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. 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 the same 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 you order 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
41% of our readers choose to join giffgaff

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 20GB 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 5GB data for £8, 20GB data for £10 and 35GB data for £15. You can also get 100GB data for £20 per month and Always On data from £25 per month. All of giffgaff’s goodybag bundles come with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and access to O2’s 5G network.

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 VOXI and 1pMobile. On VOXI, you’ll currently get 30GB data for £10 per month. Meanwhile, 1pMobile offers the UK’s lowest Pay As You Go rates at just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB.

VOXI
1% of our readers choose to join VOXI

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 30GB data.
  • Rates: 30p/minute and 14p/text. Data requires a bundle.
  • Coverage: 99% population coverage, 4G & 5G speeds, check coverage here.

In the UK, VOXI is Vodafone’s low-cost Pay As You Go sub-brand. As a special offer until the 26th January 2023, you can get 30GB data for £10/month on VOXI. You’ll also get unlimited UK minutes and unlimited UK texts included.

Alongside this, VOXI will give you 4G & 5G coverage from Vodafone, along with unlimited social media data. There’s also 6 months of unlimited music data included, so you can stream from your favourite music applications without it counting towards your download limit.

Order VOXI 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 want 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. It’s also possible to buy a one-month bundle on 1pMobile such as 10GB data for £10 per month.

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: 40p/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 will last 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 20p 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 10GB data.
  • 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 currently get up to 10GB data for £10 per month. You’ll also get unlimited UK minutes and unlimited UK texts included.

One of the key benefits of joining O2 as a Pay As You Go customer 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.

If you join O2 on the Big Bundles plans, it’s possible to get £10 of free credit when you order your SIM card through this link. Once you’ve activated your SIM, you’ll need to text FREE10 to 21500.

Order O2 SIM card (Free) →

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

Three
4% of our readers choose to join Three

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 10GB data.
  • Rates: 35p/minute, 15p/text and 10p/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 10GB of data, along with unlimited UK minutes and unlimited UK texts. You can use the allowances from your bundle in the UK and when travelling abroad in 71 Go Roam destinations.

For customers not buying a Pay As You Go bundle, Three charges 35p/minute, 15p/text and 10p/MB.

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 which offers one-month rolling plans from £5 per month.

Vodafone
9% 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 can 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
9% 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 can 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 and more come with 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 10GB 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 10GB data for £9/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 get access to 4G and 5G coverage on EE.

Order CMLink SIM card (Free) →

giffgaff
41% of our readers choose to join giffgaff

  • £10 top-up buys: Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 20GB 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 5GB data on their £8 golden goodybag and 20GB data on their £10 golden goodybag. You’ll also get unlimited minutes and unlimited texts included on your plan.

Heavy data users can get 35GB 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
3% 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.

As a special offer for readers of this website in January 2023, you can get 3 months half price when you enter KEN3 as your voucher code at checkout. This makes it possible to get 3GB data for £2.50 and 8GB data for £3.50. You can also get a Lebara Mobile unlimited data plan from £12.50 per month.

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

Order Lebara Mobile SIM card (Free) →

Lycamobile
2% of our readers choose to join Lycamobile

  • £10 top-up buys: 100 intl minutes, unlimited UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and 15GB data.
  • Rates: 23p/minute, 23p/text and 15p/MB for mobile data.
  • Uses the O2 network. 99% coverage, 4G speeds, check coverage here.

Lycamobile is 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
4% of our readers choose to join RWG Mobile

  • £10 top-up buys: Equivalent of 200 minutes, 200 texts or 1GB data.
  • Rates: 5p/minute, 5p/text and 1p/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
2% 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.

Regular mobile users can 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 Tesco Mobile Pay As You Go review.

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

In the past, Virgin Mobile offered JAM Packs on Pay As You Go with 3G coverage from EE. This closed to new customers in July 2020. It was then phased out for existing customers in February 2022. Nowadays, Virgin Mobile only offers Pay Monthly SIM cards, with 4G & 5G coverage from O2.

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, giving you access to 99% population coverage from the Vodafone network. You’ll also get access to 5G coverage if you have a 5G-ready phone.

Until the 26th January 2023, you can get 30GB data for £10/month on VOXI. You’ll also get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited social media data. This covers all of your data usage on Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook Messenger.

For unlimited video, choose one of VOXI’s Pay As You Go plans 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 VOXI 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 15th July 2022 to the 14th October 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 20GB 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).
  • VOXI (uses Vodafone coverage) offers Pay As You Go bundles such as 30GB data for £10.
  • 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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