Get a free SIM card for your mobile phone: Pay As You Go offerings compared from 16 UK networks.

Pay As You Go SIM CardWhether 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 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 required and no need to set up a direct debit: simply top-up your SIM card when you need credit to pay for your usage.

In the table below, we’ve reviewed free SIM card offers from 16 of the UK’s most popular Pay As You Go networks. We’ve included mainstream providers as well as lower-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.

  1. Changing mobile network? If you’re keeping the same phone but changing to another network, it might be necessary to unlock your phone. See our guides to unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy phone.
  2. Coverage is identical on lots of mobile networks. Lots of mobile networks share the same coverage provider so you’ll get identical levels of coverage when using any of these networks. To give an example, giffgaff uses coverage from O2. See our list of mobile networks that use coverage from EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.
  3. Keeping your mobile number. If you’re changing mobile networks, it’s super easy to keep your current phone number. After ordering your new Pay As You Go SIM card, get a PAC Code from your old mobile network. You can get one online or by text message. You can then pass this PAC Code 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.

Best 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 flexible Pay As You Go bundles, with 99% population coverage from O2.

giffgaff
43% of our readers choose to join giffgaff

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 15GB data.
  • Rates: 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB for mobile data.
    giffgaff-to-giffgaff calls, texts and video calls are free.
  • Uses the O2 network. 99% coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

giffgaff offers a highly popular Pay As You Go SIM card. You can either buy their regular one-month goodybags or you can use it as a traditional Pay As You Go SIM card without the need to top-up every month. giffgaff is a fully-owned subsidiary of O2 so members will get the same coverage as customers on O2.

Most giffgaff members choose to buy a goodybag bundle. The most popular bundles are 3GB data for £8, 15GB data for £10 and 30GB data for £15. You can also get 100GB data for £20 per month and unlimited data from £25 per month. All of giffgaff’s goodybag bundles come with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and access to 5G.

Meanwhile, if you’re using giffgaff on a pure Pay As You Go basis, there’s no need to top-up your phone every month. Your credit also won’t expire providing you use your SIM card at least once every six months. You’ll pay 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB if you don’t have a goodybag. You’ll also get free calls and texts to other giffgaff members as long as you’ve topped up in the past 3 months.

Order giffgaff SIM card (Free) →

Other popular choices amongst readers of our website include Vodafone Pay As You Go and 1pMobile. On Vodafone, you can use your mobile phone from either £10 per month or £1 per day. Meanwhile, 1pMobile offers the lowest Pay As You Go rates at just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB.

Vodafone
8% of our readers choose to join Vodafone

On Vodafone’s Pay As You Go service, you can buy a Big Value Bundle from £10 per month. For instance, the £10 Big Value Bundle comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 7GB of data. You’ll also get access to offers and discounts through VeryMe Rewards.

If you want to use your mobile phone without topping up every month, you can join Vodafone’s Pay As You Go 1 instead. On this plan, you’ll pay £1 per day. This is only charged on the days that you use your mobile phone. It can therefore work out cheaper than buying a bundle if you only use your phone from time to time. The £1/day fee gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 50MB of data to use on the same day, with the only obligation being to use your phone at least once every 180 days.

Order Vodafone SIM card (Free) →

1pMobile
10% of our readers choose to join 1pMobile

  • £10 top-up buys: Equivalent of 1000 minutes, 1000 texts or 1GB data.
  • Rates: 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the EE network. 99% coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

If you’d like the lowest possible Pay As You Go rates, 1pMobile offers a Pay As You Go SIM card with rates of just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB. The network, which is operated by the sister company of Utility Warehouse, offers 4G & 5G coverage from EE. You can also buy a one-month bundle on 1pMobile such as 4GB data for £6 or 10GB data for £10.

A unique requirement of 1pMobile is that you’ll need to top-up your phone with at least £10 of credit every 120 days. This is equivalent to adding £30 of new credit each year. If you don’t meet the minimum top-up requirement of £10 every 120 days, your 1pMobile account will be closed and your phone number will be lost. For this reason, we’d only recommend choosing 1pMobile if your average monthly spend will exceed £2.50/month (otherwise, a non-refundable balance would build up over time on your account).

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

Other major Pay As You Go providers include:

EE
7% of our readers choose to join EE

  • £10 top-up buys: 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 5GB data.
  • Rates: 35p/minute and 15p/text. Internet access requires a bundle.
  • Coverage: 99% population coverage, 4G speeds, check coverage here.

If you’re using an EE Pay As You Go SIM card, you’ll pay £10 per month for 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 5GB of data. Each Pay As You Go Pack lasts for 30 days but you can roll over unused data within 7 days of your previous pack expiring.

For light users who opt out of buying a Pay As You Go pack, calls will cost 35p/minute and texts will cost 15p each. You’ll need to buy a one-month pack if you want to use mobile data on your phone.

Order EE SIM card (Free) →

For more information, read our EE Pay As You Go review.

O2
5% of our readers choose to join O2

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 7GB data (Big Bundles).
  • Rates: 35p/minute, 15p/text and £2/day for mobile data.
  • Coverage: 99% population coverage, 4G speeds, check coverage here.

On O2’s Pay As You Go service, you’ll get 7GB data for £10/month. You’ll also get unlimited minutes and texts included.

As a special offer, it’s currently possible to get £10 of free credit on O2 Pay As You Go. You’ll get this when you order your SIM card online and when you activate it on a Big Bundle plan within 28 days. Text FREE10 to 21500 once you’ve activated your SIM card to claim your free credit.

One benefit of joining O2’s Pay As You Go service is the fact you’ll get access to discounts and offers through O2 Priority. This includes a range of freebies every week including coffee, drinks and sausage rolls.

Order O2 SIM card (Free) →

For more information, see our O2 Pay As You Go review.

Tip: If you’re a regular mobile user, giffgaff offers much more data. For instance, you’ll get 15GB of data for £10/month on giffgaff. This compares to just 7GB on O2 Pay As You Go. You’ll also get 5G on giffgaff. giffgaff is owned by O2 and uses the O2 network for coverage. Find out more about giffgaff.

Three
5% of our readers choose to join Three

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 8GB data.
  • Rates: 10p/minute, 10p/text and 5p/MB for mobile data.
  • Coverage: 98% population coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

Three offers a Pay As You Go service with Data Pack bundles from £10. A monthly top-up of £10 on Three will give you 8GB of data along with unlimited minutes and unlimited texts. You can use the allowances from your bundle in the UK and when abroad in 71 Go Roam destinations.

For customers not buying a Pay As You Go bundle, Three charges 10p/minute, 10p/text and 5p/MB.

It’s important to note that you can’t use a 2G-only phone on Three. This is because Three doesn’t provide any 2G coverage. Some dual-SIM phones may also fail to work on Three’s network if the secondary SIM card slot only supports 2G.

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

For more information, you can read our Three Pay As You Go review. Three also operates a low-cost sub-brand called SMARTY Mobile that offers one-month rolling plans from £5 per month.

Vodafone
8% of our readers choose to join Vodafone

Vodafone offers a choice of two plans on their Pay As You Go SIM card.

Regular mobile users should buy a 30-day Big Value Bundle. For instance, a £10 monthly top-up will give you 7GB of data along with unlimited UK minutes and unlimited UK texts. You can rollover unused allowances when you automatically renew your bundle.

Light mobile users can choose Vodafone’s Pay As You Go 1 plan instead. On Pay As You Go 1, you’ll pay £1/day for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 50MB of data. This is only charged on the days that you use your mobile phone.

Order Vodafone SIM card (Free) →

The following virtual network operators also offer a Pay As You Go service:

1pMobile
10% of our readers choose to join 1pMobile

  • £10 top-up buys: Equivalent of 1000 minutes, 1000 texts or 1GB data.
  • Rates: 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the EE network. 99% coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

On 1pMobile, you’ll pay 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB. There’s no monthly charge for using your 1pMobile SIM card but you’ll need to add £10 of new credit every 120 days (equivalent to £30 of new credit each year).

If you don’t top-up your SIM with at least £10 of credit every 120 days, your account will be closed and your phone number will be lost. For this reason, 1pMobile is not suitable for very light users only wanting a SIM card for emergency usage.

You’ll get coverage from EE on a 1pMobile SIM card.

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

ASDA Mobile
8% of our readers choose to join ASDA Mobile

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 12GB data.
  • Rates: 15p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the Vodafone network. 99% coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

ASDA Mobile offers Pay As You Go bundles with 99% population coverage from the Vodafone network.

For just £4 per month, you’ll get a bundle on ASDA Mobile with unlimited minutes and texts. You can upgrade this with 3GB data for £5, 5GB data for £7 or 12GB data for £10.

You’ll get access to Vodafone’s 4G network on all ASDA Mobile plans. In addition, bundles costing £10/month or more also include access to Vodafone’s 5G network.

Order ASDA Mobile SIM card (Free) →

CMLink
1% of our readers choose to join CMLink

  • £10 top-up buys: 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 5GB data.
  • Rates: 8p/minute and 6p/text. Internet access requires a bundle.
  • Uses the EE network. 99% coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

CMLink is a Pay As You Go provider that’s designed for customers with a connection to China. You can buy a one-month bundle such as 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 5GB data for £8.88/month. This also includes an allowance of international minutes and a roaming data allowance for use in Mainland China and Hong Kong.

In the UK, customers on CMLink will have access to 4G and 5G coverage on EE.

Order CMLink SIM card (Free) →

giffgaff
43% of our readers choose to join giffgaff

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 15GB data.
  • Rates: 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB for mobile data.
    giffgaff-to-giffgaff calls, texts and video calls are free.
  • Uses the O2 network. 99% coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

giffgaff is a low-cost mobile network with coverage from O2. They currently offer 15GB of data on their £10 golden goodybag. You’ll also get unlimited minutes and unlimited texts included on this plan.

Heavy data users can get 30GB of data for £15/month or 100GB of data for £20/month. Unlimited data is available from £25/month (though you’ll need to pay £35 for unlimited data without speed restrictions). For more information, see the giffgaff website.

Order giffgaff SIM card (Free) →

iD Mobile
2% of our readers choose to join iD Mobile

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB data.
  • Rates: 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the Three network. 99% coverage, 4G speeds, check coverage here.

iD Mobile is the own-brand mobile network from the Carphone Warehouse. They offer 3G & 4G coverage from Three.

Customers on iD Mobile Pay As You Go can buy a bundle such as unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB data for £10/month. Usage outside of your bundle will cost 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB.

It isn’t possible to use a 2G-only handset on iD Mobile. This is because iD Mobile doesn’t offer any 2G coverage.

Order iD Mobile SIM card (Free with £6 top-up) →

Lebara Mobile
2% of our readers choose to join Lebara Mobile

  • £10 top-up buys: 100 intl minutes, unlimited UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and 15GB data.
  • Rates: 25p/minute, 19p/text and 9p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the Vodafone network. 99% coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

In the UK, Lebara Mobile offers Pay As You Go bundles from £5 per month. Alongside the usual allowance of UK minutes, texts and mobile data, you’ll also get an allowance of international minutes included for calling 42 countries.

At present, you’ll get 3GB data for £5 and 15GB data for £10. You can also get a Lebara Mobile unlimited data plan from £25 per month. In addition, you can get the first 3 months half price. This is a special offer for October 2022: simply enter KEN3 as your voucher code at checkout.

Lebara Mobile offers 4G & 5G coverage from Vodafone. For more information, see our Lebara Mobile review and Lebara Mobile coverage map.

Order Lebara Mobile SIM card (Free) →

Lycamobile
1% of our readers choose to join Lycamobile

  • £10 top-up buys: 100 intl minutes, unlimited UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and 15GB data.
  • Rates: 19p/minute, 19p/text and 12p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the O2 network. 99% coverage, 4G speeds, check coverage here.

Lycamobile is another specialist provider of international calling. They offer free Pay As You Go SIM cards on plans from £5/month with inclusive international minutes. It’s also possible to make international calls on a Pay As You Go basis from 1p/minute. You can read our Lycamobile review for more information.

Order Lycamobile SIM card (Free) →

RWG Mobile
2% of our readers choose to join RWG Mobile

  • £10 top-up buys: Equivalent of 100 minutes, 100 texts or 500MB data.
  • Rates: 10p/minute, 10p/text and 2p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the EE network. 99% coverage, 4G speeds, check coverage here.

RWG Mobile calls itself “the mobile network for Wales”. With coverage from the EE network, RWG Mobile offers bilingual customer support in both English and Welsh.

Order RWG Mobile SIM card (Free) →

Tesco Mobile
3% of our readers choose to join Tesco Mobile

  • £10 top-up buys: 5000 minutes, 5000 texts and 10GB data.
  • Rates: 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the O2 network. 99% coverage, 4G speeds, check coverage here.

Tesco Mobile offers a choice of two Pay As You Go tariffs: Rocket Packs for frequent mobile users and Triple Credit for lighter users.

For regular mobile users, it’s possible to buy a Rocket Pack bundle from £7.50/month. The most popular Rocket Pack bundle costs £10/month and gives you 5000 minutes, 5000 texts and 10GB of data.

For light users not wanting to buy a Rocket Pack, it’s possible to switch to the Triple Credit plan. Here, you’ll pay 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB. Whenever you top-up your SIM card by £10 per month, you’ll get £20 of bonus credit that lasts for one month. This essentially triples the amount of credit you have to use in that month.

For more information, read our full review of Tesco Mobile Pay As You Go.

Order Tesco Mobile SIM card (Free) →

Vectone Mobile
1% of our readers choose to join Vectone Mobile

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 5GB data.
  • Rates: 19p/minute, 19p/text and 9p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the EE network. 99% coverage, 3G speeds, check coverage here.

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.

Order Vectone Mobile SIM card (Free) →

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile previously offered JAM Packs on Pay As You Go with 3G coverage from EE. This was closed to new customers in July 2020 and was phased out for existing customers in February 2022. Nowadays, Virgin Mobile only offers Pay Monthly SIM cards.

VOXI
1% of our readers choose to join VOXI

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 15GB data.
  • Rates: 30p/minute and 14p/text. Internet access requires a bundle.
  • Uses the Vodafone network. 99% coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

VOXI is Vodafone’s low-cost Pay As You Go sub-brand. They currently offer a free Pay As You Go SIM card, allowing you to access 99% population coverage from the Vodafone network. You’ll also get access to 5G coverage if you have a 5G-ready phone.

For £10/month, you can get 15GB of data on VOXI along with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and endless social media data. This gives you unlimited data for use on Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook Messenger.

For endless video, you can choose a VOXI Pay As You Go plan from £15/month. This comes with unlimited data for use on TikTok, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, My5, TV Player, UKTV Play and more.

Most VOXI customers decide to convert their Pay As You Go credit into a one-month bundle. However, if you decide not to do this, you can use VOXI on a traditional Pay As You Go basis at 30p/minute and 14p/text. You’ll need to buy a bundle from £10/month to access the internet. For more information, see our VOXI review.

Order VOXI SIM card (Free) →

For more information about any of the SIM cards 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), see our guide to smartphone SIM card sizes. Alternatively, if you need an eSIM, see our guide to eSIM on UK mobile networks and the best eSIM plans.

The “£10 top-up buys” calculation is based on a user who tops up by £10 every month. If you top up less than once per 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 11th February 2022 to the 10th May 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best Pay As You Go SIM cards currently available?
There are numerous Pay As You Go SIM card offers currently available. The following SIM cards are currently the most popular:
  • giffgaff (uses O2 coverage) offers one-month goodybag bundles such as 15GB data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts for £10/month. You can also use it on a Pay As You Go basis without the need to top up every month (at 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB).
  • Vodafone offers Pay As You Go bundles from £10/month, or flexible Pay As You Go usage from £1/day.
  • 1pMobile (uses EE coverage) has eye-catching Pay As You Go rates of 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB. You’ll need to top-up with at least £10 of credit every 120 days.
How does coverage compare across different Pay As You Go SIMs?
In the UK, all Pay As You Go networks use one of the four following network coverage providers:
Which Pay As You Go SIM cards offer 5G coverage?
At present, 5G coverage is available on the following Pay As You Go SIM cards:

For more information, see our guide to 5G SIM-only deals and 5G Pay As You Go SIM cards.

What are the best Pay As You Go SIM cards for light usage?
There are a number of important considerations for light mobile users which are discussed in more detail here. However, for most people, we think the following Pay As You Go networks are worth considering:
  • 1pMobile
  • giffgaff
  • Vodafone Pay As You Go 1
  • ASDA Mobile
Are there any Pay As You Go SIM cards that don’t expire?
Yes. If you choose a traditional Pay As You Go plan, there’s no need to top-up your phone every month. You’ll just need to keep your SIM card active. This normally means using it for a chargeable activity at least once every 180 days.
Will I need to undergo a credit check for Pay As You Go SIM cards?
No. You can get a free Pay As You Go SIM card without the need for a credit check.
Can I keep my current phone number when changing network?
Yes. It’s easy keeping your current phone number when moving to a new Pay As You Go network. Simply get a PAC Code from your current network, and give it to your new mobile network once you’ve signed up.

More Information

For more information, see our guide to Pay As You Go deals in the UK. You can also read our in-depth mobile network reviews and our guide to the best SIM-only deals.

Your Comments 384 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 384 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • William Hodgson said:

    ASDA Mobile are increasing their PAYG prices from 16 September:
    calls 15p per minute (currently 4p)
    texts 10p (currently 4p)
    data 10p per MB (currently 4p)

  • Hi Ken, I have used RWG for a few months now and can confirm that their “free 50m/50txt/250mb” plan is renewed every month with no additional payment or deduction from my balance. It’s certainly an interesting option for very low usage users. I’m going to try their “free 100m/100txt/750mb” plan next. Email me if you would like more details or want to collaborate on a review.

  • This is a great website, Ken. Well done!
    I want to find a better PAYG deal for my wife. She has been with Three Mobile for a few years and has what I believe is called “traditional” Pay as You Go. So she may top up her account with £5 and then that credit will gradually reduce when she occasionally makes calls or send texts. Three has become too expensive, so I am looking around bu I did d it confusing because some of PAYG deals I see (Lebara, for example) expect you to renew every month, which we don’t want. My wife doesn’t want to spend more than about £15 to £20 per YEAR. Can you suggest anything please?

    • Hi Clive,
      Thanks for your comment. Take a look at my guide on the best Pay As You Go SIM for light users. There are a number of plans which could be suitable for her, depending on her average usage. For instance, ASDA Mobile charges 4p/minute, 4p/text and 4p/MB without no regular monthly charges.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

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