Looking for the cheapest Pay As You Go rates in the UK? Our interactive table allows you to compare Pay As You Go tariffs and mobile network coverage.

If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go tariff in the UK, there are currently 12 different Pay As You Go networks to choose from.

It’s never been easier to switch networks and to save money on a cheaper Pay As You Go deal. Simply order a free Pay As You Go SIM card and put it inside your unlocked smartphone to take advantage of lower Pay As You Go rates. You can also keep your current phone number when you switch.

In this article, we’ll compare Pay As You Go networks in the UK, both on the prices and the coverage available. We’ll also look at the different ways of paying for your plan.

Traditional Pay As You Go VS Monthly Bundles

When you choose a Pay As You Go mobile network, it’s important to know there are actually two different types of plan to choose from:

  • Traditional Pay As You Go plans with no monthly fee. Often best for light mobile users wanting a SIM card for emergencies, you’ll only pay for what you actually use on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis.
  • Pay As You Go bundles with a monthly fee. Often best for regular mobile users, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee on these plans. However, you’ll get larger allowances in return so it will normally work out to be cheaper overall.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the two types of Pay As You Go plan:

Traditional Pay As You Go Pay As You Go Bundles
Best for light users wanting an emergency SIM card. Best for regular users and smartphone users.
No monthly fee, but minimum usage applies. Pay As You Go bundles start from £1 per month.
Pay on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis. Rates are typically higher compared to bundles. Your one-month bundle will come with inclusive minutes, texts & data.
Normally, your credit won’t expire providing you keep your SIM card active. Unused allowances will expire after one month.

In both cases, there are no contracts and no credit checks when you sign up for your plan. You can also change, pause or cancel your plan at any time. This gives you lots of flexibility. You can also change between traditional Pay As You Go and a monthly Pay As You Go bundle, as required.

Cheapest Pay As You Go Tariffs

In the UK, if you’re happy to pay a small monthly fee for your Pay As You Go plan, our current recommendation is to get Lycamobile’s £1 per month Saver plan. This comes with 1000 UK minutes and 6GB of UK data included. You’ll get 99% population coverage from O2.

Lycamobile

At present, Lycamobile’s £1 Saver plan is the cheapest Pay As You Go bundle available in the UK. Available with no contract and no credit check, you’ll get 1,000 UK minutes and 6GB data included for £1 per month. You’ll get 4G and 5G coverage from O2 on your Lycamobile SIM.

This £1 per month deal is only available for new Lycamobile customers, and is valid for 3 months. After the first 3 months, you’ll pay £5 per month or you can change to another Pay As You Go plan. If you like, it’s also possible to switch to Lycamobile’s traditional Pay As You Go plan, with no monthly fees for keeping your SIM card active.

Order Lycamobile SIM card (Free with £1 Saver plan) →

If you’re looking for traditional Pay As You Go, the cheapest network is currently 1pMobile, which offers 99% coverage from the EE network:

1pMobile

1pMobile offers the lowest Pay As You Go rates of any mobile network in the UK. They have a straightforward tariff of 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB, with customers getting 4G & 5G coverage from EE.

One important thing to be aware of when joining 1pMobile is the minimum top-up requirement of £10 every 120 days. This means you’ll need to top-up your phone with at least £30 of credit per year, though you have complete flexibility on when and how to actually spend it.

1pMobile is backed by the sister company of Utility Warehouse and is part of Telecom Plus PLC, a FTSE 250-listed company. Read our in-depth review of 1pMobile for more information.

Order 1pMobile SIM card (Free with £10 top-up) →

Pay As You Go Rates & Coverage Compared

The following table shows a list of Pay As You Go mobile networks in the UK, along with the rates and coverage available:

Mobile Network Traditional Pay As You Go Pay As You Go Bundles Coverage Provider
1pMobile 1p/minute
1p/text
1p/MB
£3/month EE
ASDA Mobile 15p/minute
10p/text
10p/MB
£4/month Vodafone
EE 40p/minute
20p/text
No data
£5/month EE
giffgaff 25p/minute
10p/text
10p/MB
£6/month O2
iD Mobile 3p/minute
2p/text
1p/MB
£6/month Three
Lebara Mobile 25p/minute
19p/text
9p/MB
£5/month Vodafone
Lycamobile 23p/minute
23p/text
15p/MB
£1/month O2
O2 55p/minute
30p/text
£2/day data
£10/month O2
Tesco Mobile 25p/minute
10p/text
10p/MB
£7.50/month O2
Three 35p/minute
15p/text
10p/MB
£10/month Three
Vodafone £1/day £10/month Vodafone
VOXI 30p/minute
14p/text
No data
£10/month Vodafone

Traditional Pay As You Go

If you’re looking for a traditional Pay As You Go plan with no monthly fees, the following table shows how much you’ll pay on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis.

To sort the table, you can tap on the relevant column heading. You can also tap on “…” column to see the charges for sending MMS picture messages, voicemail and calling special rate phone numbers.

NetworkMobile Internet
(per day)
Calls
(per minute)
Texts
(per SMS)
Picture Message
(per MMS)
VoicemailSpecial Rate
(per minute)
Coverage
Provider
1pMobile~10p
(estimated from 1p/MB)
1p1p30p1p
per minute
5p
+ service charge
EE
ASDA Mobile~£1
(estimated from 10p/MB)
15p10p25p0p
per minute
4p
+ service charge
Vodafone
EEData usage requires
30-day bundle
40p20p40p40p
per minute
44p
+ service charge
EE
giffgaff~£1
(estimated from 10p/MB)
25p10p30p8p
per call
25p
+ service charge
O2
iD Mobile~10p
(estimated from 1p/MB)
3p2p5p3p
per minute
45p
+ service charge
Three
Lebara Mobile~90p
(estimated from 9p/MB)
25p19p45p19p
per minute
45p
+ service charge
Vodafone
Lycamobile~£1.50
(estimated from 15p/MB)
23p
(15p to landline)
23p-0p
per call
29p
+ service charge
O2
O2£2
55p30p55p35p
per call
55p
+ service charge
O2
Tesco Mobile
Triple Credit
~£1
(estimated from 10p/MB)
25p10p55p15p
per minute
55p
+ service charge
O2
Tesco Mobile
Lite
~£1
(estimated from 10p/MB)
8p4p25p8p
per minute
25p
+ service charge
O2
Three~£1
(estimated from 10p/MB)
35p15p40p10p
per minute
45p
+ service charge
Three
Vectone Mobile~90p
(estimated from 9p/MB)
19p
(12p to landline)
19p25p10p
per minute
12p
+ service charge
EE
Vodafone
Big Value Bundles
£2
(fixed, for 50MB/day)
35p20p45p35p
per minute
45p
+ service charge
Vodafone
Vodafone
Pay As You Go 1
£1
(fixed, for 50MB/day)
20p
(max £1/day)
20p
(max £1/day)
20p20p
per minute
45p
+ service charge
Vodafone
VOXIData usage requires
30-day bundle
30p14p45p30p
per minute
45p
+ service charge
Vodafone

Sources: 1pmobile.com, mobile.asda.com, ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, idmobile.co.uk, mobile.lebara.com, lycamobile.co.uk, o2.co.uk, tescomobile.com, tescomobile.com, three.co.uk, vectonemobile.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk, voxi.co.uk. Last updated on 14th October 2022.

If you’re a smartphone user, the costs of using mobile data on traditional Pay As You Go can add up very quickly. According to Ofcom, the average UK smartphone user consumed 5.6GB data per month in 2021 (this is equivalent to 186MB per day). If you were to pay just 1p/MB for this, it would cost you at least £56 per month on a traditional Pay As You Go plan.

If you choose to buy a monthly Pay As You Go bundle instead, these Pay As You Go rates will only apply for out-of-bundle usage.

Monthly Pay As You Go Bundles

In the UK, the cheapest available Pay As You Go bundle is currently available for just £1 per month. This comes with 1,000 minutes and 6GB data on Lycamobile.

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Lycamobile1,00006GB£1.00

If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go bundle with unlimited minutes & unlimited texts, you can get one from £3 per month:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
1pMobileUnlimitedUnlimitedNo data£3.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedNo data£4.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£6.00
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£6.00

The most popular Pay As You Go bundles tend to cost around £10 per month. At this price point, you can expect to get up to 20GB data per month, depending on the mobile network you choose:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£10.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£10.00
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£10.00
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£10.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£10.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
1pMobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited10GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00010GB£10.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited7GB£10.00
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£10.00
EE500Unlimited5GB£10.00

Finally, it’s also possible to get unlimited data on Pay As You Go. Plans start from £20 per month for unlimited data with no contract and no credit check:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
2Mbps max
£20.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£25.00
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£25.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£40.00

Pay As You Go Credit Expiry

On most traditional Pay As You Go plans, your credit won’t expire providing your SIM card remains active. This makes it perfect for people who rarely use their phone (e.g. if your SIM card is mainly for emergencies).

To keep a traditional Pay As You Go SIM card active, you’ll normally need to use it at least once every 6 months. However, this can vary depending on your mobile network and it can be anything from 84 days to 180 days. On 1pMobile, your credit won’t expire but you’ll need to top-up with at least £10 of credit every 120 days.

If you have a Pay As You Go bundle, your unused allowances will expire at the end of the month. The only exception is if your mobile network offers a data rollover feature.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re changing mobile networks, it’s super easy to keep your phone number. To do so, you’ll need to get a PAC Code from your current network. You can get one through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075.

Once you have a PAC Code from your old network, you can order the SIM card from your new network. When you’re ready to move your phone number over, give them the PAC Code and your phone number will then be moved over on the next working day.

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to transfer Pay As You Go credit between networks, so you’ll need to use it up before you transfer your phone number.

For detailed step-by-step instructions, see our full guide on how to move your phone number between networks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any Pay As You Go networks where I don’t need to top-up every month?
Yes. You can choose a traditional Pay As You Go plan rather than a monthly Pay As You Go bundle. On a traditional Pay As You Go plan, there are no regular monthly charges. You simply pay for what you actually use on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis.
Which mobile network offers the lowest Pay As You Go rates?
At present, 1pMobile has the lowest Pay As You Go rates of any mobile network in the UK. You’ll pay just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB. Alternatively, Vodafone charges £1/day for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and up to 50MB of data.
How much will I pay for data on Pay As You Go?
On traditional Pay As You Go, you can use mobile data at the rate of 1p/MB (equivalent to £10 per GB). Alternatively, you can get a Pay As You Go bundle with up to 20GB data for £10/month.
How much will I pay for phone calls on Pay As You Go?
On traditional Pay As You Go, you can make phone calls from 1p/minute to UK landline and mobile numbers (that’s most phone numbers starting with 01, 02, 03 and 07). Alternatively, a Pay As You Go bundle with unlimited minutes included is available from £3/month.
Will my Pay As You Go credit expire if I don’t use it?
On most traditional Pay As You Go plans, your credit won’t expire providing your account remains active. The criteria for keeping your account active depends on the mobile network.
How do I get a Pay As You Go SIM card?
You can order a free Pay As You Go SIM card from most mobile networks through this page.

More Information

For more information, see our guide to Pay As You Go SIM cards. We also have an in-depth guide on Pay As You Go SIMs for light users, on 5G Pay As You Go SIM cards and on Pay As You Go eSIMs.

Your Comments 196 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 196 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

    • RWG are cheap but try getting your voicemail switched off (even by email to them) or finding your balance on PAYG (supposed to dial *669# but doesn’t work on my payg phone)

  • Love the site!

    Just a head up, been with Asda mobile for over 10 years now, and they’ve just announced a massive increase from Sept 26th –
    Calls up from 4p to 15p per min
    Texts up from 4p to 10p
    Data up from 4p to 10p per Mb

    I will be leaving them, as will many others, I suspect!

    Geoff

  • New rates for ASDA payg due to move to Vodafone: https://mobile.asda.com/bundles
    Landlines 4p per min
    Texts per 160 characters 4p each
    MMS 25p each
    Data/GPRS 4p per MB
    Voicemail 4p per min
    Access to automated helpline Free
    Customer Service Centre Free
    0800/0808 Free
    Other service numbers 4p per min access charge + service charge
    Personal numbers (070) 75p per min
    Non-mobile 07 numbers 4p per min

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