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Best family SIM deals

2nd October 2018

If you’re happy to share a phone contract with family or friends there can be big savings to be had, as many networks offer discounts for having multiple plans or let you share your data allowance between a group, so you’re less likely to end up paying for data you don’t use.

Not all networks offer either of these perks though and the exact terms vary from network to network, so we’ve put together this guide, highlighting the best options available. The deals are in no particular order, as how good each of them is will largely depend on your own needs, such as how many people you plan to add to the contract.

Below all that you’ll find some information on what else to consider when choosing a deal, so read on, get sharing and get saving.

  • EE Family Account

Discounts and data

EE offers a ‘family account’, which gives a 10% discount off every additional line you add, as well as 1GB of free extra data each month for each additional line.

As well as saving you money, this service also allows you to move data around between users. So for example, if one person is running low you can send them data from someone else on the account who has a lot left.

Voice and data caps are also in place to ensure there are no surprise bills, which is especially handy if you plan to put your kids on the account.

  • BT Mobile Family SIM

Discounts and flexible plans

With BT Mobile’s Family SIM, you can add up to 4 additional SIM cards to your account and each of them will only be tied into a 30-day contract (though the first SIM has to start with a 12-month one). That makes BT’s family plan more flexible than some.

Of course, you can also save money, with each additional person getting a 20% discount on the standard price.

  • O2 Family Plan

More people means bigger discounts

With an O2 Family Plan you can add up to 20 connections to your plan, which is more than most networks allow.

And you might want to, because doing so can save money. The first additional connection gets a 20% discount off their airtime plan, the second gets 30%, the third 40% and everything after that gets 50%.

Those are big numbers but note that this only applies to the ‘airtime’ part of your costs, which means your allowances. It doesn’t apply to the part of your monthly cost that’s paying off your phone.

There are also various exclusions, for example you won’t get the discount on any promotional plans (ones which are already being sold at less than their normal price).

  • Vodafone Household

Keeping it simple with 15% off

Vodafone Household keeps things simple. Just take out one full price Pay Monthly, SIM Only or mobile broadband plan that’s at least 12 months long and you’ll be able to add up to 9 additional lines to your account, each of which gets a 15% discount.

  • Tesco Mobile Family Perks

Little perks every month

Tesco Mobile lets you add up to 4 additional subscriptions to your account, and, as long as there are at least two of you, you’ll be eligible for ‘Family Perks’. These are monthly perks which include up to 1GB of extra data, up to £2 off your bill, up to 200 Tesco Clubcard points, up to 500 extra minutes, and up to £2.25 off Tesco Mobile Protect.

Each person on your plan can choose one of these perks each month, and you can change which one you get every month, the only exception being the Tesco Mobile Protect discount, which you need to have chosen from the start.

  • Sky Mobile

Roll over and share your data

One of the standout features of Sky Mobile in general is that it lets you roll over your unused data from one month to the next for up to 3 years, however, if you add your family’s phones to your account (with up to 5 SIMs supported in total) you all get to share any data that’s rolled over.

Note that you don’t share your normal allowances, but any data that any of you don’t use goes into a communal ‘Sky Piggybank’ which you can dip into as needed.

Considerations when choosing a family plan

Data vs discounts

As noted above, family plans tend to be split between those which offer discounts and those which let you share your data, so it’s worth considering which you’d find more useful.

In general, we tend to think that discounts are better (though notably the first person on the account doesn’t usually get a direct discount). Data sharing can be handy if your data use varies from month to month, but if you and the other people on your plan tend to use a fairly standard amount you might find you don’t really take advantage of it.

Contract length and type

Note also that some family plans are only available on certain contract types or durations. For example, O2’s Family Plan requires you to be on an O2 Refresh tariff or SIM Only contract, while BT Mobile’s provides the flexibility of letting most users choose 30-day plans.

Adding people to a plan

In most cases you can add people to your plan (or remove them from it) at any point, but this is always worth checking if you think you might want to add or remove people later.

Other network features

Family plans and the perks that go with them are just one thing to consider when choosing a network. You should also look at their prices (big family plan discounts are less impressive if the standard prices are high) as well as their coverage, speeds, allowances, their tethering and roaming terms, and any other extras they offer, such as Wi-Fi Calling or data rollover.

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