With a Pay As You Go bundle, you convert your credit into a one-month allowance of calls, texts and mobile internet. 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 more than 80 Pay As You Go bundles across 12 different mobile networks, the strongest prepaid 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 30-day 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 just buy a 30-day bundle to cover 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 also keep full control over how much you spend, with no need to sign any contracts 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 30-day bundle with calls, texts & mobile 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 30 days, 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 tariffs.

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 (e.g. low costs and certainty over how much you’ll spend) with the benefits of traditional Pay As You Go (e.g. lots of flexibility, no credit checks and no contracts).

With a bundle, the key difference is you’ll be using your Pay As You Go credit to buy airtime in bulk. Instead of paying for usage on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis, you’ll instead buy a 30-day bundle to cover all of your usage.

The advantage is you’ll get much lower rates and certainty over how much you’ll spend each month. For instance, a £10 top-up could buy you a 30-day bundle with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 12GB of internet. On traditional Pay As You Go, this would only get you up to 500 minutes and 0.5GB of internet.

Traditional Pay As You Go tariffs are still available on the market and can be a better option for light users who don’t have a smartphone. On traditional Pay As You Go, your credit won’t expire providing your SIM card remains active (this normally means using your phone at least once every 6 months).

Recommended Bundles

At present, our recommended bundle costs £10/month on Pay As You Go from ASDA Mobile:

ASDA Mobile

ASDA is offering 12GB data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts for £10/month.

ASDA Mobile is our recommended network for anyone wanting an all-round good value Pay As You Go bundle.

Customers joining ASDA Mobile before the 9th January 2018 will be able to buy ASDA Mobile’s £10 festive bundle. The bundle comes with a massive 12GB of internet along with unlimited minutes and unlimited texts. You can benefit from the offer by ordering a free ASDA Mobile SIM card and then texting ‘festive’ to 2732.

ASDA also offers a range of bundles for light users (e.g. 300 minutes and 1GB of data for £7/month).

ASDA Mobile has 99% population coverage from EE including super-fast 4G, 3G and 2G coverage. It’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number and to transfer it to ASDA Mobile.

Order ASDA Mobile SIM card (Free) →

If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go bundle with coverage from O2, we recommend giffgaff’s goodybag bundles:

giffgaff

Giffgaff Goodybag Icons - Newgiffgaff is another highly popular network for their Pay As You Go bundles. They offer 3G and 4G coverage from the O2 network.

The most popular bundle on giffgaff is the £10/month goodybag which gives you 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of 4G internet. This is five times as many minutes and three times more data than you’d get on O2’s £10 Data Big Bundle.

For heavy smartphone users, giffgaff has a competitive range of bundles with more data (e.g. 4GB of data for £12/month and 6GB of data for £15/month). There’s also a £20 goodybag with Always-On data (unlimited downloads with 4G speeds on the first 9GB per month).

Order giffgaff SIM card (Free) →

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

Bundles By Price Range

Through the rest of this article, we’ll be comparing Pay As You Go bundles at multiple price points.

In the tables below, you can hover your mouse over a mobile network’s logo to find out which coverage provider they’re using (i.e. whether they’ll give you coverage from EE, O2, Three or Vodafone). You can also hover your mouse over the data allowance for information about download speeds and tethering.

Less than £10/month

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

There are currently eight mobile networks offering a Pay As You Go bundle for less than £10 per month. The networks are EE and Vodafone, along with five virtual network operators that piggyback on one of the main coverage providers:

The cheapest Pay As You Go bundles start from £5 per month. For this, you can get 125 minutes, 2000 texts and 200MB (0.2GB) of internet:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Tesco Mobile100100250MB£5.00
ASDA Mobile1252,000200MB£5.00
EE50250150MB£5.00
giffgaff150500100MB£5.00
iD Mobile125500100MB£5.00
Vodafone100250100MB£5.00
Vodafone100250100MB£5.00
ASDA Mobile2502,000-£5.00
Lycamobile150150-£5.00

For £7/month, you can get substantially more data (about five times as much for just £2/month more). For instance, ASDA Mobile offers 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet for £7/month:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ASDA Mobile300Unlimited1GB£7.00
giffgaff250Unlimited1GB£7.50
Tesco Mobile250500500MB£7.50
Lycamobile150150500MB£7.50

From £10/month

10 Pound Note
A range of deals are available for £10/month.

At the £10/month price point, there are currently 12 mobile networks offering a Pay As You Go bundle.

Until the 9th January 2018, ASDA Mobile’s £10 festive bundle is our recommended deal for the majority of readers. You’ll get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 12GB of internet with 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from EE.

For an alternative network that offers coverage from O2, we’d currently recommend giffgaff’s £10/month goodybag. It comes with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of 4G internet.

If you occasionally want to call abroad to other countries, it may also be worth having a look at Lebara’s £10 UK Plan bundle. This comes with an inclusive allowance of 100 international minutes along with 1,000 UK minutes and 2GB of 3G data.

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

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£10.00
giffgaff500Unlimited3GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile1,0001002GB£10.00
Lycamobile1,000Unlimited2GB£10.00
ASDA Mobile600Unlimited2GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£10.00
EE100Unlimited2GB£10.00
Three3,0003,0001GB£10.00
Co-operative Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
iD Mobile500Unlimited1GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile5001001GB£10.00
EE250Unlimited1GB£10.00
Vodafone200Unlimited1GB£10.00
Vodafone200Unlimited1GB£10.00
O21001001GB£10.00
O22501,000500MB£10.00
EE250Unlimited10MB£10.00
giffgaff750Unlimited4GB£12.00
ASDA Mobile800Unlimited3GB£12.00
Lycamobile1,000Unlimited2GB£12.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0003GB£12.50
EE500Unlimited10MB£12.50

From £15/month

15 Pound Notes
We recommend giffgaff’s £15 goodybag with 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data.

For £15 per month, we’d currently recommend giffgaff’s £15 goodybag. You’ll get 1,000 minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of 4G internet (with 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from O2). Alternatively, if you’d prefer having additional minutes instead of more data, Three has a £15 All-in-One bundle with 3000 minutes, 3000 texts and 5GB of internet.

4G-ready bundles are also available at this price point from ASDA Mobile, EE, Lycamobile, iD Mobile, O2 and Vodafone. Lebara Mobile and the Phone Co-Op offer 3G-only bundles for £15/month.

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

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£15.00
giffgaff1,000Unlimited6GB£15.00
Three3,0003,0005GB£15.00
ASDA Mobile1,000Unlimited5GB£15.00
EE500Unlimited5GB£15.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited1004GB£15.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0004GB£15.00
iD Mobile1,000Unlimited4GB£15.00
O22502504GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile5001003GB£15.00
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£15.00
Co-operative Mobile7501,0002GB£15.00
O27502,0002GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile1,0001001GB£15.00
EE750Unlimited10MB£15.00

If you’re a heavy data user, giffgaff’s £18 goodybag can be a good choice with 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and 9GB of 4G data.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaff2,000Unlimited9GB£18.00

From £20/month

20 Pound Note
giffgaff has always-on data for £20/month.

For £20 per month, giffgaff offers the £20 goodybag with Always-On data. This gives you unlimited downloads with the first 9GB per month at full 4G speeds. You’ll also get unlimited calling and unlimited texting included within the £20 goodybag.

As an alternative, Three has a £20 bundle with 12GB of 4G internet. A benefit of choosing the bundle from Three is you’ll get access to Feel At Home Around The World (this allows you to use up to 9GB of your data allowance abroad in 60 destinations including most of Europe, the USA and Australia).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£20.00
Three3,0003,00012GB£20.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited11GB£20.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited10010GB£20.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£20.00
Tesco Mobile2,0005,0006GB£20.00
Vodafone1,000Unlimited6GB£20.00
Vodafone1,000Unlimited6GB£20.00
O22502506GB£20.00
Lebara Mobile5001005GB£20.00
EE1,500Unlimited4GB£20.00
Co-operative Mobile1,0001,0004GB£20.00
Lebara Mobile1,0001003GB£20.00

£25/month and more

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

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Three3,0003,00030GB£25.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£25.00
EE2,000Unlimited8GB£25.00
O25005008GB£25.00
Vodafone3,000Unlimited20GB£30.00
Vodafone3,000Unlimited20GB£30.00
O250050020GB£30.00
EE3,000Unlimited16GB£30.00
Lebara Mobile1,00010010GB£30.00
Three3,0003,000Unlimited£35.00

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: shop.ee.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, tescomobile.com, tescomobile.com, three.co.uk, freesim.vodafone.co.uk, mobile.asda.com, mobile.lebara.com, mobile.lebara.com, mobile.lebara.com, mobile.lebara.com, shop.ee.co.uk, shop.tescomobile.com, giffgaff.com, idmobile.co.uk, o2.co.uk, thephone.coop. Last updated on 20th November 2017.

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 on transferring your phone number from one mobile network to another.

Your Comments 104 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 104 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi Ken,
    I’m surprised you’ve not included Smarty in this PAYG update. Their three price points offer great value compared to many of the deals you’ve listed in your article. They use the 3 network so a 3G/4G handset is required and it’s important to note they don’t offer international calls or roaming as yet.

    • Hi Paul,
      Many thanks for your feedback! Smarty is a really interesting one, and I’ve deliberated many times about whether to consider it a ‘Pay Monthly’ or ‘Pay As You Go’ tariff. In the end, I decided to classify it as a Pay Monthly deal and as such, it isn’t listed on this page. While technically speaking Smarty is a pre-paid tariff, there are several features within it that make me consider it more as a Pay Monthly deal:
      1) There’s no option to use it on traditional Pay As You Go without paying regular monthly subscription fees. On all other Pay As You Go networks, you can simply cancel the renewal of your bundle and use your handset at per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte rates.
      2) Unless you pay a monthly fee for your service, you also won’t be able to receive incoming phone calls. This makes it much less flexible and more like a Pay Monthly SIM rather than a Pay As You Go SIM.
      You’re right in that it’s technically a pre-paid deal and as such there’s no need to get a credit check, etc. However, I think the reduced flexibility & obligation to pay monthly make it significantly different and less comparable to other Pay As You Go deals.
      Let me know if you have any thoughts!
      Thanks,
      Ken

  • Hi Ken. Im on the 02 £30 big bundle which gives me 20 gig of constant speed 4g data 3000 minutes and 4000 texts. Its my sole source of internet (no home broadband). They recently changed it to 20 gig, 500 mins and 500 texts which isn’t so attractive but kept me on the original bundle of 20 gig 3000 mins and 4000 texts. Can this be beaten? I don’t mean by the likes of giffgaff where speeds slow down after 6 gig. I mean bundles with constant speed throughout the data limit? Just curious as what i get for £30 per months covers everything i need and wondering who else can match or better this? Many thanks.

    • Hi Martyn,
      Many thanks for your comment. This is a decent deal if you require tethering & 20GB of data (I don’t think it can really be beaten unless you maybe consider a Pay Monthly contract). Three has a slightly cheaper deal on Pay As You Go (20GB with 3000 minutes & 3000 texts for £25/month) but you’re unable to tether on Pay As You Go so you can’t share the data with other devices.
      Ken

  • What do the free call bundle deals cover? Presumably 0800 numbers and local rate numbers such as 0845 and 0870? Anything else?

    • Hi Andy,
      It covers all phone calls to a standard UK landline or mobile number. Broadly speaking, that’s most phone numbers beginning with 01, 02, 03 and 07 (the exceptions being Channel Islands & Isle of Man phone numbers). More information here in my guide to UK phone numbers.
      0800 phone numbers are freephone so you can call them free of charge (no need to use up any of your inclusive minutes). Meanwhile, phone calls to an 084 or 087 number are charged at a premium – see my guide to special-rate phone numbers for more information.
      Ken

      • It would be useful for the list of number types and prefixes that are normally included within allowances to be detailed within this article. It’s a core part of “How it works”.

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