Some UK mobile networks will allow you to roll over unused data into the following month. We compare the roll-over policy by mobile network.
Typically, on Pay Monthly contracts and Pay As You Go bundles, you’ll receive a certain airtime allowance that’s valid for one month. At the end of each month, your unused allowances will normally expire. The unused minutes, texts and megabytes will be removed from your account before your bundle renews giving you a fresh set of allowances.
Some mobile networks have now started to offer the ability for you to roll-over unused allowances into the following month. This will give you a second chance to use the allowances you’ve paid for.
At present, data rollover is offered on Pay Monthly contracts from iD Mobile, Sky Mobile and Virgin Mobile. SMARTY offers an unused data discount, which is similar in many ways but with even more flexibility as you’ll get money back on your bill. Meanwhile, on Pay As You Go, data rollover is available on bundles from EE, O2 and Vodafone.
In this article, we’ll review and compare the data rollover offerings from each mobile network. We’ll also look at the associated terms and conditions such as how long your data will last for and how much data you’re able to carry over.
If you’re looking for a Pay Monthly contract, data rollover is currently being offered on contracts from iD Mobile, Sky Mobile and Virgin Mobile.
In addition to this, SMARTY (a low-cost mobile network using coverage from Three) offers an unused data discount of £1 per gigabyte. In many ways, this is superior to a regular data roll-over offer as you’ll get money back in your pocket for data you didn’t actually use (and you can always use more data the following month at the same £1/GB rate).
The following table compares what you’re able to get from £10/month on the mobile networks with data roll-over:
On iD Mobile and Virgin Mobile, data can only be rolled over for a maximum of one month. Sky Mobile allows you to store unused data for up to 3 years in your Sky Piggybank, but redemptions are only available in 1GB increments.
Pay As You Go
On Pay As You Go, data rollover is currently being offered on EE, O2 and Vodafone. In addition to you being able to roll-over your data, Vodafone also allows you to roll-over unused minutes and texts as part of their ‘Total Rollover’ offer.
giffgaff doesn’t allow you to roll-over unused data, but you can get an extra 1GB of data every month once you’ve been a customer for 3 months. In our opinion, this often works out to be better value than relying on data roll-over from other mobile networks, as you get a larger allowance to begin with and you have extra flexibility on when to start your next bundle.
The following table compares what you’re able to get from £10/month on the above mobile networks:
In general, data rollover will only be available on Pay As You Go if you automatically renew your bundle upon the expiry of your previous one. This means you won’t be able to leave a gap between the end of one bundle and the start of your next one. EE is the one exception to the rule, allowing you to have up to 7 days gap between two bundles before the rollover data is lost.
Overview of Data Rollover By Network
The following table gives a brief overview of which mobile networks and price plans you’re able to use data rollover with:
|Mobile Network||Pay Monthly Data Rollover||Pay As You Go Data Rollover|
|ASDA Mobile||–||✘ No|
|BT Mobile||✘ No||–|
|EE||✘ No||✔ Yes, on Packs & Flex.|
|giffgaff||–||✘ No, but 1GB extra data after 3 months.|
|iD Mobile||✔ Yes||✘ No|
|Lebara Mobile||–||✘ No|
|O2||✘ No||✔ Yes, on Big Bundles.|
|Plusnet Mobile||✘ No||–|
|Sky Mobile||✔ Yes||–|
|SMARTY||✔ Yes, unused data discount.||–|
|Tesco Mobile||✘ No||✘ No|
|Three||✘ No||✘ No|
|Virgin Mobile||✔ Yes||✘ No|
|Vodafone||✘ No||✔ Yes, on Big Value Bundles.|
|VOXI||✘ No||✘ No|
Data Rollover By Network
EE offers data rollover as a feature on EE Pay As You Go and Flex plans. To qualify, you’ll need a 30-day pack with at least 100MB of data per month, and you must purchase your next pack within 7 days of the last one expiring. Your data can only be rolled over once, and any allowances from your Free Boost are not eligible for rollover. From the EE website:
Unfortunately, data rollover is not currently available on EE Pay Monthly plans, including both EE Smart and EE Essential plans.
Source: EE Help Article: Data Rollover
On giffgaff, there isn’t a data rollover feature per-say. However, customers will receive 1GB of extra data on goodybags costing £10 or more, from their third goodybag purchase onwards. This will boost your monthly download allowance (e.g. to 4GB for £10 per month) and is competitive with most data rollover offers, especially given the larger allowances to begin with.
The following table shows your potential boosted giffgaff goodybag allowances from month 3 onwards:
Source: giffgaff: 1GB of Extra Data
On iD Mobile, data rollover is included on all Pay Monthly plans, including 24-month contracts and SIM-only plans. Your rolled-over data will always be used first and data can only be rolled over for a maximum of one month.
The following table shows SIM-only deals from iD Mobile on which you’re able to use data rollover:
Unfortunately, data rollover is not currently available on Pay As You Go plans.
Source: iD Mobile: Data Rollover
On O2, data rollover is only available when you buy selected Big Bundles on Pay As You Go. Providing your bundle renews automatically on the date the previous bundle expires, you’ll be able to roll-over unused data, giving up to 200% of your standard monthly data allowance.
This is described in the information on O2’s website:
The following table provides a list of the Big Bundles on which you’re able to use data rollover. For instance, the £10 Data Big Bundle comes with a basic allowance of 2GB of internet per month. This can be boosted to a maximum of 4GB per month through the data rollover feature.
On giffgaff, you can get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of internet for £10/month (boosted up to 4GB per month from your third month onwards). For most customers, this may work out to be even better value than using data rollover on O2. giffgaff is a low-cost sub-brand of O2, using 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from its parent network.
Unfortunately, data rollover is not available on O2 Pay Monthly contracts.
Source: O2 Help & Support: Big Bundles
On Sky Mobile, there’s a feature called Roll that allows to keep unused data for up to three years.
At the end of each month, any data that remains unused will be moved into your Sky Piggybank. From there, you can withdraw data when you need it in 1GB increments or you can alternatively exchange your piggybank data for a discount on a new device. If multiple members of your family are on the same Sky Mobile account, you can share all of the data in your piggybank.
The following table shows SIM-only plans on Sky Mobile, that will give you a Sky Piggybank for unused data:
Source: Sky Mobile Help: Data Piggybank
Rather than offering data rollover as a feature, SMARTY offers money back for unused data on their data discount plans.
In our opinion, this is superior to data rollover in many ways. With the discount, you’ll get money off your next month’s bill at the rate of £1 per gigabyte. So for instance, if you only used 1.6GB of data on the 3GB plan, you’ll receive a discount of 2.4GB x £1/GB = £2.40. The following month, you would pay £5.60 for 3GB of data (the regular charge is £8/month, with a £2.40 discount applied to this).
The opportunity to get a discount on your bill makes SMARTY a lot more flexible, and often makes it preferable to choose a plan with more data (e.g. as described here).
The following table shows SIM-only plans from SMARTY that are eligible for the unused data discount:
All of SMARTY’s SIM-only plans come on a 30-day contract. SMARTY is a low-cost sub-brand of Three, with customers receiving the same 3G & 4G coverage as customers on Three.
Source: Smarty Review – Explanation of Unused Data Discount
On Virgin Mobile, data rollover is available on all 4G-enabled Pay Monthly plans. Your unused data can roll over for a maximum of one month, and will be used before your regular data allowance.
The following table shows SIM-only plans from Virgin with the data rollover feature:
Unfortunately, data rollover is not currently available for customers on Virgin Mobile Pay As You Go.
Source: Virgin Mobile: Data Rollover
On Vodafone, data rollover is available as part of the “Total Rollover” feature for customers who have a Big Value Bundle on Pay As You Go.
With Total Rollover, all of your unused minutes, texts and mobile internet roll over automatically into the following month’s Big Value Bundle. Allowances can only be rolled over once, and only when your bundle renews automatically upon the expiry of your previous month’s bundle:
The following table shows a list of Big Value Bundles eligible for the Total Rollover feature:
Data rollover is not currently available on Pay Monthly contracts from Vodafone.
Source: Vodafone Pay As You Go: About Big Value Bundles
Unfortunately, data rollover is not currently available on other mobile networks like ASDA Mobile, BT Mobile, Plusnet Mobile and Tesco Mobile.
For more information about how data rollover works on UK networks, please see the official EE, iD Mobile, O2, Sky Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone websites. You can also consult the giffgaff and SMARTY websites for information about their related offers.
Your Comments 3 so far
We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 3 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.
The Smarty section show plans that aren’t eligible for the data discount
Good spot! Sorry – this was my mistake, as all of their plans used to offer a data discount when I wrote this. The bug has now been fixed.
Thanks again and much appreciated,
You mentioned ‘free boosts in your section on EE, but didn’t explain. I have found that if you stick with EE – and I’ve been pretty happy with the service AND (my pet peeve with many companies these days) customer service – the boosts can really add up.
After you’ve been with EE for a certain time (I think it’s three months) you are offered either extra minutes (50) or extra data (500Mb) Every three months that you stick with them. Once you are given the boost you keep it for ALL SUBSEQUENT MONTHS. It can really add up and, since I always boost my data, I now get over 10GB of data EVERY MONTH.
Unlike networks that need you to renew promptly to keep any benefits (thankfully, since I have a memory that has goldfish in stitches!) I have kept my boosts even though sometimes I have been a day or six late in topping up!
EE may not give you the best value initially, but it’s worth putting your boosts into the calculation before you choose a network. I’d certainly recommend them. They’re not perfect (the network – VERY occasionally – has been known to disappear on me, and one time topping up by text went badly wrong, but generally I’ve been very pleased. Network disappearances have only lasted for about an hour in the middle of the night and they were very helpful about sorting out my problem (with a UK-based call centre)