With a Pay As You Go bundle, you’ll convert your credit into a one-month allowance of minutes, texts and mobile data. Compare the UK’s best value bundles.

If you’re currently looking for a Pay As You Go bundle in the UK, there are more than 80 Pay As You Go bundles to choose from across 13 providers.

When you buy a Pay As You Go bundle, you’ll convert your Pay As You Go credit into a one month allowance of minutes, texts and mobile data. This will usually save you money compared to traditional Pay As You Go, unless you happen to be a light user spending less than £5 per month.

The benefit of Pay As You Go bundles is that you’ll retain complete control over how much you spend. There’s also no need to sign a contract or to undergo a credit check to get one. You also have the flexibility to stop your bundles or to change them at any time (including moving back to traditional Pay As You Go).

In this article, we’ll compare the Pay As You Go bundles that are currently available in the UK. We’ll also look at the best value plans available, the different providers you can choose from, and the different features that are available.

Recommended Bundle: 20GB data for £10 on giffgaff
(includes 4G & 5G coverage on O2, with 1GB extra data from third month)
  • No contract & no credit check
  • Pay a fixed monthly price for minutes, texts & data
  • Switch your bundle, or move to traditional Pay As You Go at any time
Cheapest PAYG Bundles:

What Are Pay As You Go Bundles?

In the UK, there are two different types of Pay As You Go plan: monthly bundles and traditional Pay As You Go. The following table shows a comparison of the two options:

Pay As You Go Bundles Traditional Pay As You Go
Best for smartphone and regular mobile users. Best for light users who don’t have a smartphone.
Get a one month bundle with calls, texts & 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 a month, 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.

Most Pay As You Go mobile customers will now choose to buy a bundle as it offers much better value for regular usage. For instance, a £10 monthly top-up will buy you 20GB of data on giffgaff. You’ll also get unlimited minutes and unlimited texts included in your bundle. For comparison, traditional Pay As You Go customers will only get up to 1GB data for £10 (this is without any inclusive minutes or texts).

If you’re a light mobile user wanting to spend less than £5 per month, see our guide to Pay As You Go SIMs for light usage.

Recommended Bundles

For most people, we’d currently recommend giffgaff’s £10 golden goodybag:


giffgaff is a highly popular Pay As You Go network amongst readers of our website. They offer Pay As You Go bundles with O2 coverage, including access to 5G at no extra cost.

At present, the most popular bundle is giffgaff’s £10 golden goodybag. This gives you 20GB of data, along with unlimited minutes and texts. From your third month onwards, this will be boosted with an extra 1GB to give you a total of 21GB per month. You’ll also get access to O2’s 5G network on this plan.

If you need an even larger data allowance, giffgaff has a range of competitive bundles with even more data. For instance, you can get 35GB data for £15/month and 100GB data for £20/month. It’s also possible to get Always-On data on giffgaff from £25/month.

Order giffgaff SIM card (Free) →

Compare Pay As You Go Bundles

To compare all of the currently available Pay As You Go bundles, you can use the following interactive comparison tool. Simply choose how much data you want. You can also filter by the coverage provider or by individual networks.

How much data do you want on your plan each month?

Which networks would you be happy to take a plan from?

Showing 88 of 88 price plans that match your criteria

ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedNo data£4.00
Lebara Mobile1,0001,0005GB£5.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£5.00
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£6.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£7.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£7.50
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£8.00
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£8.00
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£10.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00010GB£10.00
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00015GB£12.50
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£15.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£15.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00025GB£15.00
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£15.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited50GB£20.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00050GB£20.00
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£20.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£22.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£24.00
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£25.00
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£30.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,000100GB£30.00

You can scroll through the complete list to see the Pay As You Go bundles that match your criteria. If you’re unsure how much data you want on your plan, see our guide to mobile download limits.

Pay As You Go Bundle Providers

The following table shows a list of UK mobile networks that currently offer Pay As You Go bundles. It also shows the cheapest available bundle on each network, the underlying coverage provider and any extra benefits you’ll get when joining:

Mobile Network Plans From Coverage Provider Key Features
ASDA Mobile £4/month Vodafone
EE £10/month EE
  • Unused data rolls over for one month
giffgaff £6/month O2
  • Extra 1GB from third goodybag (£10+ plans)
iD Mobile £6/month Three
Lebara Mobile £5/month Vodafone
  • Inclusive international calls
Lycamobile £5/month O2
  • Inclusive international calls
O2 £10/month O2
  • Access to O2 Priority app & offers
  • Unused data rolls over for one month
Tesco Mobile £7.50/month O2
Three £10/month Three
  • Access to Three+ app & offers
Vodafone £10/month Vodafone
  • Access to VeryMe Rewards app
  • Unused data rolls over for one month
VOXI £10/month Vodafone
  • Endless social media from £10
  • Endless video streaming from £15

It’s also possible to get SIM-only plans with no contract and no credit check (for instance, on Honest Mobile, SMARTY and Superdrug Mobile). Although they have some similarities to the Pay As You Go bundles mentioned in this article, they won’t allow you to pause your plan. You also won’t be able to move to traditional Pay As You Go. For this reason, you’ll have a little bit less flexibility on these plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Pay As You Go bundles?
With a Pay As You Go bundle, you’ll convert your Pay As You Go credit into a one month allowance of minutes, texts and mobile data. This will normally save you money compared to traditional Pay As You Go.
How much do Pay As You Go bundles cost?
In the UK, you can get a Pay As You Go bundle with unlimited minutes & texts for as little as £4 on ASDA Mobile.

However, for most people wanting to use their smartphone on-the-go, we’d recommend choosing a Pay As You Go bundle with inclusive data from £5 per month.

What are the best Pay As You Go bundles?
At present, we recommend giffgaff’s £10 golden goodybag which gives you 20GB data for £10. You’ll get 4G & 5G coverage from O2, along with an extra 1GB data from your third month onwards.

If you’re looking for a smaller data allowance, you can also consider ASDA Mobile’s £5 bundle with 3GB data.

Can I use Pay As You Go without topping up every month?
Yes. If you don’t want to buy a bundle every month, you can get a traditional Pay As You Go plan instead. This is ideal for light mobile users not wanting to top-up every month.

On traditional Pay As You Go plans, rates currently start from 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB.

More Information

For more information, see our guide to free Pay As You Go SIM cards. You can also read our other guides on Pay As You Go and SIM-only deals in the UK.

Your Comments 187 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 187 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

    • Hi Ross,
      Thanks for your comment. Sadly, I haven’t done any research into those providers, nor have I tried them myself so I’ve got nothing further to share! Hopefully someone else reading this might have some feedback however?

    • There is no link to fresh mobile via the above address.
      Fresh mobile has closed. According to money saving expert.com

  • Stengo Monkford said:

    I want unlimited data. I’m with gift gaff, it’s £25″a month and after you use so much data(took approximately a week)you are no longer on the fast speed connectin. It’s pathetic. I’m downloading a mobile game at 56 mb, and its took 45 mins and I’m only 60% complete. Any better networks with better deals you’d recommend?

  • Hello,
    over the past few years i’ve quite often referred to your website when changing or comparing networks here in N. Ireland. Just wanted to say your site is much appreciated for your clear and no nonsense info on the sometimes confusing world of mobile networks,
    regards Tony.

  • Mike Cakebread said:

    Hi Ken,

    I cannot find what you refer to in your table showing Pay as you go bundles for £10/mth with ‘3’ giving unlimited minutes and texts plus 10 GB of data.
    Please advise.


  • Currently on voxi….unable to receive calls. No customer service number to call and online advisors basically treat you like your stupid. I am quite tech savvy and know what a dial button is yet when told to dial a code was told I didnt press the dial button. 3 days on and the issue still ongoing. Advisors saying different things and even cutting the online chat…thus resulting in starting right back to the beginning…Ordered pac code now searching for a better more reliable service

  • For anyone who needs a VOXI sim in a hurry without going to a shop, Carphone Warehouse are now doing free next day delivery on VOXI sims.

  • Ken you may want to revise your recommendation for VOXI as I was lucky last week having picked up a VOXI SIM for a pound in a supermarket then read there reviews on Trustpilot before activating the SIM.

    I urge anyone thinking of uses them to check out Trustpilot first.

    For myself at least I’ve only lost a £1.

    • Hi Chris,
      Thanks for your feedback on this. I’ve also had some good feedback about VOXI from lots of people, so I think the experience may vary
      With regards to Trustpilot, I do always take their reviews with a pinch of salt. Some companies “invite” their customers to leave a review if they know people have had a good experience (e.g. after giving them a good rating in one of their own internal NPS surveys). These companies tend to have a good Trustpilot score. Other companies may not “invite” their customers to do this, and their review page therefore ends up as a place for disgruntled customers to complain, etc.

  • Hello ken,
    I went back to China and Hong Kong last week, and I got an prepaid pay as you go SIM card for Mainland China and Hong Kong when I baught my plan in Hong Kong, I seen that the prices of data and mobile SIM’s and monthly bundles are much cheeper than in the UK in general.
    I found an unlimited data and voice prepaid pay as you go SIM card from Tai Po market Street for $50HKD, which is much cheaper than the UK. $50HKD is around £5 in the UK and for that I can only get 500MB or less for the same price as ‘Unlimited data + voice + 200SMS’
    Please can you tell me why that is and why the Internet plans are so expensive in the UK.
    Also is there a very good value network for £10 a month for max amount of data and is pay as you go and offers top up voucher to add credit.

  • Hi, I’m a former UK resident (now In the US, my country of origin) and now occasional visitor to the UK (5-6 times a year, probably no more than 3 weeks total, maybe less). I currently use a Virgin PAYG SIM (I had them for pay monthly while I was resident), but looking at your guide it seems there are much better packages with other service providers. Probably my biggest issue with Virgin is that they only offer 3G service on PAYG; you need a pay monthly contract for 4G. Before I switched, I wanted your advice on which carrier provides the most reliable 4G service (we have LTE in America, is there a difference between this and 4G?). I see from your guide that many offer 2-4G; I’d like to go with the one that will give me 4G as much as possible, at least when I’m in/around London, where I spend the vast majority of my time in the UK. I’d also like a provider that allows me to leave the SIM dormant (no top ups, out of the phone, in a zip-lock bag in my bedroom in America) for as long as possible, as the timing of my trips to America is unpredictable. I might go once a month for 3 months and then not at all for 5-6 months. My trips never last longer than a week, usually only a few days, and I’m a moderate user, so I don’t need crazy high allowances.

    • Hi Jason,
      Thanks for your comment. Your message is actually rather timely as Virgin have recently announced some major price increases on Pay As You Go. This is triggering lots of people to look for new providers (in addition to the fact that they’ve been neglecting their Pay As You Go service e.g. only offering 3G coverage with it). To answer your questions:
      1. 4G and LTE are the exact same thing. Technically speaking, LTE is actually the proper official name for the technology. However, we tend just to call it ‘4G’ here in the UK as it’s a fourth-generation mobile network technology. I’m curious to see whether the Americans will continue this trend with 5G (the proper name for the new technology is New Radio or NR for short, which definitely doesn’t have the same ring to it)!
      2. Most UK mobile networks only require you to make a chargeable activity on your SIM card once every 180 days. Providing you do that, your SIM card and Pay As You Go credit should last indefinitely. See my guide to Pay As You Go inactivity periods for more information.
      Hope this helps,

    • Hi Mandadapu,
      Thanks for your feedback! The reason I haven’t included Smarty in this guide is because I don’t fully consider it to be a Pay As You Go network. Once you’re signed up to Smarty, you’ll need to continue paying at least £5/month to use the service (whereas other networks give you a lot more flexibility e.g. to pause a bundle and to move to traditional Pay As You Go rates). My full guide to Pay Monthly SIM cards can be found here 🙂

  • Hi Ken,

    Do PAYG providers allow you to use mix of traditional PAYG and bundles? I use my phone/3G sporadically depending on my work, some months barely use it but other months I do make full use of my current contract’s allowance.

    Could I use my phone with traditional PAYG tariffs i.e. 1p/text as default, and then switch to a 30 day bundle for times when I’m using my phone more frequently? Or are the two not interchangeable? A bit confused!

    One more question. I’ve seen data only bundles that could suit my needs but I would still like access to phone/text as an emergency. Is there a way to pay normal tariffs for phone use while at the same time using a data bundle? I.e. 1p tariff for calls/texts but also £5/month for 1gb?

    I have a feeling your answers will be an unfortunate ‘no’ due to profitability for the service providers, but hey, I can dream!

    • Hi Maddie,
      I’m so sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
      The answer to both of your questions is actually yes! The great thing about Pay As You Go is you can decide to mix and match as required (with a couple of limits, in some cases). For instance, there’s nothing to say you always need to buy a one-month bundle… e.g. you could leave a gap between two bundles, and use traditional Pay As You Go rates in that time. Three’s 321 tariff is a good option if you want to do this (buy a 30-day bundle, or pay 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB), or ASDA Mobile (slightly better value bundles but you’ll pay 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB when you don’t have a bundle). It’s slightly complicated on a few providers like O2 Pay As You Go as they’ll charge you higher PAYG rates when you’re on the Big Bundles plan.
      With regards to data-only bundles, you can again combine this with calling and texting at the normal Pay As You Go rates. For instance, 1pMobile offers this through their Data Boost Bundles. In reality, however, competition tends to be greater for all-round bundles so you might find it better value just to choose a bundle that includes minutes, texts and mobile data.
      Hope this helps,

    • Thanks Ken. I’ll have to delve into this some more.

      Last year I used a Lebara international PAYG add-on’. I was in Portugal and made calls to Portugal, Canada, USA and UK. This worked really well. Apparently, this no longer exist. According to their rep that I talked with, there is no equivalent. They suggested using Skype, Whatsapp, etc. (although they did not name the companies).

      I found this out after I called Canada and a 7 minute call from Italy, cost £13.93!

      As I am in Europe (mostly Britain but certainly other countries too) about 2 months a year, I have just used PAYG sims in the past. I make a lot of calls to the UK and want to keep my UK mobile number. This way I will not have to change my contact information (also, if I need assistance, it will be in English).

      Do you think that I should use a 30 day contract?

      Thanks again. You really have a great website.

      • Thanks Don. Yes, I agree that the topic of international calling whilst you’re roaming in other countries can be a bit of a minefield. If you’re travelling within Europe and calling another European country, this call should be included in your bundle (or you’ll just pay the same rates as you would in the UK). The “roam like at home” legislation doesn’t apply when you’re calling outside the EU, which is why you were charged so much more when calling from Italy to Canada.
        Have you considered possibly sidestepping these charges by using something like Skype or Google Voice on your mobile internet connection? You can typically make very cheap phone calls to Canada using these applications (2.2p/minute using Skype or free using Google Voice) – doing this would allow you to bypass the tariff complications. Alternatively, you could also make phone calls through an app like WhatsApp, which will always be free providing the other person has the app installed as well.

    • Hi Kevin,
      Thanks for your comment. The bundle will begin from whenever you start it and would last 1 month (or 30 days) from that date. So for instance, if you were to buy it on the 15th of the month, it would last until approximately the 14th of the following month.
      Hope this helps,

  • Hello,
    Does anyone know or where I can check which companies (bundles) have also Roaming and can be used abroad

    • Hi Angel,
      Many thanks for your comment. It’s actually more common than not for international roaming to be supported! In fact, I think most (if not all) of the SIM cards here support international roaming. You can double check in advance of ordering your SIM card on the mobile network’s official website.
      Hope this helps,

  • Susan Langan said:

    Hi i am going to get my husband the asda mobile sim for £5.00. And i am going for the asda sim at £20.00. For more data. We are both on pay as you go. Thanks

  • Isobel Collins said:

    Hi, heading over to the UK in May. What is the best deal for data, also with good coverage for Scotland. Heading to the islands and travelling the north coast 500. Will be in the UK for 6 weeks.

    • I live in the Highlands and find O2 is good for most of the Highlands and it worked ok across on Harris, Lewis and on Mull.
      Works for the NC500, at least the parts I regularly visit which is most of it.
      Always will be blind spots where mountains get in the way and up some glens with minor roads, but that is the Highlands and long may it continue.
      Vodaphone is good too I believe and used to be the one of choice for mountain rescue teams in remote areas though I believe they may have switched.
      As to the best deal – no idea; I use pay as you go.

      • Isobel Collins replied:

        Thanks Ken. I spoke to a friend who has just come over from Scotland and she said that Giffgaff coverage won’t work for where I’m going, and I need to look at Vodafone or O2. Thanks again for your fast response.

      • Isobel Collins replied:

        Hi Dave,

        Just spoke to a friend who has not long come out and that’s what she said.
        Thanks for your response:)

  • Hi Ken

    I notice that you make no mention of 1p Mobile, an MVNO providing service over the EE network. They offer a base cost of £10 every 4 months which for light users amounts to £2.50/month with all uses lumped together and no expiry of data allowance.

    I have been using them for about a year now and they provide a really good service.

    • Hi Ron,
      Many thanks for your comment. You’re right: I think 1pMobile offer a fantastic service for customers who want all of the extra flexibility! I haven’t included them on this page as they don’t require you to buy a 30 day bundle – instead, they’re more of a traditional Pay As You Go provider where you pay per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte. I’ve also reviewed 1pMobile in more detail here in case you have any additional feedback to add on the service!
      Thanks again,

  • Ken, thanks for this great analysis. Is there any issue with a SIM card working with a US phone? Will be in UK for about 10 days in March and the giffgaff £7.50 or £10 pack sounds perfect, but not sure the SIM will fit my existing Motorola G5s Plus device. Do you know?

    • Hi Adam,
      This should work in an unlocked US mobile phone, providing you have a GSM handset (typically used by AT&T or T-Mobile USA). A CDMA-based handset (e.g. from Sprint or Verizon) will not work in the UK.
      With regards to the size of the SIM card, I believe the Moto G5S Plus uses a nano-sized SIM card. giffgaff will provide you with a 3-in-1 triple SIM so you can simply snap out the nano SIM from the centre of it.
      Hope this helps,

  • I’m in Oz coming over for a months holiday end of January 2019. Where can I quickly get a cheap loaded sim card from for about 5 pounds that will enable me to make local uk calls pretty much straight away?
    We have them in supermarkets everywhere here like Aldi. Is that the same there?

  • GiffGaff unlimited caps speed after 20GB and it is very slow. “3” seems a better deal but is £10 more expensive, however truly unlimited data.

  • First of all thanks for the lots of work you’ve done here.
    I was using giffgaff for the past 3 months and I had to let them go for our best sake. I’m a big data user, i don’t have acces to wifi right now and i’m not consistently in uk. so, the last time when I used them I’ve got messages from them as I use to much data/day. well that’s way I payed the price. I never had 4g in London and the speed after those 20/25 Gb is quite far from thy’re promise.
    I will try on 3 this month and see how thy go for the price.

  • You’ve done a brilliant job by taking the time to post it. It is very useful as I want to change the company. Giffgaff sucks. I do prefer to pay a little bit extra rather to feel like I depend on a company that doesn’t respect the contract. 👍

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • Nigel Jones said:

    I would recommend including three & O2’s 3-2-1 type tariffs which can work out cost effective for low (or errratic) users as there’s no min monthly fee

    • Hi Nigel,
      Thanks for your comment! I agree that these can be good options for light mobile users – I’ve got a little more information on them in my guide to traditional Pay As You Go deals. For light usage, I’ve listed my recommendations here. I probably have a slight preference for ASDA Mobile over O2 or Three if you’re a very light user as they’ll allow you to top-up from just £1 each time, and they also have a more relaxed inactivity policy. However, I do agree that the 321 tariffs are a good choice if you’re somewhere in between a light and a regular mobile user.

    • Hi Bob,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not aware of any mobile networks that include international texting, though a number like Lebara Mobile include some international calls. I suspect the reason for this is probably because most people have moved towards using over-the-top services like WhatsApp for texting.

  • Annie Outrage said:

    O2 sell bolt-ons, which I can’t make sense of. For example:
    On Classic PAYG, data cost is 1p/MB.
    Apparently you can bolt-on a “snack” of 100MB data for £2 which would expire after 31 days.
    This would cost £1 on PAYG, half the price.
    And in the fine terms and conditions, on the “standard” tariff you get bumped onto in unspecified conditions, the cost is something like £3/MB, so it would cost £300.
    Can someone explain how O2’s bolt-ons and/or bundles interact with Classic PAYG?
    I tried live chat with O” but the “guru” wanted to know whether my SIM was plugged in properly and the phone was switched on.

    • Hi Annie,
      Many thanks for your comment. I think the bolt-ons were really designed for a different age, and I agree it doesn’t make sense for customers on Classic Pay As You Go. The bolt-on could potentially be useful if you’re on an older tariff with higher per-megabyte rates, or if you’re using something like Big Bundles which has a higher out-of-allowance rate.
      With regards to the Standard Pay As You Go tariff, I’m not aware of anyone who has been “bumped” onto this tariff – I had thought this was just a legacy plan and you’re probably OK just to ignore mention of it!

  • Fiona Allan said:

    I’m with three i top up £35 a month & that gets me 3000 texts 3000 calling minutes & all you can eat data.
    I think it’s a great way to save on money instead of topping up & your credit runs down, I grudge paying a tenner for the poxy data they give you.
    You should be able to buy just a data plan as well for all is internet lovers, just an idea

    • Hi Ian,
      As far as I know, Virgin Mobile doesn’t offer any 30-day bundles on a Pay As You Go basis. They do, however, have free top-up rewards (e.g. 3000 texts & 1GB internet when you top-up by £10). Do let me know if I’m mistaken or I’ve missed something out!

    • Vernon Walker replied:

      I don’t think any of them are much good. Pay As You go is a prepaid amount which runs until it has expired. That is when there is no money left on the card, unless you top up. If you have to pay a set sum every month, that is not pay as you go, it is a contractural arrangement and is a con

      • Hi Vernon,
        Thanks for the feedback regarding terminology! I’d typically make the distinction between “traditional Pay As You Go” and what I’d call a “Pay As You Go bundle” (where you exchange your top-up for a 30-day allowance of minutes, texts and data.
        In my view, Pay As You Go bundles offer far less commitment than a contract & give you much more flexibility. For instance, you can stop purchasing bundles at any time. You can also delay your purchase e.g. if you’re going on holiday, or you could selectively choose to buy a bundle only when it makes sense for you.
        With Pay Monthly contracts, there is a genuine contractual agreement (including a commitment to renew on time every month, no flexibility to change your tariff, a minimum notice period, a credit check and Direct Debit payment).
        The best way to think about a Pay As You Go bundle is “buying airtime in bulk”. For most typical smartphone users, a bundle will offer lower prices than traditional Pay As You Go.

    • Hi Benson,
      Unfortunately, the Pay As You Go bundles listed on this page are for use inside the UK! If you’re looking for a UK-based SIM card that allows you to call Nigeria, you can see my guide to international calling. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a Nigerian SIM card, you’ll be best off consulting a local website from Nigeria.
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi Ken,

    I’ll also be coming from the US to study in the UK soon. I”m looking for a PAYG bundle, and I’m curious how many of these plans work in terms of calling to the US. Additionally, I need to have service while traveling to other parts of Europe- namely Ireland. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Jessi,
      Happy New Year! If you’re new to the UK, I recommend having a read of the article here (it gives you a top-line intro). For someone who is new to the UK, I’d typically recommend getting a SIM card from giffgaff.
      All UK-based SIM cards should now allow you to roam across Europe at no extra charge. Costs for calling the US vary on a network-by-network basis – giffgaff is pretty good for this, but otherwise you can see a side-by-side comparison here.
      Hope this helps,

      • While inclusive deals do not usually include calls to international numbers from the UK, they do include calls to 03 numbers. This allows access to a variety of “dial-through” providers who offer international calls at no additional charge when you call their 03 number.

        Roaming in Europe at no extra charge apploes to UK citizens. Most UK phone providers take active measures to stop people from other countries buying a UK sim to use abroad. This includes asking for proof of UK residency before allowing “free” EU roaming.

        • Hi JC,
          Many thanks for your comment! I’m surprised there are companies offering free international calling via a 03 access number. They’re obviously making very little money from the incoming call, so not sure how they fund the cost of the outgoing call (whereas with special-rate numbers, the income they get should easily cover the cost of the outgoing call).
          One other thing to add: UK mobile networks are only able to distinguish based on UK residency, as opposed to UK citizenship. In practice, however, you can easily pick up a UK SIM card as a non-resident visitor, and I don’t believe many mobile networks will routinely ask for proof of UK residence.

  • Hi Ken, My daughter is leaving from the US to study abroad in the UK on January 1st and returning in June (so about 6 months). She will be traveling all over the EU and some other places during her breaks and needs a roaming feature. She is a heavy data user (at least 6GB+ per month). She has an unlocked iPhone 6 and looking for a PAYG SIM only deal. As you’ve stated there many PAYG plans and I currently have a case of information overload. Bottom line what would be the best company and plan for her to get? I don’t mind spending a couple extra pounds to ensure good coverage and her safety. Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Hi Eric,
      Many thanks for your comment and a Happy New Year! I’d probably recommend giffgaff as the best SIM card for her to get in the UK. She can get 6GB of data for £15/month (approx 20USD), 9GB of data for £18/month or Always-On data for £20/month. It’s pre-paid so there’s no need to be a UK resident, and they’re also the only network allowing easy online top-up from a non-UK credit card. They also have some low rates for calling back to the US. She can order a free SIM card to be dispatched to her UK address here, with more information here on the UK market and how it compares to the US.
      Hope this helps!

  • Have a T.Mobile/EE traditional pay as you go. Been given a new phone which requires a micro sim which my current phone doesn’t have. Will I be able to get a micro sim and keep my present account as I only need it for occasional calls and texts.?

    • Hi Mo,
      Many thanks for your comment. I believe it should still be possible to get a replacement Micro SIM on T-Mobile, though it’s likely they’ll offer you an upgrade to EE. If you do decide to upgrade to EE Pay As You Go, your credit should be moved over but your plan will not.

      • Thank you for your answer Ken but have managed to resolve the problem. Pair of scissors and another sim card for a template and the job was done.

  • Hi Ken,
    I’m surprised you’ve not included Smarty in this PAYG update. Their three price points offer great value compared to many of the deals you’ve listed in your article. They use the 3 network so a 3G/4G handset is required and it’s important to note they don’t offer international calls or roaming as yet.

    • Hi Paul,
      Many thanks for your feedback! Smarty is a really interesting one, and I’ve deliberated many times about whether to consider it a ‘Pay Monthly’ or ‘Pay As You Go’ tariff. In the end, I decided to classify it as a Pay Monthly deal and as such, it isn’t listed on this page. While technically speaking Smarty is a pre-paid tariff, there are several features within it that make me consider it more as a Pay Monthly deal:
      1) There’s no option to use it on traditional Pay As You Go without paying regular monthly subscription fees. On all other Pay As You Go networks, you can simply cancel the renewal of your bundle and use your handset at per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte rates.
      2) Unless you pay a monthly fee for your service, you also won’t be able to receive incoming phone calls. This makes it much less flexible and more like a Pay Monthly SIM rather than a Pay As You Go SIM.
      You’re right in that it’s technically a pre-paid deal and as such there’s no need to get a credit check, etc. However, I think the reduced flexibility & obligation to pay monthly make it significantly different and less comparable to other Pay As You Go deals.
      Let me know if you have any thoughts!

  • Hi Ken. Im on the 02 £30 big bundle which gives me 20 gig of constant speed 4g data 3000 minutes and 4000 texts. Its my sole source of internet (no home broadband). They recently changed it to 20 gig, 500 mins and 500 texts which isn’t so attractive but kept me on the original bundle of 20 gig 3000 mins and 4000 texts. Can this be beaten? I don’t mean by the likes of giffgaff where speeds slow down after 6 gig. I mean bundles with constant speed throughout the data limit? Just curious as what i get for £30 per months covers everything i need and wondering who else can match or better this? Many thanks.

    • Hi Martyn,
      Many thanks for your comment. This is a decent deal if you require tethering & 20GB of data (I don’t think it can really be beaten unless you maybe consider a Pay Monthly contract). Three has a slightly cheaper deal on Pay As You Go (20GB with 3000 minutes & 3000 texts for £25/month) but you’re unable to tether on Pay As You Go so you can’t share the data with other devices.

  • What do the free call bundle deals cover? Presumably 0800 numbers and local rate numbers such as 0845 and 0870? Anything else?

    • Hi Andy,
      It covers all phone calls to a standard UK landline or mobile number. Broadly speaking, that’s most phone numbers beginning with 01, 02, 03 and 07 (the exceptions being Channel Islands & Isle of Man phone numbers). More information here in my guide to UK phone numbers.
      0800 phone numbers are freephone so you can call them free of charge (no need to use up any of your inclusive minutes). Meanwhile, phone calls to an 084 or 087 number are charged at a premium – see my guide to special-rate phone numbers for more information.

      • It would be useful for the list of number types and prefixes that are normally included within allowances to be detailed within this article. It’s a core part of “How it works”.

  • Hi ken

    I am thinking of starting a community based phone offer. I actually use Asda £5 bundle myself and it does everything I need. I do have access to other facilities where needed though.
    My wife has EE £10 package. It is one that grows every 3 months. Over the last few years the package has grown massively so that she now has three gigs of data, unlimited texts and more than 500 mins. Anyone taking a long view can build a good package if they can find one that does this. Have you any research on packages with boosts.

    • Hi Andy,
      Many thanks for your comment! EE’s Free Boost loyalty offer is certainly very attractive if you stay on the tariff for a long amount of time. Saying that, other mobile networks offer a lot more data on their base tariff – for instance, giffgaff now offers 3GB of data for £10/month from the get-go.
      In practice, I find people usually have a fairly standard data requirement over time as opposed to a data requirement that steadily grows over time. For instance, if you’re using less than 500MB per month today, you’re probably still going to be using less than 500MB per month half a year on (that’s assuming of course, you weren’t artificially modifying your behaviour based on the amount of data you know you have that month). For that reason, I normally still recommend more vanilla deals without boosts, loyalty bonuses, etc.
      With regards to further research around this issue, I think EE’s loyalty bonuses are fairly unique and am not aware of other UK networks that have something similar?

  • Hi Ken
    I’m in Australia and want to pay for a pre paid sim for a friend and be able to top it up each month from here. Are you aware of any cards that I can pay monthly from OZ.

  • 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.

    • 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).

      • 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.

  • 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?

    • 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!

  • 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?

    • 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,

  • You may want to mention that the Asda data is temporarily raised and at the end of June 2017 they revert and drop by 2GB

    • Hi Steve,
      Many thanks for your comment. As you say, ASDA Mobile are offering 2GB of extra free data for bundles purchased before the 27th June 2017. I’ve highlighted this in the section at the top of the page about ASDA Mobile and our other recommended bundles.

  • Great site & analysis Ken. One thing though is not clear. Increasingly these days mobiles are being used not just for media access & communication but as a payment system for charity donation texts & ordering/paying for takeaways & uber type taxi services.Can these monetary transactions be made on PAYG bundles?

    • Hi Paffran,
      Many thanks for your comment, and that’s a very good question! There are two different types of smartphone-based payment:
      1) Charge to credit card, Apple Pay, Android Pay, iTunes, Google Play or similar. This is probably the most common type of payment (used in 99% of situations). It has nothing to do with your mobile phone operator, and you can make this payment regardless of which mobile network or tariff you use.
      2) Charge to mobile phone bill (used fairly infrequently, but common for SMS charity donations). Unfortunately, this type of payment will only work on certain mobile networks (usually the big names like EE, O2, Three, Vodafone, etc). You won’t be able to use the allowances from your PAYG bundle, rather you’ll need add Pay As You Go credit to your account to pay for this. For more information, please see my guide to using up your Pay As You Go credit.
      Hope this helps,

  • Just to say ‘thank you’ for explaining things so clearly. I was puzzled about the advantages/disadvantages of monthly bundles and payg having been on a contract for so long. I now understand a lot better, and your detailed comparisons of cost have been very useful.

    • Hi Jane,
      Many thanks for your comment and thank you so much for the very kind feedback – I’m really glad I was able to help! 🙂


    Hi Ken,
    I have no 2G service from O2 at TA9 ***, having to walk 200 yards down the road to receive a signal to send a text. Ive requested a PAC to change service provider. Giffgaff is showing good coverage but I know they operate through O2. Is there a provider that I can use that actually will provide a signal for voice calls and text in my house?


    • Hi Christine,
      Thanks for your comment (I’ve removed the last part of your postcode to protect your privacy).
      As you mentioned in your comment, giffgaff uses O2 as their network coverage provider. For this reason, changing from O2 to giffgaff will not solve your coverage problems.
      For more information about the different network coverage providers, I recommend having a look at my in-depth article here. There’s a section on how you can assess mobile phone coverage on different mobile networks, with it possibly being worthwhile to order a bunch of free Pay As You Go SIM cards from each mobile network to test the coverage in your area.
      Hope this helps,

  • Peter Creswell said:

    I have only just found your site and have not read all the information. I spend about eight months of the year abroad and we are fed up with paying £50/month for BT broadband, telephone, line rental and unlimited calls. We are thinking of maybe switching to pay as you go mobiles but have a few concerns.
    Cancellation due to non-use, linking to laptops and iPads, using an air printer which currently runs off the wifi. One of us has an iPhone and one does not have a smart phone. Can you recommend how we should proceed with this? Normally our four months in the U.K. is split into two periods of about two months each with occasional visits in between for a few days.

    • Hi Peter,
      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like Pay As You Go could certainly be suitable for your usage. With regards to credit expiry and automatic cancellation due to non-use, I’ve got an in-depth article here discussing it in more detail (the short answer is you’ll probably be fine as long as you use your SIM card once every 6 months).
      With regards to cancelling your home broadband, obviously there are lots of things to consider (e.g. perhaps if you wanted to watch iPlayer or other video-on-demand services when you’re back in the UK). However, you might be able to get away with Pay As You Go mobile broadband (it really depends on how much data you’d use each month).
      Finally, with regards to your printer that runs off the wi-fi, this probably would continue to work even if you cancelled the broadband service. You’ll still be able to use the wi-fi network for your devices to talk to each other (it’s just they won’t have access to anything on the internet).
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi Ken

    First time visitor to your website – looks awesome!

    I live in Melbourne, Australia these days but I’m able to get back to the UK 2-3 times a year, during which time I pop my Vodafone PAYG SIM back into my iPhone 4.

    Vodafone have been abysmal (even by their standards!) and I ended up spending something like 60GBP on top ups over a 7-week period plus life-draining phone conversations/inaccurate texts/premature credit expirey… I also have to give them a token 10GBP top up every couple of months in order to keep the number I have had for 20 years (Originally Orange then O2 and Vodafone.

    I do like the look of the ASDA deal and have made a note of your advice about obtaining a PAC code, which I have done previously but not for a while.

    My questions are:

    1) Will I have to wait until I’m next in the UK before I can change provider (almost certainly to ASDA?)

    2) How much inactivity would ASDA allow before running the risk of losing my number?

    3) (I’m no doubt being thick here but…) Which SIM would I ask for on the ASDA website – Pay As You Go or Free SIM card?

    Many thanks



    • Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment! I’ll answer your three questions in order:
      1) Yes, you’ll need to wait until you’re in the UK before you’re able to change over to ASDA Mobile. This is because the ASDA Mobile SIM card will only be sent to UK addresses. It should also be activated whilst you’re in the UK. In theory, you can probably side-step this by asking a friend or family member to do it for you, but for simplicity, I’d probably wait until you’re back!
      2) On ASDA Mobile, your phone number will only be deleted after 360 days of inactivity on the account. Your credit, however, will be lost after 270 days of inactivity. For more information, please see my guide on Pay As You Go inactivity periods.
      3) You can order the SIM card you’re looking for via this link.
      Hope this helps!

  • Hi,

    I’m coming to Luton airport in 2 weeks. Does anybody know if in this particular airport I can find a place where I can buy a prepaid SIM card?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure specifically about places in Luton Airport but I guess there probably should be as this is a fairly common purchase at airport arrival halls. If possible, however, I would probably recommend against buying a SIM card at the airport. You’ll probably find it overpriced compared to other locations – you could get the same SIM card in town for a lot less (often free or just £1 from the local phone shop or supermarket). Alternatively, you can order a free SIM card online and have it sent to your hotel.
      Hope this helps,

  • Thanks for this!

    I’ll be in UK for 2 weeks and I plan on bringing just a mobile phone and purchase a sim with data. Is my understanding correct that I can purchase the pay as you go package (this is the prepaid one, no monthly payment)? What’s the best deal to buy for a 2 week heavy data user stay?


    • Hi MJ,
      That’s right – you can easily pick up a Pay As You Go SIM card whilst you’re in the UK. For a two-week trip, I’d probably suggest one of the bundles here (you’ll get about 1GB of data for £10/month). If you’re going to use more than that, you could also look at the £15 bundles offering 4GB of data.
      You can buy a Pay As You Go SIM card from most newsagents, supermarkets and phone shops. If you’re buying in store, you’ll probably need to stick to one of the major mobile networks (so either EE, O2, Three or Vodafone). If you want a bit of choice, you’ll need to order a free SIM card online (the SIM card can only be dispatched to a UK address, however).
      Hope this helps,

    • Hi there,
      Yes – I think BT Mobile is a good network, particularly so if you’re a BT Broadband customer. You can read more about it here on my review. One thing to note however is that they don’t offer a Pay As You Go deal (BT Mobile is only available on a Pay Monthly contract).

  • Thank you for all this useful information!

    We are living in the UK & are currently on Three as we often go to Switzerland Greece Italy etc & can use the phone services there for no extra cost. Our main use is data, although we use a little call time & text the bulk is internet use, iMessage & facetime-video or audio. We are on pay as you go as we own our handsets & are wary of enormous suprise bills! Three has been working well for us until yesterday when we discovered we could no longer use tethering. (When we phoned Three they explained we had had tethering by accident, but it was not available for pay as you go customers). We use tethering for a child to play Pokemon Go(!) so are reluctant to get a third sim just for this but happy to do it if it makes sense.
    Do you have any pearls of wisdome? We would be happy on a sim only contract if we could gaurentee no extra unexpected costs, but are really looking for cheap data on pay as you go.

    Thank you!

    • Hi NSKing,
      Thanks for your comment. You’re right in saying that tethering isn’t allowed on Three Pay As You Go – there’s more information here on which mobile networks & tariffs allow it. I think there are several options:
      1. You could switch to another Pay As You Go network that does allow tethering. I’d recommend ASDA Mobile as a great alternative (coverage comes from EE & you’re able to tether).
      2. You could switch to one of Three’s Pay Monthly SIM cards. You’ll need an Advanced plan if you want Feel At Home & the ability to tether. You can use their spend control feature which should help to avoid unexpected bills. I’d also recommend using the settings on your phone to place a limit on your data usage, alternatively you could get a tariff with all-you-can-eat data.
      Hope this helps,

  • Looking for the best sim card for a 2 month trip. one month England and the other month france/holland/germany/Chez republic. Pre pay would be simplist. any suggestions?

  • Thanks for the useful articles.
    My wife and I use Vodafone at present.. but find them frustrating , as with many networks they have too many rules and exceptions etc. I use payg and only use about £10 every 3 or 4 months, my wife uses about £10 every 6 to 8 weeks.

    Looking to change to cheapest, simple / easy network with low cost per month and if possible cheap charges in New Zealand and Turkey ( where we often go for a month or two each year). What do you suggest?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Paul,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to the question! The article above discusses the best deal for regular mobile users: the cheapest deals starting at about £5/month.
      Are you happy to consider a bundle? Based on your typical spend at the moment, I’m guessing you’re probably on traditional Pay As You Go?
      An obvious and quick saving is signing up with a low-cost network like ASDA Mobile (they charge 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB). Coverage is from EE, there’s a good inactivity policy and no restrictions on tethering like Vodafone PAYG.
      If we start looking at deals that provide cheap roaming in New Zealand and Turkey, this hugely limits the number of deals available. Three gives you cheap roaming in New Zealand but you’ll need to buy an All-in-One bundle (minimum £10/month). For Turkey, I believe O2 has a £3.99/day O2 Travel deal but this isn’t exactly cheap if you’re spending an entire month there!

  • Hi Ken,

    I will stay in UK for a few months as an exchange student in the coming Sept this year, will the “pay as you go” plan you mentioned also be applicable to me.

    Do I need a UK credit card? Do I need to remove the content lock as mentioned in some other websites?


    • Hi Lawrence,
      Yes – Pay As You Go will be perfect your usage as there’s no need for a credit check for the UK. There’s also no need to have a UK credit card – you can top up with cash, voucher, etc. For more information on topping up your phone, please see my in-depth article on this article.
      By default, all UK mobile networks are legally obliged to block adult content on their service. You can remove these restrictions by verifying your age (e.g. by providing them with a document to prove you’re over 18).
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi Ken,
    My query is this, I have a basic mobile, nothing fancy, no internet, very simple use.
    I use it in the UK & Europe. I currently use a £10 bundle each month with O2.
    Which provider would you suggest to be the most economical ?
    Thanks for your marvellous website, it’s invaluable !

    • Hi Meryl,
      Thanks for your comment. Many of the bundles mentioned above could potentially work for your usage – do you know how many minutes & texts you typically use each month? I’d possibly suggest getting ASDA Mobile’s £5 Talk and Text pack. This will give you 200 minutes and 2000 texts for £5/month (you can order a free ASDA Mobile SIM card here). For roaming inside the EU, you’ll pay 8p/minute and 4p/text.
      For more information, you could also see my article on roaming in the Europe (there are some alternative deals there that could work out better value if you spend a lot of time in Europe).

    • Hi Shaun,
      Thanks for sharing this information – it’s super useful! I’ll try to update this article over the coming weeks as TPO moves over to their new 4G service.

  • Hi Ken,

    After reviewing your excellent breakdown of different bundles here, I decided to get an EE SIM with the intention of purchasing the £15 Data Pack once it arrived. I ordered their free SIM (and selected the £1 Talk&Text 7-day pack with plans to change it later). However when the SIM arrived and I tried to change my pack I found that the £15 Data Pack wasn’t available for purchase. Instead, the only Data pack offered on the ‘MyEE’ online page was their most basic £1, 7-day Data Pack.

    After doing some reading on the EE community support forums, it appears some people are suggesting the only way to access the £15 Data Pack with 250 mins, Unlimited texts and 4GB of data over 30-days is to purchase a pre-loaded SIM with that Pack selected. Do you think this might be the case?

    I can’t quite wrap my head around why a specific, pre-loaded SIM would be necessary in order to access that particular pay as you go pack. If this is indeed the case then will I need to reorder a second EE SIM and transfer my number to that SIM all just to get access to this specific £15 Data Pack?

    Many thanks,

    • Update: I phoned EE customer services to see if they could help me out and clarify the situation.

      They confirmed that the £15 Data Pack that offers 250 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data over 30 days is only available if you purchase that specific pack when ordering the SIM card.

      So if anyone is planning, as I was, to order a free SIM with the intention of later upgrading their pack to the £15 Data Pack then be aware that this isn’t a possibility. There is no option to upgrade to that specific pack; you need to know in advance of ordering your SIM that you want it.

      The representative I spoke to informed me that it wasn’t possible to swap me to that pack on my current EE SIM and neither was it possible for me to keep my current number and jump to the £15 Data Pack SIM. At this point if I want to get the £15 Data Pack AND keep my current number I would need to port my number to a completely different service provider and then port it back to the £15 Data Pack SIM with EE.

      As far as I can see, there is nothing on the EE website which makes it clear that the 4GB £15 Data Pack is exclusive in that it needs to be selected (and paid for) in advance i.e you cannot upgrade to it. It’s a shame really because if I had known this I would have ordered the correct SIM in the first place. At the moment my plan is to pick up a GiffGaff SIM card because they’re offering a slightly better deal for the same price.

    • Hi Steven,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, this is the first I’ve heard of about restrictions on buying the £15 Data Pack. As you say, it doesn’t seem particularly logical for them to do this (I wonder if they might be trying to discourage existing Everything Pack customers to move to a cheaper Data Pack). I suspect a phone call to EE Customer Services and an escalation to the manager will do the job as there’s clearly no technical reason why they can’t move you over. You can also order a new SIM card from EE, but this will come with the added hassle of you having to move your number over.

  • Dear Ken,

    really great site and you have put a lot of effort into it to maintain it, with a wide range of topics.

    I am currently looking at using a Pay As You Go Bundle with Giff Gaff. From reading your articles and responses on overseas calling and SMS to New Zealand, it looks like Giffgaff is the best option both for calls to NZ, and a very good option after ASDA for PAYG Bundles.

    However, from reading your article on calling overseas, I noted the overseas rates apply to Pay as You go customers, not necessarily Pay as You Go Bundle customers. I assume it would be hard for the system to calculate overseas calls on on PAYG Bundles which provide a limit in minutes in a Bundle, whereas overseas calls are charged in pence/ minute which might be different from the standard on which the Bundle limit is calculated.

    Just wanted to confirm my logic is correct here and if you have any other suggestions. I will need to make both calls and send SMS to NZ, in the UK and also to continental Europe.

    Happy Easter


    • Hi Ferdinand,
      Happy Easter and thanks for your comment! On both giffgaff and ASDA Mobile, you’ll be charged the same amount for international phone call regardless of whether you have a bundle on your account. So on giffgaff, it’s always 6p/minute to call NZ mobiles and 2p/minute to call NZ landlines. If you like, you can choose to buy a goodybag to cover your UK usage, and this won’t affect the rates you pay for calling NZ. You can find out more and order a free giffgaff SIM card here.
      Hope this helps!

  • Hi Ken Like some other correspondents I am with Sainsbury Mobile who will cease operating mid-January. I have a DoroEasy 612 phone with buttons (I don’t get on with buttonless phones – but do plenty of internet work with keyboards – e.g. laptop, so am fairly savvy). The Doro gives me basic phone calls and texting – at a decent cost – but no internet, which is fine, and I am a low user. I top up when I want to – so nothing lost at the end of each month. So you would describe my system as Traditional Pay As You Go. I see that you have a guide entitled Cheapest Networks on Traditional Pay As You Go on your website. I clicked this and couldn’t find any reference to it. Are these traditional systems now defunct? Please advise. Also any thoughts and how I can get approx.” like for like” when Sainsbury Mobile folds would be much welcomed. Regards DH

    • Hi Dave,
      Thanks for your comment. You can see a full comparison of ‘traditional’ Pay As You Go tariffs here. It’ll show you the cost of calling and texting – also which network you get coverage from. With the tariffs mentioned on that page, there’s no regular monthly commitment. Also, your credit doesn’t expire providing you keep the SIM card active. In general, I find a large number of MbS customers have moved over to ASDA Mobile (like Sainsbury’s, ASDA also charge 8p/minute and 4p/text). There’s more information here on the best alternatives to Mobile by Sainsbury’s.
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi I was looking at your reviews and noticed that you do not have the mobile company I use. I use a company called Kontakt mobile. I use there flex £5 which gives 500Mb of data and £15 calling and text credit which last for 30 days and your £5 credit which last until it is used. 9p a min, text or mb

  • Hi Ken,

    Thank you for the thorough write-up on the PAYG Bundles.

    I am going to London by February 2016 but my sister will return to Malaysia for her Christmas break this year. Since a foreigner cant order a sim card online, is it possible for my sister to order two free sim cards and deliver to me by Christmas while I will only top up the value or the pay as you go bundle by February next year?

    • Hi Siew,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, your sister can indeed order the SIM cards to her UK address and then she can bring you the SIM cards during Christmas 🙂 In the UK, SIM cards aren’t registered to a person so there’s definitely no issue in doing this. With regards to using the phone in February and only topping it up then, this also won’t be an issue (the only thing I’d really watch out for is the SIM card expiring if you don’t use it for 6 months). I’d probably recommend getting a SIM card from giffgaff or ASDA Mobile.
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi Ken!

    Is it true that giffgaff £7.50 bundle have 2G and 3G coverage only? “4G isn’t available on any bundles for less than £10/month”. According to giffgaff website I can see: “Our new goodybags are rolling monthly SIM-only deals that include 4G data as standard at no extra cost” or More info on pricing is showing: “We now offer 4G as standard. Great news. Our new great value goodybags now include 4G as standard at no extra cost”. Any advice or comments? Thanks in advance.


      • Hi check the internet for comments about giffgaff speeds if data is important for you.

        I was with giffgaff for a month and 3g and 4g data speeds were 0.4 mbps or lower consistently.

        Lots of complaints about this on the net and giffgaff community.

  • With traditional pay as you go, although a phone call of a few minutes could deplete the credit balance, it would be worthwhile to buy an add on beforehand to get the extra minutes before making the call.

  • Hugh Doherty said:

    Hi, I use a dongle, currently from 3, to attach my computer to the net – no voice or text. Seems 3 are changing their tarriff – anyone got any suggestions for an alternative method of connecting to the net as 3 say their All-in-One 20 may stop connecting at any time without warning.
    Many thanks,

  • michelle wright said:

    just to add that for £10 a month vectone mobile are doing unlimited mins, unlimited texts, unlimited data which is an impressive deal heres link


    its the offer 2nd from the bottom of the page its called the uk pocket saver £10

    I hope it helps the heavy users like myself save money

    if your an existing customer you dial*1001# from your handset to opt into this deal

  • Paul Kennedy said:

    Three just made a change. Their All-in-one 15 bundle just changed to all-in-one 20. 33% price hike for no change to the deal.

  • Hi thanks for the info, and forgive me if this question has been asked before. Do know if any of the PAYG allow tethering so I can use my iPad from my iPhone. Also do you know how I can check coverage for my postcode? I am coming to UK from Australia with an unlocked iPhone. Giffgaff seems a good deal.

  • Hello Ken
    I just wanted to say thank you so much for this article. It is exactly what I was looking for, as my wife is in England now, while I am still in Australia, and she had no idea which sort of card to get for her iPhone. Most of the stuff on the web has either too little comprehensive information or some sort of vested interest in what you pick, whereas yours appears to be a comprehensive and very useful guide.

    Many thanks – Jeremy

    • There is a complicating factor which I hadn’t considered before. In looking to get a Giffgaff card for my wife, it looks as if the only way to buy a bundle is online with a credit card, and it seems that they only accept UK credit cards. Do you know any way around this?

      • Hi Jeremy,
        Thanks for the kind feedback on the article! As you say, I believe giffgaff will only accept a UK-issued credit card. However, some people do report being able to use an internationally-issued card.
        If you aren’t able to top up with your credit card, it’s still possible to top-up with a voucher. You can buy a voucher at most supermarkets and phone stores – see this page for more information. If you aren’t able to find a giffgaff voucher, it’s fine to also use a top-up voucher from O2.
        Hope this helps!

  • Thanks for such an informative article explaining the difference between credits and allowances. I think I finally get it! I’ve just come off an online chat with an O2 reresentative, who was not able to explain it at all and confused the hell out of me. After doing some research, I’ve decided to go with Tesco mobile because they have separate bundles for data, texts and calls. As I will be using my new phone mainly for internet browsing, I was not at all interested in the bundles that included calls and texts. I can use my regular credits for the occassional texts/calls I might make. For just £5.00 Tesco offers 500MB data, which will be plenty for me to start with as I will be using WiFi most of the time. Plus, there’s no extra cost for using 4G networks! Just throughing this in the hat as an option for those who are light users like me. Thanks again for such a great article – I’ve bookmarked it!

  • Hi Ken,

    Appreciate your help.

    I’m coming to the UK for 6 weeks with 18 days of that touring the Netherlands/Germany/Switzerland/Austria/Italy/France. I am wanting to purchase a prepaid SIM in London that will allow me to make the odd call and send the odd text in the UK to UK mobiles. BUT more importantly, I want to be able to text New Zealand from the UK and the EU countries I am visiting and also access about 1 GB of p/m in the UK and all EU places I am visiting.

    I have been looking at different UK providers for a bundle and price that will do this but it is very confusing.

    Can you suggest please
    Really appreciate your help, Apo

    • Hi Apo,
      Thanks for your comment. There are two requirements listed in your comment: the ability to use your phone abroad in multiple European countries and the ability to call/text New Zealand for a fairly low price. Unfortunately, there’s no particular deal which stands out as meeting all your requirements – different networks are good for different things. I’ve written two articles which might be of interest:
      1. Comparison of the best value SIM cards for travelling in Europe. Three is best for visiting Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France… O2 is better for the Netherlands and Germany.
      2. Comparison of best value SIM cards for calling abroad. giffgaff is best at 6p/minute to NZ mobiles, 2p/minute to NZ landlines and 8p/message for texts to NZ.
      You’ll have to balance the pros and cons of each network depending on how long you plan to spend abroad, how many international phone calls you plan to make, etc.
      Hope this gives you a good starting point for your research!

      • Thanks Ken,

        ….greatly appreciate your reply and information. This has given me something to ponder.

        Amazing though that a text to NZ costs more than 1 minute of calling. That doesn’t makes sense… but then the entire mobile phone industry doesn’t make sense when you look at charges by country, especially if it is a developing country where you get a lot more for less when compared with a First World country.

        Thanks again Ken, Apo

        • Hi Apo,
          It is indeed very bizarre! Mobile pricing in the UK is definitely far from logical… on certain networks, it’s also cheaper to call another country than it is to call within the UK.
          Add to that – another weird example… the cost of calling when you’re abroad in Europe. As soon as you use your handset outside the UK, UK networks are bound by EU legislation on the maximum amount they can charge for calling & texting. This means, for example, if you’re using your handset in France it’ll cost 18.8p/minute to call to the UK and 5.9p to send a text to the UK. Meanwhile, if you’re physically located within the UK, many networks charge a lot more e.g. 35p/minute and 14p/text.
          With regards to your comment about texts to NZ, most mobile networks have a flat rate for international texting – it’ll cost the same amount whichever country you’re texting. This probably explains why it’s often more expensive than a minute of calling – still incredibly bizarre though!

  • Hi Ken my husband need a phone for a day is it possible just to purchase a cheap phone and buy a bundle for the month? If so what do we need do?

  • Hi, I purchased a sim free iphone 5s online for my daughter, she put her giffgaff sim in, she has data but cant receive or make calls or txt messages, have checked she has the right settings etc but still wont work, have been online and have tried many different troubleshooting tips yet still no joy, would be very grateful if you have a suggestions to resolve this problem.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Gail,
      Thanks for your comment. This is a rarely odd situation: normally it’s the calling and texting which will work without issue (getting data to work often requires you to do a bit of extra work such as configuring APNs). Could you kindly double-check that you’re actually using data via giffgaff (i.e. check if the data is only working because you’re connected to wi-fi). If data is indeed working on 3G via giffgaff, then I’m not really sure what is currently happening (it might be worth taking the phone to your local Apple store so they’re able to check).

  • hi there! has anyone tried Vectone?? i am thinking to change my provider… any suggestion would be much appreciated!! thx!!!

  • Hi Ken,

    I have purchased a samsung mini GT-S5570 on eBay, it is locked to Tesco and I can’t unlock it for free with Tesco because I don’t have the mobile number.
    Is there any other way I can unlock it for free or for a small charge?


  • Vectone has a monthly £3.50 deal with 100 minutes, 100 sms’s and 50 megabyte data. I haven’t seen anything beating that yet!

  • Vectone are now doing £12.00 500 mins, unlimited text and unlimited data – which is by far the best deal!

  • Hi Ken,
    Now that Asda is running on the EE network, can I use my new Asda EE sim in an orange/EE phone or can it only be used in an Asda Phone?

    • You CAN use new asda sim with ee/orange/tmobile locked handsets – I do. I got a basic samsung last year on orange with phone fund but it also takes asda, ee,people’s operator,talkhomemobile, tmobile,virgin & white – it’s cos they all run on EE network.

  • Also good deals for £10 are:

    lycamobile national 10 500 mins unlimited sims unlimited data

    talkhome mobile (vodafone) 500 mins unlimited texts and 2gb data

    Remember with virgin and orange £10 bundles you still get the £10 credit to spend too

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