In the UK, only some mobile networks allow you to tether or use personal hotspot. Find out the tethering policy for each UK network.

Personal Hotspot on iPhoneTethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with another device. It’s often used as a convenient way to get your laptop or tablet connected to the internet whilst you’re on-the-go.

Almost all smartphones today have the functionality for you to tether to another device or to enable a personal hotspot. This includes the Apple iPhone and Android-powered smartphones. However, there is a limitation in that only certain mobile networks will allow you to tether in their terms and conditions. For this reason, it’s important to find out the tethering policy for your mobile network before choosing a new tariff and using the personal hotspot feature.

In this article, we’ll compare the tethering policy on different UK mobile networks. We’ll also highlight some of the best value deals currently available with tethering support.

Overview of Tethering Policies By Network

The following table shows an overview of which mobile networks and tariffs you’re able to tether on. For further information, please select your mobile network for more details about their tethering policy.

Mobile Network Pay Monthly Tethering Pay As You Go Tethering
EE Yes Yes
giffgaff Yes
O2 Yes Yes
Tesco Mobile Yes Yes
Three Yes Yes
Vodafone Yes TBC
1pMobile Yes
ASDA Mobile Yes
BT Mobile Yes
FreedomPop Only with £3.99/month add-on
iD Mobile No No
Lebara Mobile Yes
Lycamobile No
Plusnet Mobile Yes
Sky Mobile Yes
Smarty Yes
Talkmobile Yes Yes
TalkTalk Mobile Yes
The Phone Co-Op Yes Yes
TPO Mobile No No
Vectone Mobile Yes (up to 10GB per month)
Virgin Mobile Yes Yes

Cheapest Deals For Tethering

Pay As You Go

Top Up LogoIf you’re looking to tether on Pay As You Go, there are nine mobile networks from which you’re able to choose from. They are 1pMobile, ASDA Mobile, EE, giffgaff, Lebara Mobile, O2, Tesco Mobile and The Phone Co-Op.

Currently, giffgaff is our recommended network for tethering on Pay As You Go. On giffgaff, a £10 top-up will give you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data (increased automatically to 4GB once you’ve been on the tariff for 3 months). You’ll get 99% population coverage from O2, including both 3G and 4G, and there’s no need to undergo a credit check.

Order giffgaff SIM Card (Free) →

The following table gives a quick summary of some of the bundles available for tethering on Pay As You Go:

ASDA Mobile600Unlimited3GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0003GB£10.00

With 2GB of Internet

iOS8 TetheringIf you’re looking to tether from your smartphone, we’d typically recommend choosing a tariff with at least 2GB of data per month as a minimum. This will allow you to tether occasionally (e.g. a couple of times per month for when a wi-fi network isn’t available).

The following table gives an quick overview of available deals with at least 2GB of tetherable data each month:

Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£6.00
Virgin Mobile2,500Unlimited2GB£6.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0002GB£9.00
Plusnet Mobile1,500Unlimited2GB£10.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£15.00

Please remember: the data allowance listed will need to cover your normal smartphone data usage as well as any data use through tethering or personal hotspot.

With 4GB of Internet

MacBook Pro
With tethering or personal hotspot, your laptop can get access to the internet wherever you are.

If you’re likely to tether regularly on your smartphone (e.g. a couple of times per week), we recommend choosing a tariff with at least 4GB of tetherable data per month.

The following tariffs will allow you to tether up to 4GB per month:

Tesco Mobile1,0005,0005GB£11.00
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£12.00
Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£15.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£18.00

With 8GB of Internet

If you’re likely to tether almost every day (e.g. on your commute into the office), we recommend choosing a tariff with at least 8GB of tetherable data per month. The following SIM-only contracts will be suitable for your usage:

Virgin Mobile5,000Unlimited10GB£10.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00010GB£14.00
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£15.00
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£17.00

In Depth: Tethering Policies By Network

In the following section, we’ll discuss the tethering policies for each mobile network in more detail. For a general overview, see the summary table earlier in this article.

Popular Networks


You can tether on all types of tariff from EE: it’s an integral feature of both their Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go plans.

The following SIM-only deals will allow you to tether on EE:


Source: EE Help Article: Tethering your device
Tariff Information: EE Website


You can tether on any of giffgaff’s latest goodybags. This is explained in more detail within giffgaff’s tethering policy:

Tethering is allowed on all our goodybags, gigabags and airtime credit (PAYG).
If you tether with a gigabag or a goodybag using your data allowance, your Internet data allowance is shared between all connected devices. If you use up your data allowance before the goodybag expires, we will send a notification to your device to let you know. You will then be charged at 2p per MB from airtime credit balance (PAYG) for the remaining life of your goodybag / gigabag, but once your goodybag / gigabag expires standard rates for mobile data will apply.

The following goodybags will allow you to tether on giffgaff from £7.50/month:

£6 Goodybag300500500MB£5.00
£8 Goodybag500Unlimited2GB£8.00
£10 GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£10.00
£12 GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£12.00
£15 GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£15.00
£20 GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£20.00
£25 GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00

Prior to August 2017, the £20 goodybag with Always-On data would only allow you to tether on the first 6GB per month. This restriction no longer applies to new £20 goodybags, although data speeds are reduced to 384kbps once you reach 9GB per month.

Source: giffgaff Support: Tethering Policy
Tariff Information: giffgaff Website


On O2, tethering has been a standard feature of both Pay Monthly contracts and Pay As You Go tariffs since March 2011 (the rules may differ if you took out your contract before this).

The following SIM-only deals will allow you to tether on O2:


If you’re a customer of O2 Pay As You Go with an older iPhone, it might be necessary for you to install a software update to enable the tethering feature. We’d strongly recommend buying a Big Bundle if you’d like to tether on Pay As You Go (as tethering on Classic Pay As You Go will very quickly deplete your balance).

Source: O2 Help & Support: Personal Hotspot
Tariff Information: O2 Website

Tesco Mobile

On Tesco Mobile, you can tether at no extra cost on all tariffs that have an inclusive data allowance. This includes both Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go tariffs.

From the Tesco Mobile help pages:

If your tariff has a data allowance included, you can use your device as a personal hotspot at no extra cost. If you don’t have a data allowance, or you go over your data allowance, you’ll be charged our standard rates.

The following SIM-only deals will allow you to tether on Tesco Mobile:

Tesco Mobile5005,0001GB£7.50
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0002GB£9.00
Tesco Mobile1,0005,0005GB£11.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00010GB£14.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00020GB£18.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00050GB£25.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00030GB£30.00

Source: Tesco Mobile Help: Using your phone or tablet as a Wi-Fi hotspot
Tariff Information: Tesco Mobile Website


Three allows you to tether on most of their plans, with the exception of Essential Pay Monthly contracts taken out between July 2016 and September 2018. Providing you have an Advanced Pay Monthly contract or Three Pay As You Go, you can tether using your normal allowance in the UK and Europe.

For customers with a 100GB or all-you-can-eat data allowance, a separate 30GB allowance applies for tethering and personal hotspot (may be lower on some all-you-can-eat data plans taken out before April 2016).

The following SIM-only deals allow you to tether on Three:


Restrictions apply on tethering if you’re travelling to a Feel At Home country outside of Europe. For more information, see the Three help article on tethering from your smartphone.

Prior to April 2018, tethering wasn’t possible on Three Pay As You Go.

Source: Three FAQ: Personal Hotspot on your phone
Tariff Information: Three Website


Vodafone has allowed tethering on all of their Pay Monthly plans since June 2011.

The following SIM cards from Vodafone will allow you to tether:


On Vodafone Pay As You Go, it should also normally be possible to tether. However, a number of readers have fed back in the comments and elsewhere online that they’ve experienced problems doing so. For this reason, we’ve listed this as “TBC” in the summary table above.

Source: Vodafone Website
Tariff Information: Vodafone Website

Other Mobile Networks


Tethering is permitted on 1pMobile, either using the normal 1p/MB rate or on a 30-day Data Boost bundle.

If you’re a regular user of tethering or personal hotspot on 1pMobile, buying a Data Boost would probably be our recommended option. This is because the data charges for tethering can very quickly add up at the normal 1p/MB rate.

Source: 1pMobile: Data & Internet FAQs
Tariff Information: 1pMobile Website

ASDA Mobile

ASDA Mobile allows tethering and portable hotspot on all of their Pay As You Go bundles. They’re one of the better value mobile networks for tethering on Pay As You Go as you can get 2GB of tetherable data for just £10/month. ASDA provides coverage on EE, including both 3G and 4G internet.

The following Pay As You Go bundles on ASDA Mobile are suitable for tethering:

ASDA Mobile300Unlimited1GB£7.00
ASDA Mobile600Unlimited3GB£10.00
ASDA Mobile800Unlimited4GB£12.00
ASDA Mobile1,000Unlimited6GB£15.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited9GB£20.00
ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£25.00

Source: ASDA Mobile: Frequently Asked Questions
Tariff Information: ASDA Mobile Website

BT Mobile

BT Mobile has allowed tethering for all customers of their mobile network since June 2016. This includes customers with a Pay Monthly contract, with the Family SIM offer or with a normal 12-month SIM-only contract.

The following SIM-only deals will allow you to tether on BT Mobile from £7.50/month:

BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited500MB£8.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£10.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£12.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£12.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited6GB£13.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£14.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£15.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£18.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£25.00
inc. £5 discount
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited40GB£30.00
inc. £5 discount

The prices shown include a £5/month discount for customers living in a BT Broadband household.

Prior to June 2016, clause 25b of the BT Mobile terms and conditions prohibited the use of tethering on their network:

Prohibited use
25. You must not allow our service to be used:

b. to create your own personal hotspot which provides internet access to other devices which may be used by yourself or others (this is sometimes known as ‘tethering’); or

For more information, see the thread on BT’s Community Forums.

Source: BT Mobile
Tariff Information: BT Mobile Website


On FreedomPop, tethering is not permitted unless you buy the £3.99/month FreedomPop Premium add-on. Realistically, you’ll also need to be on a paid-for data plan as the basic FreedomPop service includes only 200MB of data per month. For more information, please see our in-depth FreedomPop review.

Source: FreedomPop Website
Tariff Information: FreedomPop Website

iD Mobile

Unfortunately, tethering is not permitted on iD Mobile. It’s prohibited by clause 5.3.4 of the iD Mobile terms and conditions:

5.3 You must not use the Services, the SIM Card or an iD phone number or allow anyone else to use the Services, the SIM or an iD phone number for illegal or improper uses, including but not limited to:

5.3.4 tethering (unless explicitly stated in your Agreement with us), downloading, sending or uploading content of an excessive size, quantity or frequency. We will contact you if your use is excessive;

Any such use shall give us the right to charge you any Charges due and terminate the Services immediately.

This is also confirmed on the iD Mobile frequently asked questions page:

Please note that we do not allow tethering on any of our current plans. If you do use this service it is likely to use up large amounts of your data allowance very quickly, and you will be liable to pay any charge that may occur if you go over your allowance.

Source: iD Mobile Terms & Conditions
Tariff Information: iD Mobile Website

Lebara Mobile

Lebara Mobile allows the use of tethering on their network, but typically advises customers against doing so. According to an FAQ posted on their website in January 2017:

Tethering is something that we don’t advise since our data plans are design to be use with our sim cards not to be shared. You can share data if your device lets you, but if you have connection issues or other issues related to the tethering, we won’t be able to assist you.

Previously, the use of tethering was explicitly prevented in the Lebara Mobile terms and conditions, but this clause has now been removed from the contract.

Source: Lebara Mobile Terms & Conditions
Tariff Information: Lebara Mobile Website


Lycamobile doesn’t allow tethering on their network. The terms and conditions pertaining to tethering can be seen on the Lycamobile bundles page (scroll to the bottom and click the small link saying ‘Terms and Conditions’):

The offer is for non-commercial, private, personal use only – Lycamobile reserves the right to withdraw or suspend the offer or to disconnect you if we suspect that offer is being used for commercial purposes, for conferencing, or if it is not being used in a handset (in a SIM box for example), if it is being used for tethering or if any reason Lycamobile reasonably suspects that you are not acting in accordance with this policy where we consider that the usage was illegitimate.

Source: Lycamobile Bundles Page
Tariff Information: Lycamobile Website

Plusnet Mobile

On Plusnet Mobile (previously known as LIFE Mobile until November 2016), it’s possible to tether on all of their SIM-only plans.

The following SIM-only deals will allow you to tether on Plusnet Mobile:

Plusnet Mobile250500500MB£6.00
Plusnet Mobile1,000Unlimited1GB£8.00
Plusnet Mobile1,500Unlimited2GB£10.00
Plusnet Mobile2,000Unlimited3GB£12.50
Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£15.00

If you’re a Plusnet home broadband customer, you can benefit from double data through the Plusnet Mates Rates offer.

Source: Plusnet Mobile: Tariff FAQs
Tariff Information: Plusnet Mobile Website

Sky Mobile

On Sky Mobile, it’s possible to tether on all tariffs at no extra charge. A unique feature of the network is you can also save unused data allowances in a “data piggybank” (this can be useful if you only need to tether very occasionally).

The following SIM-only deals will allow you to tether on Sky Mobile from £5/month:

Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£6.00
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£12.00
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£15.00
Sky MobileUnlimitedUnlimited25GB£25.00

If you’re a Sky TV customer, you’ll receive unlimited calls and unlimited texts as part of your tariff.

Source: Sky Mobile website
Tariff Information: Sky Mobile website


Customers of Smarty are able to tether without any restrictions. This is detailed in the Smarty Support Centre:

You’re entitled to use your data however you like, no matter which of the 3 SMARTY plans you’re on. So you can tether and use your phone as a mobile hotspot with your full allowance if you want to.

The following 30-day plans from Smarty will allow you to tether from £7.50/month:


Source: Smarty Help – Tethering and mobile hotspots
Tariff Information: Smarty Website


With Talkmobile, you can tether on any of their plans. For more information, go to their help pages and search for ‘tethering’. This will give you the tethering policy for their network:

Tethering (using your mobile as an internet hotspot for other devices) is included in all Talkmobile plans. You can tether if you have a data plan and have enabled Wi-Fi hotspot functionality on your phone.

As of April 2017, the Talkmobile brand is being gradually phased out. The mobile network is no longer available to new customers.

Source: Talkmobile Help Pages
Tariff Information: Talkmobile Website

TalkTalk Mobile

You can tether on all current tariffs from the legacy TalkTalk Mobile service. There’s a FAQ page on TalkTalk’s website explaining how to tether on their network. Please note that TalkTalk Mobile is in the midst of being closed down, as of January 2018.

In 2015, TalkTalk Mobile offered an All-in SIM card where tethering was prohibited. The All-in SIM card is no longer available to new TalkTalk Mobile customers.

Source: TalkTalk Help: Mobile Tethering
Tariff Information: TalkTalk Mobile Website

The Phone Co-Op

On The Phone Co-Op, it’s possible to tether on both Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go plans. This was confirmed by an Internet & Data FAQs page on their old website (the page has since been removed during a website redesign):

Can I use tethering?
We are happy for you to tether your phone to any other device, to share its internet connection, though we cannot guarantee that every phone will be compatible.

You can use the following Pay As You Go bundles to tether on The Phone Co-Op:

Co-operative Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
Co-operative Mobile7501,0002GB£15.00
Co-operative Mobile1,0001,0004GB£20.00

Source: The Phone Co-Op: Internet & Data FAQs
Tariff Information: The Phone Co-Op Website

TPO Mobile

On TPO Mobile (The People’s Operator), tethering is prohibited on both Pay Monthly contracts and on Pay As You Go tariffs. The condition is specified in the network’s fair usage policy:

Using your phone as a modem (tethering) is not permitted.

Source: The People’s Operator: Fair Usage Policy (7th January 2015)
Tariff Information: The People’s Operator Website

Vectone Mobile

Vectone Mobile allows tethering, but only up to a maximum of 10GB per month. If you exceed this 10GB limit, your services might be suspended. This is stated in clause 4e of their network terms and conditions:

4(e) Tethering of up to 10GB mobile data is permitted; post which, it might result into suspension of your services.

Source: Vectone Mobile Terms & Conditions
Tariff Information: Vectone Mobile Website

Virgin Mobile

As of April 2018, Virgin Mobile has removed the restrictions on tethering previously found in their terms and conditions. The following SIM-only deals from Virgin Mobile will allow you to tether:

Virgin Mobile2,500Unlimited2GB£6.00
Virgin Mobile1,500Unlimited1GB£7.00
Virgin Mobile5,000Unlimited10GB£10.00
Virgin Mobile5,000Unlimited50GB£20.00
Virgin MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£27.00

Prior to April 2018, it wasn’t possible to tether on Virgin Mobile contracts taken out after the 24th January 2013. This was stated in the old terms and conditions for the Virgin Mobile service:

Data usage on some Virgin Media tariffs is for mobile internet services and data consumption actually on your handset. It does not include using your handset as a modem to connect other devices such as laptops and tablets – also known as “Tethering”. Please refer to your terms and conditions and other communications from Virgin Media to check whether this applies on your tariff. This applies to all new and upgrading customers since 24 January 2013.

If your contract was originally taken out before the 24th January 2013, you should check as the specific terms and conditions may differ for your tariff.

Source: Virgin Media: Terms and conditions of service
Tariff Information: Virgin Media Website

VOXI by Vodafone

On VOXI, the sub-brand of Vodafone for under-25s, it’s possible to tether or use personal hotspot without any restrictions. From the VOXI Benefits page:

Tether without restrictions
Turn your VOXI mobile into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, letting other devices use your data.

Source: VOXI Website – Network Benefits
Tariff Information: VOXI Website

More Information

For more information on your network’s tethering policy, please refer to their official website. For information on how to tether from your smartphone, see our article on how to use your smartphone’s tethering functionality.

Your Comments 125 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 125 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

    • Hi Michael,
      Thanks very much for your comment! Yes, I believe iD Mobile have recently relaxed this restriction due to a recent Ofcom ruling on the topic of net neutrality. Essentially, this is the principle that traffic shouldn’t be discriminated on based on the device on which you use the data (so data used via tethering shouldn’t be treated any differently to normal data usage on your smartphone).
      I’ll make sure this is all reflected when it comes to next updating this article 🙂

  • Hi Ken,

    I am currently with Virgin Mobile wherein I am subscribed into 100GB of data allowance.I am just curious why my data usage reached 64GB every month though my data is not working okay as it doesn’t load pages.How is it possible?

    • Hi Coby,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any good reason why your data connection would stop working after 64GB of usage. This is something the Virgin Mobile customer services team will have to look into for you – sorry about that!

  • Hi Ken,
    Many thanks for pulling together so much useful information.
    You show how some networks have limits for how much of a data package can be used for tethering.
    What are the rules for using a SIM in a wifi router?
    I understand some providers ban it for some of their products?

    • Hi Tom,
      Many thanks for your comment. Yes, I believe the terms and conditions of some mobile SIM card products do not allow you to place the SIM card in a mobile wi-fi router. I don’t know off the top of my head which mobile networks have this restriction, but it’s probably best to choose a mobile broadband SIM card for this use case.

      • After pressure from Ofcom, Three now allow unlimited tethering on their Advanced plans with an ordinary (phone) SIM card.

        Three has:
        “withdrawn restrictions on the use of handset SIMs in dongles and mifis” and “allow customers on all Advanced Plans to tether without restriction”.


        I’m unsure whether this applies to other operators but it’s looking as though distinctions between handset SIMs and mobile broadband SIMs will disappear.

        • Three may have removed restrictions on SIMs in dongles and mifis – I don’t know. However, according to the Ofcom statement Three also made the following commitment :
          “Three has also confirmed that, from December 2018 (or earlier), it will:
          remove any specific tethering or hotspot allowance for new or upgrading customers, to allow for unrestricted tethering (within the UK or EU)”

          Yet as of 14th Feb 2019, according to Three’s own website, they STILL impose fair use limits.


          In the FAQs it says
          “Use of your data allowance in Go Roam in Europe destinations is included subject to a fair use limit. If you have a data allowance of 19GB or more, you can use up to a fair use limit of 19GB of your data allowance (or 15GB if you’re on Pay As You Go) at no extra cost.”
          “In Go Roam in Europe destinations, use of your data allowance over our fair use limit of 19GB (or 15GB for Pay As You Go customers) is not included and incurs a surcharge of up to 0.46p/MB.”

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