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 70 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 (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 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 every month. For instance, a £10 top-up can buy you a 30-day bundle with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB 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 giffgaff:
giffgaff is a highly popular mobile 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 unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data at 4G speeds (this is increased automatically to 4GB per month once you’ve been a customer for 3 months).
For heavy smartphone users, giffgaff has a competitive range of bundles with more data (e.g. 4GB of data for £12/month, 8GB of data for £15/month, and 20GB of data for £20/month). On all of these bundles, you’ll get an extra 1GB added to your allowance once you’ve been a customer for 3 months. For customers with even heavier data usage, giffgaff has a £25 goodybag with Always-On data (unlimited downloads with 4G speeds on the first 20GB per month).
For more information, please read our in-depth review of 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
There are currently seven 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 150 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB (0.5GB) of internet:
For about £7/month, you can get substantially more data. For instance, ASDA Mobile offers 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet for £7/month, whereas giffgaff offers 2GB of internet for £7.50/month:
At the £10/month price point, there are 12 mobile networks offering a Pay As You Go bundle.
giffgaff offers the best value all-round bundle for £10/month. On their £10/month goodybag, you’ll get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of internet (giffgaff uses coverage from the O2 network). After you’ve been a giffgaff customer for more than 3 months, this is increased automatically to 4GB per month.
If you occasionally want to call abroad to other countries, it may also be worth having a look at Lebara’s £10 All in One bundle. This comes with an inclusive allowance of 100 international minutes along with unlimited UK minutes and 3GB of data at 3G speeds.
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 unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 8GB of 4G internet (upgraded to 9GB per month for no extra charge once you’ve been a customer for 3 months). On giffgaff, you’ll get 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from O2.
4G-ready bundles are also available at this price point from ASDA Mobile, EE, Lycamobile, iD Mobile, O2, Three and Vodafone. Lebara Mobile, The Phone Co-Op and Virgin Mobile offer 3G-only bundles for £15/month.
The following table shows a list of Pay As You Go bundles from £15/month:
For £20 per month, giffgaff offers the £20 goodybag with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 20GB of data.
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 your data allowance abroad in 71 destinations including most of Europe, the USA and Australia).
£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 20GB per month at full 4G speeds. You’ll also get unlimited calling and unlimited texting included within the £20 goodybag.
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.