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

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 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).

Recommended Bundles

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

giffgaff

Giffgaff Goodybagsgiffgaff 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).

Order giffgaff SIM card (Free) →

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

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

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:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaff150500500MB£5.00
ASDA Mobile1252,000250MB£5.00
Tesco Mobile100100250MB£5.00
EE100250150MB£5.00
Vodafone150250100MB£5.00
iD Mobile125500100MB£5.00
ASDA Mobile2502,000-£5.00

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:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ASDA Mobile300Unlimited1GB£7.00
giffgaff250Unlimited2GB£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 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:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£10.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited1,0003GB£10.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£10.00
ASDA Mobile600Unlimited3GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0003GB£10.00
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£10.00
O25005,0002GB£10.00
Virgin Mobile5005002GB£10.00
Vodafone250Unlimited2GB£10.00
EE100Unlimited2GB£10.00
Three3,0003,0001GB£10.00
Co-operative Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
iD Mobile500Unlimited1GB£10.00
EE250Unlimited1GB£10.00
EE5,000Unlimited50MB£10.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£12.00
ASDA Mobile800Unlimited4GB£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. 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:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£15.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£15.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited1,0006GB£15.00
ASDA Mobile1,000Unlimited6GB£15.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0006GB£15.00
Virgin Mobile1,0001,0006GB£15.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited1,0005GB£15.00
Three3,0003,0005GB£15.00
EE2,000Unlimited5GB£15.00
O21,0005,0005GB£15.00
EE500Unlimited5GB£15.00
iD Mobile1,000Unlimited4GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile2501,0003GB£15.00
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£15.00
Co-operative Mobile7501,0002GB£15.00

From £20/month

20 Pound Note

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).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£20.00
Three3,0003,00012GB£20.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited11GB£20.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited1,00010GB£20.00
Virgin Mobile2,0002,00010GB£20.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited9GB£20.00
O22,0005,0008GB£20.00
Tesco Mobile2,0005,0008GB£20.00
Vodafone1,000Unlimited8GB£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 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:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00
Three3,0003,00030GB£25.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£25.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£25.00
O23,0005,00010GB£25.00
EE3,000Unlimited10GB£25.00
EE2,000Unlimited8GB£25.00
O25,0005,00020GB£30.00
Vodafone3,000Unlimited20GB£30.00
EE3,000Unlimited20GB£30.00
EE3,000Unlimited16GB£30.00
Three3,0003,000Unlimited£35.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited22GB£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: tescomobile.com, tescomobile.com, three.co.uk, freesim.vodafone.co.uk, mobile.asda.com, mobile.lebara.com, mobile.lebara.com, mobile.lebara.com, shop.ee.co.uk, shop.ee.co.uk, shop.tescomobile.com, giffgaff.com, idmobile.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, o2.co.uk, thephone.coop, virginmedia.com. Last updated on 31st October 2018.

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 134 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 134 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Michael wild said:

    Wow,Thank you for this comparison site, very informative and well ordered. the best site I have seen.10/10.

  • Hi just wondering why you have not added smarty pay as you go to the list
    and shouldnt superdrug be included in the list as you have written a article about them
    also is there any info to find out what unlimted means exactly for example tesco pay as you rocket pack i get 5000 text but can only send no more than 400 texts a day
    where as asda pay as you £10 says unlimted but you can only send 100 text a day
    otherwise good website

    • Hi Jason,
      Thanks for the feedback! I’ve spent quite a bit of time deliberating about how to include Smarty and Superdrug Mobile in our tables. Although they are technically pre-paid tariffs, there actually resemble Pay Monthly much more closely. One of the benefits of a Pay As You Go bundle is you actually get lots of additional flexibility (e.g. leaving a gap between your bundles, switching to standard Pay As You Go rates for a while, continuing to receive incoming calls when you don’t have a bundle, etc). On Smarty, you don’t really get any of this flexibility and need to have a bundle at all times. For this reason, I’ve treated them as a Pay Monthly provider (albeit, one that doesn’t have credit checks and requires you to pay upfront).
      Ken

  • I’m planning to go to the UK for 7 weeks. Is the PAYG Bundle there a contract or I can simply go & buy a deal from a shop without any contracts?
    I’m a light user but need the PAYG Sim card for texts, short local mobile calls and checking WhatsApp messages only while in the UK. Any suggestions please? I will be spending most of my time around west Yorkshire

    • Hi Zali,
      The PAYG Bundle isn’t a contract, so there’s no commitment to continue using it every month. So you could use it for just 2 months, and then stop topping-up and renewing the bundle. Typically, giffgaff will be the easiest option if you’re from outside the UK, but you can equally also choose another network (but you may need to top-up in person at a shop rather than doing so online). For more information, you can also have a read of my guide for people who are visiting or moving to the UK.
      Ken

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