Get a free SIM card for your mobile phone: Pay As You Go offerings compared from 18 UK networks.
Whether you’re a smartphone fanatic or someone who only uses their phone on an occasional basis, there are some great deals to be had when you order a free Pay As You Go SIM card in the UK.
The best Pay As You Go SIM cards offer super-low rates that can even rival Pay Monthly SIM cards in terms of value for money. To take advantage of the best offers currently available, simply order a free SIM card below and slot it inside your mobile phone. There are no credit checks or upfront fees. There’s also no need to set up a direct debit: simply top-up your SIM card when you need credit to pay for your airtime.
In the table below, we’ve reviewed free SIM card offers from 18 of the UK’s most popular Pay As You Go networks. We’ve included mainstream providers as well as low-cost alternatives and specialist Pay As You Go mobile networks for calling another country. We’ve also compared the cost of each network to help you get the best value for money.
- Changing mobile network? If you’re keeping the same phone but changing to another network, it might be necessary to first unlock your handset. See our guides to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy handset.
- Coverage is identical on many mobile networks. Many networks share the same coverage provider: you’ll get identical levels of coverage when using any of these networks. To give an example, giffgaff uses coverage from O2 and ASDA Mobile uses coverage from EE.
- Keeping your mobile number. If you’re changing mobile networks, it’s super easy to keep your current phone number. Once you’ve ordered your new SIM card, contact your current network and ask them for a PAC Code. You can then pass this on to your new mobile network and your phone number will be moved over on the next working day. For more information, see our guide to transferring your mobile phone number.
Free Pay As You Go SIM Card Offers
At present, giffgaff is our top pick amongst the UK’s Pay As You Go offerings. They offer competitive 30-day bundles and 99% coverage from the O2 network.
9% of our readers choose to join giffgaff*
Most giffgaff members choose to buy a goodybag bundle. On giffgaff’s £10/month goodybag, you’ll get a massive 3GB of internet along with 500 minutes and unlimited texts. Goodybag allowances can be used in both the UK and Europe.
For lighter users, giffgaff’s £7.50 goodybag can give you even bigger savings (you’ll get 250 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet for £7.50/month). Alternatively, if you’d like even more data, you can get 6GB of data for £15/month or Always-On data for £20/month (unlimited downloads with the first 9GB per month at full 4G speeds).
On giffgaff, you’ll get free calls and texts to other members (to qualify, you just need to top-up your phone at least once every 3 months). giffgaff also offers discounted rates for international calling.
Most Popular: 49% of our readers choose to join ASDA Mobile*
ASDA Mobile offers a free Pay As You Go SIM card with 99% population coverage on EE’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks. They’ll give you substantially larger allowances compared to if you were choosing EE Pay As You Go directly. ASDA Mobile also doesn’t require you to top-up your phone every month.
For light users, ASDA Mobile charges 8p/minute and 4p/text. There are no regular monthly charges and your Pay As You Go credit won’t expire (you just need to use your phone at least once every 180 days to keep it active).
For regular users, ASDA Mobile has a competitive range of 30-day bundles. For instance, £10/month will buy you 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet. To take advantage of the offer, you should order a free SIM card from the ASDA Mobile website.
If you regularly make international phone calls from your mobile, Lebara Mobile offers a Pay As You Go SIM card designed for this purpose.
For £10/month on Lebara Mobile, you can get 500 international minutes for calling 40 selected countries (including China, India, the USA, Australia and most European countries). You’ll also get 500 UK minutes, 100 UK text messages and 1GB of UK data as part of Lebara’s All-in-One bundle.
Lebara Mobile offers 2G and 3G coverage from Vodafone. Unfortunately, 4G coverage isn’t currently available on Lebara.
13% of our readers choose to join 1pMobile*
1pMobile is a relatively new Pay As You Go provider offering an eye-catching tariff of 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB. The network, which is operated by the sister company to Utility Warehouse, offers 3G & 4G coverage from EE. Smartphone owners can buy a Data Boost bundle from £4/month.
A unique requirement of 1pMobile is you’ll need to top-up your phone at least once every 120 days. As the minimum top-up is £10 each time, this means you’ll need to top-up your phone with at least £30 of credit per year. 1pMobile offers automatic top-up functionality which you can use to make sure you meet the minimum top-up requirement.
Other major Pay As You Go providers include:
4% of our readers choose to join EE*
EE offers 250 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet on their £10 Everything Pack (the allowances on your pack will last for up to 30 days). Alternatively, customers buying a £10/month Data Pack will get 100 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet.
For light users not buying a pack, calls will cost 30p/minute and texts will cost 12p each. Access to mobile internet is only available when you buy a Pay As You Go pack. The cheapest available pack is the £1/week Data Pack which gives you 100MB of internet to use on your phone (100MB = 0.1GB).
For more information, please see our full review of EE Pay As You Go.
Tip: For £10/month, ASDA Mobile gives you 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet. Compared to EE’s £10 Everything Pack, this is more than double the number the minutes and twice as much data. The coverage on ASDA Mobile is provided by EE. Find out more about ASDA Mobile.
8% of our readers choose to join O2*
O2 offers a choice of three tariffs on Pay As You Go.
For smartphone owners, the most popular option is O2’s Big Bundles tariff. For £10/month, you’ll get 250 minutes, 1000 text messages and 2GB of internet.
For lighter users, the Classic Pay As You Go tariff will be a more attractive option (you’ll pay just 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB, with no need to top-up your phone every month). Alternatively, the International SIM card allows you to call other countries from 1p/minute.
Tip: For £10/month, giffgaff offers twice as many minutes and an extra 1GB of data. giffgaff is owned by O2 and uses the O2 network for coverage. Find out more about giffgaff.
8% of our readers choose to join Three*
Three is one of the UK’s cheapest mainstream mobile networks for traditional Pay As You Go usage. They charge 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB: a fraction of what other major mobile networks typically charge.
Regular users can save money by buying an All-in-One bundle. Bundles start from £10/month for 3000 minutes, 3000 texts and 1GB of internet. The allowances in your All-in-One bundle can also be used in 71 Feel At Home destinations including most of Europe, the USA, Australia and more.
Importantly, it isn’t possible to use a 2G-only handset on Three. This is because Three doesn’t provide any 2G coverage. Your handset will need to support at least 3G coverage to work on the Three network.
1% of our readers choose to join Vodafone*
Vodafone offers a choice of two different types of Pay As You Go tariff.
For regular mobile users, it’s possible to buy a 30-day Big Value Bundle (e.g. 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet for £10/month). You’ll get 10% of your top-up back through Vodafone Rewards which can be saved up towards gifts like a free selfie stick.
For occasional and light mobile users, Vodafone offers the Pay As You Go 1 tariff. On Pay As You Go 1, you’ll be charged 20p/minute, 20p/text and 20p per 5MB (capped at £1/day for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and up to 500MB of data).
If you’re under-25, it might be worth joining VOXI instead. VOXI is a sub-brand of Vodafone for people aged between 16 and 25. VOXI offers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet for £10/month. You’ll also get unlimited data for use on selected social media and instant messaging applications.
The following virtual network operators also provide a Pay As You Go service:
13% of our readers choose to join 1pMobile*
1pMobile is a virtual network operator using coverage from EE. The network charges just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB: the lowest Pay As You Go rates currently available on any network in the UK.
Customers joining 1pMobile need to be aware that a top-up of at least £10 is required every 120 days. If no top-ups are added to your account for more than 120 days, it will be closed automatically and your phone number will be lost. Because of this, we’d only recommend choosing 1pMobile if your typical monthly spend will exceed £2.50/month (otherwise, a non-refundable balance will build up on your account).
49% of our readers choose to join ASDA Mobile*
For calling and texting, ASDA Mobile has competitive Pay As You Go rates of 8p/minute and 4p/text. Mobile internet is charged at 5p/MB with 4G speeds available from the EE network. There’s no need to top-up every month, and your credit won’t expire providing your account remains active (you just need to use your phone at least once every 180 days).
Regular users can buy a bundle from ASDA Mobile for better value usage. For instance, £7/month will get you 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet.
ASDA Mobile provides 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from EE. This gives them 99% population coverage.
0.8% of our readers choose to join Co-operative Mobile*
The Co-operative Mobile charges 8p/minute, 4p/text and 10p/MB when you’re browsing the internet (this works out to be around £1/day if you’re using 10MB of data).
For regular users, it’s possible to buy an all-inclusive bundle from £10/month. The most popular bundle from Co-op costs £10/month and gives you 500 minutes, 1000 texts and 1GB of 3G internet.
As the Co-operative Mobile is owned by its members, customers will receive an annual dividend payment. In the most recent financial year (2015-2016), the dividend payment was equal to 1.5% of your VAT-exclusive spend (this is equivalent to a £1.50 dividend if you were to spend £10 every month). In previous years, members earned a dividend of 1.5% (2014-2015), 1.5% (2013-2014) and 2.5% (2012-2013).
9% of our readers choose to join giffgaff*
giffgaff is a low-cost mobile service running on the O2 network. They offer 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of internet for £10/month. Alternatively, heavy users can get 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of 4G data for £15/month or unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and Always-On data for £20/month. For more information, please see the giffgaff website.
2% of our readers choose to join iD Mobile*
Customers on iD Mobile Pay As You Go will pay 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB. Alternatively, customers can convert their credit into a one-month bundle such as 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data for £10/month.
It’s not possible to use a 2G-only handset on iD Mobile (as with Three, iD Mobile doesn’t have any 2G coverage).
0.8% of our readers choose to join Lebara Mobile*
Lebara Mobile is a specialist provider of international calling. You can buy a 30-day bundle from £10/month with inclusive international calling (choose either an ‘All in One’ bundle with more international minutes or a ‘UK Plan’ bundle with more UK minutes and data). Alternatively, light users can use traditional Pay As You Go to call abroad from 1p/minute.
Lebara Mobile offers 2G and 3G coverage from Vodafone. 4G coverage isn’t yet available on Lebara. For more information, please read our full review of Lebara Mobile.
0.5% of our readers choose to join Lycamobile*
Lycamobile is another specialist provider of international calling. They offer international calls from 1p/minute and international text messages for 19p each. Domestic calls to a UK mobile are 19p/minute and texts to a UK mobile are 19p each. You can read our full review of Lycamobile here.
As of February 2015, it’s no longer possible to order a SIM card from Orange. Customers are instead advised to join EE Pay As You Go. EE has 4G connectivity and allows you to browse the internet from £1/week. Alternatively, ASDA Mobile gives you coverage from EE but at a much lower cost (8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB).
1% of our readers choose to join Tesco Mobile*
For regular mobile users, it’s possible to buy a Rocket Pack bundle from £5/month. The most popular Rocket Pack costs £10/month and gives you 500 minutes, 5000 texts and 3GB of 4G internet.
For lighter users not purchasing a Rocket Pack, Tesco Mobile has the Triple Credit tariff. Here, you’ll pay 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB. When you top-up your phone with £10, you’ll also get £20 of bonus free credit which will last for one month. For more information, please read our full review of Tesco Mobile Pay As You Go.
As of February 2015, it’s no longer possible to order a T-Mobile SIM card. Customers wanting to join T-Mobile are instead advised to join EE. EE has 4G connectivity and offers Everything Pack bundles that are very similar to the Smart Packs previously offered by T-Mobile.
Customers already on T-Mobile can stay on their existing plan for as long as they like.
0.2% of our readers choose to join Vectone Mobile*
Vectone Mobile is a specialist provider of international calling. See our international calls price comparison table to see how Vectone Mobile compares to rival networks.
0.6% of our readers choose to join Virgin Mobile*
Virgin Mobile offers a choice of two Pay As You Go tariffs. The ‘Big Data & Texts’ tariff will give you 3000 texts and 1GB of internet lasting for a month when you top-up by £10. You’ll also be able to keep your £10 of credit. The ‘Big Talk’ tariff gives you 120 mobile minutes and unlimited landline calls for the next 30 days when you top-up by £10.
On Virgin Mobile Pay As You Go, you’ll only have access to 2G and 3G coverage from EE. 4G coverage is not currently available to Virgin Pay As You Go customers.
|VOXI (Under-25s Only)
1% of our readers choose to join VOXI*
VOXI is a youth-orientated Pay As You Go mobile service from Vodafone.
Available exclusively to customers aged between 16 and 25, VOXI offers a choice of three 30-day plans. Their cheapest is a £10/month plan with 2GB of internet, unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited social media usage.
You can order a free SIM card from VOXI online after which you’ll need to submit proof of age to activate your SIM card (this can either be done online or in a Vodafone retail store).
For more information about any of the tariffs listed on this page, please click through to the mobile network’s website. Our recommended deal is currently to order a free SIM card from giffgaff.
If you’re asked to specify the size of SIM card required in your phone (e.g. Standard SIM, Micro SIM or Nano SIM), please see our guide to smartphone SIM card sizes.
The “£10 top-up buys” calculation is based on a user who tops up by £10 every month. If you top up less regularly than once every month, your allowances may run out before the next top-up.
* Statistics on mobile network chosen by readers of this article. Based on the number of Free SIM click-throughs from the 1st November 2017 to 31st January 2017.
** Mobile internet charges. For networks that charge on a per-megabyte basis, we have given the average daily data cost for a smartphone user consuming 10MB of data. If you’d like to create a custom comparison using a different estimate, you can enter your own estimated data figure on our interactive Pay As You Go price comparison table.