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
In 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).
At present, our recommended bundle costs £10/month on Pay As You Go from ASDA Mobile:
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).
If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go bundle with coverage from O2, we recommend giffgaff’s goodybag bundles:
giffgaff 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).
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
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:
- ASDA Mobile uses coverage from EE (read our review).
- giffgaff uses coverage from O2 (read our review).
- iD Mobile uses coverage from Three (read our review).
- Lycamobile uses coverage from O2 (read our review).
- Tesco Mobile uses coverage from O2 (read our review).
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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).
£25/month and more
The following Pay As You Go bundles are available for £25/month or more:
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.
For more information on the best Pay As You Go deals, see our guide to free Pay As You Go SIM card offers.