Unlimited data plans allow you to download as much as you like, with always on data. We compare unlimited data plans on giffgaff, Three, Virgin and Vodafone.

Whether you’re a heavy smartphone user or whether you just want the reassurance of never running out of data, several UK mobile networks now offer an unlimited data plan so you can download as much as you like without worrying about your data limit.

At present, it’s possible to get an unlimited data plan from either giffgaff, Three or Virgin Mobile in the UK. With all of these plans, you can stop worrying about how many gigabytes you’re using and you’ll never again run out of data mid-month.

As a cheaper alternative to unlimited data plans, you can also consider a zero-rated data plan which gives you unlimited data for a number of services. These are available in the form of Three’s Go Binge, Vodafone’s Passes (also available on VOXI) and Virgin Mobile’s Data-Free Messaging.

In this article, we’ll review and compare your options for an unlimited mobile data plan in the UK.

Overview of Unlimited Data Plans

Unlimited Data Plans

In the UK, there are currently three mobile networks offering an unlimited data plan:

Mobile Network Unlimited Data Plan Limitations & Restrictions
giffgaff Always-On Data 4G speeds are only available on the first 20GB per month. After this, speeds are restricted to 384kbit/s between 8am-midnight.
Three All-You-Can-Eat Data A fair usage policy of 1000GB per month applies.
Virgin Mobile Unlimited Data Only available to Virgin Media TV and Broadband customers.

giffgaff offers 4G coverage from O2, whereas Virgin Mobile offers 4G coverage from EE. Three has its own mobile network offering 99% 4G population coverage (see their online coverage checker here).

Normally, giffgaff’s £25 goodybag is the cheapest and most flexible unlimited data plan (available on a 30-day rolling basis). However, discounts and offers may sometimes make the unlimited data plans from Three and Virgin Mobile better value overall.

Zero-Rated Data Plans

As an alternative to unlimited data plans, you can also choose a zero-rated data plan. This gives you unlimited data, but only for use on selected services:

Mobile Network Zero-Rated Data Plan Services Included
Three Go Binge Netflix, Snapchat, Apple Music, TV Player, Deezer and Soundcloud.
Virgin Mobile Data-Free Messaging WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter.
Vodafone Vodafone Passes Multiple video, music, chat & social providers (depends on the pass).
VOXI VOXI Endless Passes Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Viber and Facebook Messenger. Video and music providers available at extra cost.

Through the rest of this article, we’ll review each of the unlimited and zero-rated data plans in more detail.

Unlimited Data Plans

At present, unlimited data plans are available in the UK from giffgaff, Three and Virgin Mobile:

giffgaff

giffgaff is a low-cost sub-brand of O2 offering 3G and 4G network coverage from O2. Unlimited downloads are available on giffgaff’s £25 goodybag which comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and “Always-On” data:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00

With Always-On data, you’ll only get full 4G download speeds on the first 20GB per month. After this, your speeds will drop down to standard 3G (384kbps) between 8am and midnight each day. This may stop you from doing things like streaming music or video from the internet, but it shouldn’t prevent you from browsing the internet or using messaging services.

Because of the speed reduction after the first 384kbps, giffgaff’s Always On data plan may not be suitable for very heavy data users. However, it’s a good option if you’re mainly looking for some peace of mind, and is available on a one-month rolling basis with no credit check required.

Source: giffgaff Website
Tariff Information: giffgaff Website

Three

On Three, unlimited data over 4G download speeds is available on the flagship unlimited data plan (also known as all-you-can-eat data). The main restriction is a fair usage policy of 1,000GB (1TB) per month. According to Three:

Unlimited data gives you worry free internet use. Even if you used your phone for every minute of every day you could only use, subject to TrafficSense™, around 1000GB each month. We may use this cap to identify inappropriate use of the service, such as commercial use, which isn’t permitted under our terms and conditions.

There is also a fair usage limit when you’re using your mobile phone abroad in a Go Roam country. This is currently set to 12GB outside Europe and 19GB inside of Europe (15GB on Pay As You Go).

The following table shows SIM-only plans with unlimited data on Three:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00

It’s also possible to buy a new smartphone on a 24-month contract with unlimited data included.

Prior to October 2018, Three’s unlimited data plans had a restriction on tethering. It was only possible to use up to 30GB of tethering each month. This restriction has now been removed for all new and existing customers as a result of Ofcom’s net neutrality rules.

Source: Three Help: What is unlimited data?
Tariff Information: Three Website

Virgin Mobile

On Virgin Mobile, an unlimited data plan is available but this is exclusive to customers who have Virgin TV and broadband at home. The plan comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data and normally costs £25/month.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Virgin MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£25.00

According to Virgin, there are no restrictions on “tethering, throttling, speed restrictions or caps”. Download speeds of up to 70Mbps are available on Virgin Mobile using 4G coverage from the EE network.

Source: Virgin Media Website
Tariff Information: Virgin Media Website

Besides giffgaff, Three and Virgin Mobile, other UK mobile networks do not currently offer an unlimited data plan. However, you might be able to get a very large data allowance (for instance, EE offers up to 100GB of data per month in their EE Max price plans).

Zero-Rated Data Plans

Zero-rated data plans give you unlimited data for use on selected services, and can be a cheaper alternative to unlimited data plans:

Three Go Binge

Three offers an inclusive service called Go Binge to all customers with a Pay Monthly plan with at least 12GB of data per month. This gives you unlimited data for use in six applications: Netflix, TV Player, Snapchat, Soundcloud, Deezer and Apple Music. Usage of these six services is “zero-rated” so will not count towards your normal download allowance.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£15.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£19.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£25.00

For more information, please read our full review of the Go Binge service.

Source: Three Website: About Go Binge
Tariff Information: Three Website

Virgin Mobile Data-Free Messaging

On Virgin Mobile, data-free messaging is available to all customers with a 4G Pay Monthly plan. Usage of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter are zero-rated, so you can message as much as you like without worrying about how much data you’re using.

The following table shows 4G plans from Virgin Mobile with data-free messaging:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Virgin Mobile1,500Unlimited1GB£7.00
Virgin Mobile1,500Unlimited2GB£9.00
Virgin Mobile2,500Unlimited10GB£16.00
Virgin MobileUnlimitedUnlimited40GB£23.00
Virgin MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£25.00

Source: Virgin Mobile: Data-Free Messaging
Tariff Information: Virgin Media Website

Vodafone Passes

Vodafone offers a choice of Vodafone Pass add-ons to customers who have a Pay Monthly contract with them (excluding Vodafone Basics). The passes give you unlimited data for use on selected services within the category of video, music, chat and social media. The passes are a paid-for addition to your normal mobile contract.

At present, there are four Vodafone Passes available. They cover the following applications at the time of writing:

  • Video Pass (£7/month): Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, DisneyLife, My5, TVPlayer and UKTV Play.
  • Music Pass (£5/month): Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, Deezer, Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon Prime Music, SoundCloud, Primordial Radio and Napster.
  • Chat Pass (£5/month): WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber Messenger and Call+.
  • Social Pass (£3/month): Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.

All four passes can be purchased as a Combo Pass bundle for £15/month. For more information, please read our full review of Vodafone Passes.

Source: Vodafone: Pay Monthly Passes
Tariff Information: Vodafone Website

VOXI Endless Passes

VOXI is Vodafone’s low-cost sub-brand for customers who are under 30. On VOXI’s flexible 30-day rolling plans, you’ll get “Endless Social Media” with zero-rated data on Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Viber and Facebook Messenger.

You can add a VOXI Video Pass for £7/month or a VOXI Music Pass for £5/month. These passes work in the exact same way as they do on Vodafone, giving you endless data on selected video and music streaming services.

The following table shows 30-day rolling plans with endless social data on VOXI:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£10.00
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£15.00
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£20.00

Source: VOXI Plans: VOXI Passes
Tariff Information: VOXI Website

Occasionally, other mobile networks may choose to zero-rate selected apps and services on a promotional basis. For instance, EE offers zero-rated data for Apple Music during the six month free trial available on EE Pay Monthly plans.

More Information

For more information on specific unlimited data plans, please see the giffgaff, Three and Virgin Mobile websites. For more information about zero-rated data offers, see the Three, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and VOXI websites.

Your Comments 5 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 5 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Any thoughts Ken, on using an unlimited data plan as a sort of proxy for WiFi? Maybe using a dedicated MiFi device or even a phone as a hotspot… If say one wants the flexibility, not being tied into a long broadband contract etc? Speed of connection 4G mobile data vs. Broadband Wifi? What do you think?

    • Hi Craig,
      Many thanks for your comment. Typically, you’ll be able to use an unlimited data plan through tethering or portable hotspot on your other devices (e.g. your laptop or tablet). However, speeds are slowed down after the first 9GB/month on giffgaff and tethering is limited to 30GB/month on Three. Therefore, these tariffs might not be a very good replacement for your normal home broadband/wi-fi service.
      There are some mobile broadband tariffs designed for use in the home – for instance, Three’s HomeFi which gives you 40GB of data for £24/month or Relish which gives you unlimited data from £20/month if you’re living in Central London. Both of these can be a good replacement for home broadband if you’re in an area with good coverage & if the data allowance is enough for you.
      Ken

  • I noticed today that ID network have stop doing unlimited unless its a typo ob the Carphone warehouse site now dropped to 10gb for £20

    • Hey there,
      A massive thank you for the heads up about the iD Mobile offer. We’ve now removed it from this page as they’ve dropped the tariff down to 10GB per month.
      Thanks again,
      Ken

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