving a comment below. You can also send me an e-mail and I’ll endeavour to update the information here as quickly as possible.

Sources for tariff information: tescomobile.com, tescomobile.com, freesim.vodafone.co.uk, mobile.asda.com, mobile.cmlink.com, mobile.lebara.com, shop.ee.co.uk, shop.ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, idmobile.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, o2.co.uk, tescomobile.com, thephone.coop, three.co.uk, virginmedia.com, voxi.co.uk. Last updated on 8th November 2019.

More Information

For more information on the best Pay As You Go deals, see our guide to free Pay As You Go SIM card offers.

You may also find it useful to read our guide on mobile coverage and transferring your phone number from one mobile network to another.

Your Comments 168 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 168 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi, I’m a former UK resident (now In the US, my country of origin) and now occasional visitor to the UK (5-6 times a year, probably no more than 3 weeks total, maybe less). I currently use a Virgin PAYG SIM (I had them for pay monthly while I was resident), but looking at your guide it seems there are much better packages with other service providers. Probably my biggest issue with Virgin is that they only offer 3G service on PAYG; you need a pay monthly contract for 4G. Before I switched, I wanted your advice on which carrier provides the most reliable 4G service (we have LTE in America, is there a difference between this and 4G?). I see from your guide that many offer 2-4G; I’d like to go with the one that will give me 4G as much as possible, at least when I’m in/around London, where I spend the vast majority of my time in the UK. I’d also like a provider that allows me to leave the SIM dormant (no top ups, out of the phone, in a zip-lock bag in my bedroom in America) for as long as possible, as the timing of my trips to America is unpredictable. I might go once a month for 3 months and then not at all for 5-6 months. My trips never last longer than a week, usually only a few days, and I’m a moderate user, so I don’t need crazy high allowances.

    • Hi Jason,
      Thanks for your comment. Your message is actually rather timely as Virgin have recently announced some major price increases on Pay As You Go. This is triggering lots of people to look for new providers (in addition to the fact that they’ve been neglecting their Pay As You Go service e.g. only offering 3G coverage with it). To answer your questions:
      1. 4G and LTE are the exact same thing. Technically speaking, LTE is actually the proper official name for the technology. However, we tend just to call it ‘4G’ here in the UK as it’s a fourth-generation mobile network technology. I’m curious to see whether the Americans will continue this trend with 5G (the proper name for the new technology is New Radio or NR for short, which definitely doesn’t have the same ring to it)!
      2. Most UK mobile networks only require you to make a chargeable activity on your SIM card once every 180 days. Providing you do that, your SIM card and Pay As You Go credit should last indefinitely. See my guide to Pay As You Go inactivity periods for more information.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

    • Hi Mandadapu,
      Thanks for your feedback! The reason I haven’t included Smarty in this guide is because I don’t fully consider it to be a Pay As You Go network. Once you’re signed up to Smarty, you’ll need to continue paying at least £5/month to use the service (whereas other networks give you a lot more flexibility e.g. to pause a bundle and to move to traditional Pay As You Go rates). My full guide to Pay Monthly SIM cards can be found here 🙂
      Ken

  • Hi Ken,

    Do PAYG providers allow you to use mix of traditional PAYG and bundles? I use my phone/3G sporadically depending on my work, some months barely use it but other months I do make full use of my current contract’s allowance.

    Could I use my phone with traditional PAYG tariffs i.e. 1p/text as default, and then switch to a 30 day bundle for times when I’m using my phone more frequently? Or are the two not interchangeable? A bit confused!

    One more question. I’ve seen data only bundles that could suit my needs but I would still like access to phone/text as an emergency. Is there a way to pay normal tariffs for phone use while at the same time using a data bundle? I.e. 1p tariff for calls/texts but also £5/month for 1gb?

    I have a feeling your answers will be an unfortunate ‘no’ due to profitability for the service providers, but hey, I can dream!

    • Hi Maddie,
      I’m so sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
      The answer to both of your questions is actually yes! The great thing about Pay As You Go is you can decide to mix and match as required (with a couple of limits, in some cases). For instance, there’s nothing to say you always need to buy a one-month bundle… e.g. you could leave a gap between two bundles, and use traditional Pay As You Go rates in that time. Three’s 321 tariff is a good option if you want to do this (buy a 30-day bundle, or pay 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB), or ASDA Mobile (slightly better value bundles but you’ll pay 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB when you don’t have a bundle). It’s slightly complicated on a few providers like O2 Pay As You Go as they’ll charge you higher PAYG rates when you’re on the Big Bundles plan.
      With regards to data-only bundles, you can again combine this with calling and texting at the normal Pay As You Go rates. For instance, 1pMobile offers this through their Data Boost Bundles. In reality, however, competition tends to be greater for all-round bundles so you might find it better value just to choose a bundle that includes minutes, texts and mobile data.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

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