Cheapest Pay As You Go Bundles: Best Prepaid Plans For Your Mobile

August 28th, 2017

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 methods 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 classic 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 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB 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 Mobile is our recommended network for anyone wanting an all-round good value Pay As You Go bundle.

For £10/month, you’ll get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet. This is four times as many minutes and four times as much data to use each month compared to EE’s £10 Everything Pack.

ASDA also has a range of bundles for both light and heavy users (e.g. 1GB of data for £7/month, 3GB of data for £12/month or 5GB of data for £15/month).

ASDA Mobile has 99% population coverage from EE including super-fast 4G, 3G and 2G. 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. This gives you 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of 4G internet. This is twice as much data and five times as many minutes as you’d get on O2 for the same monthly price.

For heavy users, giffgaff has a competitive range of bundles with more data each month (e.g. 3GB of data for £12/month and 5GB of data for £15/month). There’s also a £20 goodybag with Always-On data (unlimited downloads with the first 6GB per month at 4G speeds).

Order giffgaff SIM card (Free) »

For more information, you can 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 the mobile network’s logo to find out which network coverage provider they’re using (i.e. whether they’re using coverage from EE, O2, Three or Vodafone). You can also place 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 less than £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 six 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
ASDA Mobile1252,000200MB£5.00
EE50250150MB£5.00
giffgaff150500100MB£5.00
iD Mobile125500100MB£5.00
Vodafone100250100MB£5.00
Tello100100100MB£5.00
Tesco Mobile100100100MB£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
Tello100100500MB£7.00
giffgaff250Unlimited750MB£7.50
Lycamobile150150500MB£7.50
Tesco Mobile250500250MB£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.

Our recommended bundle can be found on ASDA Mobile. You’ll get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet for £10/month. ASDA Mobile gives you 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from EE (you can check the coverage in your area here).

For an alternative that uses coverage from O2, we currently recommend giffgaff’s £10/month goodybag. It comes with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of 4G internet. As an alternative, giffgaff also has a £12 goodybag with 3GB of data.

Alternatively, if you’d also like to call other countries, it may also be worth having a look at the Lebara Mobile bundles (these include an allowance of international minutes).

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

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile1,0001002GB£10.00
Lycamobile1,000Unlimited2GB£10.00
ASDA Mobile600Unlimited2GB£10.00
giffgaff500Unlimited2GB£10.00
EE100Unlimited2GB£10.00
Three3,0003,0001GB£10.00
Co-operative Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0001GB£10.00
iD Mobile500Unlimited1GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile5001001GB£10.00
EE250Unlimited1GB£10.00
Vodafone200Unlimited1GB£10.00
O21001001GB£10.00
O22501,000500MB£10.00
EE250Unlimited10MB£10.00
Tello200Unlimited1GB£11.00
ASDA Mobile800Unlimited3GB£12.00
giffgaff750Unlimited3GB£12.00
Lycamobile1,000Unlimited2GB£12.00
Tello500Unlimited1GB£12.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£12.50
EE500Unlimited10MB£12.50
Tello500Unlimited2GB£14.00

From £15/month

15 Pound Notes

We recommend the £15/month deals from ASDA Mobile and giffgaff.

For £15 per month, we’d recommend either ASDA Mobile’s £15 bundle or giffgaff’s £15 goodybag. On both networks, you’ll get 1,000 minutes, unlimited texts and 5GB of 4G internet (ASDA Mobile uses coverage from EE whereas giffgaff uses coverage from O2). There’s also a £15 All-in-One bundle from Three but lacks access to tethering and portable hotspot.

You can also choose 4G-ready bundles from EE, Lycamobile, iD Mobile, O2 and Vodafone. There are also 3G-only bundles from Lebara Mobile and the Phone Co-Op.

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
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£15.00
Three3,0003,0005GB£15.00
ASDA Mobile1,000Unlimited5GB£15.00
giffgaff1,000Unlimited5GB£15.00
EE500Unlimited5GB£15.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited1004GB£15.00
iD Mobile1,000Unlimited4GB£15.00
O22502504GB£15.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0003GB£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
Tello500Unlimited3GB£16.00
giffgaff2,000Unlimited9GB£18.00

From £20/month

20 Pound Note

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

For £20 per month, giffgaff offers a goodybag with Always-On data. This gives you unlimited downloads with the first 6GB per month at full 4G speeds. You’ll also get unlimited calling and unlimited texting included in 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 (you can 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
Vodafone1,000Unlimited6GB£20.00
O22502506GB£20.00
Lebara Mobile5001005GB£20.00
Tesco Mobile2,0005,0004GB£20.00
EE1,500Unlimited4GB£20.00
Co-operative Mobile1,0001,0004GB£20.00
TelloUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£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
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, tello.co.uk, giffgaff.com, idmobile.co.uk, o2.co.uk, thephone.coop. Last updated on 13th September 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.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 90 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Ken said:

    Hi Ken
    Have you looked at C4C mobile? They are a charity-themed company and offer 5 gig for £10 for a month on PAYG. I did try them but found that the data vanished at about 4 times the rate I expected. Their explanation was that they measure data use at 100kb increments. I could not work out what this meant in practice, except that the data vanished quickly and it felt like I was really only getting about 1250 mb, not 5000.

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi fellow Ken,
      Many thanks for the feedback about C4C Mobile! I am aware of this network, but have never tried it out or written a review about them. It’s curious that your data allowance is disappearing so much faster than normal – is this something you’ve enquired about with them? I don’t buy in to the explanation about 100KB increments as mobile phones today tend to maintain an always-on connection (as opposed to making lots of individual connections, where each one can have its data usage rounded up to the next 100KB).
      Ken

      1. Ken replied:

        Hi again

        I have inquired and they are quite clear that 5 gig gets delivered. It must be a problem at my end although I can’t think what. C4C are a small outfit and seem to be quite genuine folk.

        I like the idea of 5gig for £10. But no other company comes close to that on PAYG. Unless you know of one.

  2. Diane said:

    Hi Ken
    Thanks for this great info. 2 more questions – are the bundles able to be used across Europe and can we get a SIM card from Heathrow during our stop over?
    Regards
    Di

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Diane,
      Many thanks for your comment. Yes, the bundles can be used in most other European countries – see my in-depth guide here for more information. For most people visiting the UK & Europe, my recommendation would probably be to get a SIM card from giffgaff (see the article here for more information). You can get a SIM card from many mobile networks at Heathrow, but I’d recommend this as you’ll typically pay well over the odds (if possible, either order a SIM card from giffgaff in advance, or wait until you get into town before buying a SIM card).
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

  3. Mark said:

    Thanks for your work. Am in the UK for the whole of july. Will need to buy a sim card because my NZ sim card wont allow me to use one of these deals and using my NZ card in the UK will blow my budget away.

    My question is to use an Asda pre-paid bundle would I need to go into Asda to get the bundle and get a sim card from EE. Can you buy these in the Supermarket?

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Mark,
      Many thanks for your comment. You can pick up an ASDA Mobile SIM card for 50p at ASDA supermarkets. Alternatively, if you’re not too fussy about which mobile network you join, most other supermarkets also stock a decent selection of SIM cards (e.g. from EE, O2, Three, Vodafone, etc). Expect to pay about £1 or £2 for a SIM card in-store.
      If you’d like to avoid the hassle and additional cost, you can also order an ASDA Mobile SIM card online to be sent in advance to your UK address.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      1. Mark replied:

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. You help is very much appreciated.

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