With a Pay As You Go bundle, you convert your credit into a one-month allowance of calls, texts and mobile data. 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 Pay As You Go 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 which covers 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 retain 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 price plans.
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 mobile airtime in bulk. Rather than 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 of buying a bundle 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 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data. On traditional Pay As You Go, this would only get you up to 1GB of data.
For light users who don’t have a smartphone, traditional Pay As You Go tariffs are still available and can be a better value option. On traditional Pay As You Go, your credit normally won’t expire providing your SIM card remains active.
At present, we’d recommend ordering the £10/month bundle from ASDA Mobile:
ASDA Mobile is our recommended network if you’re looking for a good value Pay As You Go bundle.
Most customers on ASDA Mobile choose the £10 bundle with 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data.
ASDA also has a range of other bundles for light or heavy users. For instance, you can get 2GB of data for £7/month or 8GB of data for £15/month. ASDA Mobile offers 99% population coverage on EE’s 2G, 3G and 4G network.
giffgaff is another highly popular option with bundles and coverage from O2:
giffgaff is another highly popular Pay As You Go mobile network. 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 (this is increased to 4GB per month once you’ve been a customer of giffgaff 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).
Bundles By Price Range
Through the rest of this article, we’ll be comparing Pay As You Go bundles at a range of price points from £5 up to £25 per month and more.
In the tables below, you can tap on a mobile network’s logo to see information about which coverage provider they’re using (i.e. whether they’re piggybacking on coverage from EE, O2, Three or Vodafone). You can also tap on the data allowance for information about download speeds and tethering.
There are currently seven mobile networks offering a Pay As You Go bundle from £5 per month. Those networks are EE and Vodafone, along with five virtual network operators that piggyback on one of the 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 instance, you can get 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 0.5GB (500MB) of data:
For about £7/month, you can get substantially more data. For instance, ASDA Mobile is offering 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data for £7/month (this is four times as much data as you’d get for £5/month). Alternatively, giffgaff offers 2GB of data for £8/month:
At the £10/month price point, there are 12 mobile networks offering a Pay As You Go bundle.
Our recommended deal is the £10 bundle from ASDA Mobile which gives you 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data. The coverage on ASDA Mobile is provided by EE.
Alternatively, giffgaff offers a £10 goodybag with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data. This is boosted to 4GB of data once you’ve been a giffgaff member for 3 months (coverage comes from the O2 network).
For customers wanting to call abroad to other countries, Lebara Mobile’s £10 bundle comes with 100 international minutes to one of 39 selected countries.
The following table compares Pay As You Go bundles costing £10/month:
For £15 per month, we’d currently recommend giffgaff’s £15 goodybag. This comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 8GB of internet (upgraded to 9GB per month once you’ve been a customer for 3 months). On giffgaff, you’ll get 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from O2.
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 offers a £20 bundle with 12GB of data. A benefit of choosing the bundle from Three is you’ll get access to the Go Roam Around The World offer. This allows you to use your inclusive 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. After the first 20GB per month, your download speeds will reduce to a maximum of 384kbps between 8am and midnight. You’ll also get unlimited calls and unlimited texts included within the £25 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.