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Which networks offer unlimited data?

19th November 2018

Unlimited data is great because you never need to worry about overspending or running out of data as you endlessly use up gigaloads of the stuff.

Here in the UK there are currently only four networks which offer unlimited data, which are Three, GiffGaff, Lycamobile and Virgin Mobile.

All of these operators have some form of restriction, so it makes sense to get fully up to speed with the ins and outs of unlimited data packages. To find out more read on and see which network provides the best unlimited data option for you.

You can also quickly look at the remaining mobile operators to see which offers the best non-unlimited data package. You never know, one of these may suit your needs.

1. Three

Unlimited data at maximum speeds

Three offers truly unlimited data on Pay Monthly, SIM Only and Pay As You Go plans, which all come with 4G at no extra cost. They don't cap downloads speeds, there isn't a usage limit and you can tether as much data as you like. Three also now offers a 4G+ service in some regions, giving it a speed advantage over many networks.

Pay Monthly Unlimited Data Plans

Three SIM Card

12 Month Contract

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£27 a month

View Deal

Three SIM Card

1 Month Contract

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£32 a month

View Deal

Both plans include Tethering, Go Binge, Worldwide Roaming and Wuntu

Pay As You Go Unlimited Data Add-on

Three SIM Card

Pay As You Go

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£35

View Deal

Includes Tethering, Worldwide Roaming and Wuntu

You can also use up to 15GB data when roaming in 71 Go Roam locations across the world at no extra cost (or 12GB if used outside Europe). Any data used on Go Binge (explained below) will come out of your roaming allowance when in Europe. It won't come out of your roaming allowance when further afield, but if you’ve already reached that limit then you may not be able to access Go Binge.

Pay As Go plans don't include Go Binge, so that's worth considering when choosing a plan.

Three also offers Mobile Broadband plans, but these aren't available with unlimited data and instead come with a maximum of 40GB of data.

Have you considered a Go Binge deal?

A Go Binge deal gives you unlimited data to use on Apple Music, Netflix, Snapchat, Deezer, Soundcloud and TVPlayer. Data used on Go Binge services doesn't come out of your data allowances.

Go Binge SIM Plans

Three SIM Card

100GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£20 a month

(was £31)

View Deal

Three SIM Card

30GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£17 a month

View Deal

All plans include Tethering, Go Binge, Worldwide Roaming and Wuntu

Go Binge is available on all Three Advanced SIM Only or Pay Monthly phone plans with 12GB of data or more. It’s also available on Pay Monthly mobile broadband plans with 15GB or above.

2. Giffgaff

Unlimited data with speed restrictions

Giffgaff offers an unlimited data goodybag (add-on), which can be purchased with SIM Only or a mobile phone.

GiffGaff Unlimited Goodybag
GiffGaff Unlimited SIM

Unlimited data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£25

View Deal

There are some restrictions, with only the first 20GB of use per month being at full 4G speeds. After that speeds are capped at 384kbps between 8am and midnight, which is quite slow.

Tethering and roaming are also capped at 20GB per month and the only way to use your data beyond the EU is to pay for the roaming data separately (which generally costs 20p per megabyte).

3. Lycamobile

Unlimited data with speed restrictions and no tethering

Lycamobile Unlimited Data SIM
LycaMobile Unlimited SIM

Unlimited data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£20 a month

View Deal

Lycamobile has launched an unlimited data plan which costs £20 per month and also gives you unlimited minutes and texts.

Speeds are capped after the first 9GB of usage per month to just 128kb/sec, which is only around 5-10% of normal 4G speeds. EU roaming is capped at 6.75GB and you also can’t tether on Lycamobile.

4. Virgin Mobile

Unlimited data for existing Virgin Media customers

Virgin Mobile Unlimited Data Plan (for Virgin TV or Broadband customers only)
Virgin Unlimited SIM

Unlimited data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£25

View Deal

Virgin Mobile also offers unlimited data, but only to customers who have Virgin TV or Virgin Broadband.

That makes it quite restrictive, but if you fit into that camp then it is truly unlimited and at 4G speeds, and you can get it for £25 per month on SIM Only or at various prices on Pay Monthly.

Remarkably, you also get unlimited data for tethering – or at least, according to a customer service agent we spoke to you do, however at the time of writing there’s no confirmation of this on Virgin Mobile’s website.

However, unlimited data isn’t available on mobile broadband plans. There are also restrictions when roaming, with you currently capped at 7.91GB in the EU.

What about the other UK networks?

The other UK networks currently don't offer unlimited data. However, many do have high data limits (as high as 100GB), the full details are displayed below.

UK Networks Maximum Data Allowances

Operator

Max data

Tethering

Roaming

EE

100GB

100GB

15GB

O2

100GB

100GB

100GB

Vodafone

100GB

100GB

100GB

iD Mobile

20GB

N/A

20GB

BT

60GB

40GB

15GB

FreedomPop

4GB

4GB

N/A

Plusnet Mobile

8GB

8GB

8GB

Sky Mobile

15GB

15GB

15GB

Tesco Mobile

100GB

100GB

100GB

The People's Operator

8GB

N/A

8GB

Asda Mobile

15GB

15GB

15GB

Voxi

15GB

15GB

15GB

Smarty

10GB

10GB

6.5GB

Lebara Mobile 10GB 10GB

10GB

Ctrl Mobile 5GB 5GB

5GB

EE

EE

EE’s Pay Monthly plans top out at 100GB of data, while SIM Only offers a maximum of 40GB and on Pay As You Go you can get bundles of up to 16GB.

There are no restrictions on its general use, or on its use when tethering, however you can only use up to 15GB for roaming.

EE also offers mobile broadband plans with data limits that max out at 50GB.

While you can’t get unlimited data on EE, one advantage of it is high speeds, with double speed and 4G+ services on some plans.

O2

o2

O2 offers up to 100GB of data on Pay Monthly and up to 40GB on SIM Only, while you can get 20GB bundles on Pay As You Go, all of which can be used for tethering or roaming.

O2 also offers mobile broadband plans with up to 50GB of monthly data.

O2 only offers standard 4G speeds.

Vodafone

Vodafone

Vodafone’s Pay Monthly plans come with up to 100GB of data, while SIM Only comes with up to 45GB and Pay As You Go includes up to 20GB, all of which can be used for tethering or roaming.

Vodafone also has mobile broadband plans with up to 50GB of data and has a speed advantage over most networks in some areas, as it has partial UK coverage with LTE Advanced, which is far faster than normal 4G.

iD Mobile

iD Mobile

iD Mobile offers a range of plans on Pay Monthly or SIM Only, topping out at 8GB of data on Pay Monthly and 20GB on SIM Only, while Pay As You Go comes with up to 4GB.

However, tethering isn’t allowed on any plans and while you get 4G speeds as standard this is just normal 4G. Note also that there are restrictions to data use when roaming which vary based on your usual data limit and how much you pay each month. You can find a guide to these here.

BT

BT Mobile

BT has Pay Monthly plans with up to 60GB of data and SIM Only ones with up to 40GB. It also has data-only plans with up to 30GB. The network doesn’t offer any Pay As You Go plans. You can use all of your data for tethering or roaming. However, if you use more than 15GB per billing cycle while roaming, a surcharge may be applied.

BT also has an Extra Speed service, giving you twice the speed of standard 4G.

FreedomPop

Freedom Pop

FreedomPop has a range of SIM Only plans offering up to 4GB of data. You can use this data to tether if you also subscribe to its Premier service.

The network doesn’t currently offer any Pay Monthly, Pay As You Go or mobile broadband plans, and you can’t roam on any of its current plans. All plans come with 4G speeds as standard.

Plusnet Mobile

Plusnet Mobile

Plusnet Mobile only has SIM Only plans and these come with up to 8GB of data (though it tops out at 4GB if you’re not a Plusnet broadband customer). You can use any or all of this for tethering or for roaming. 4G is included as standard.

Sky Mobile

Sky Mobile

Sky Mobile offers both Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans and these include up to 15GB of monthly data. You can also get up to 15GB of data with a tablet. You can use as much of this as you want for tethering or roaming. Sky Mobile offers standard 4G speeds.

Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile gives you up to 50GB of data on Pay Monthly and 100GB on SIM Only plans, and you can use as much as you want for tethering.

You can also get Pay As You Go bundles with up to 8GB of data, but there aren’t any mobile broadband plans. 4G data is included as standard, as is free EU roaming.

The People’s Operator

The People's Operator

The People’s Operator offers up to 8GB of data on SIM Only, 6GB with a Pay As You Go bundle, or 6GB for mobile broadband.

You can roam in the EU, but there aren’t any Pay Monthly plans and nor can you use any of your data to tether. Speeds are standard 4G.

Asda Mobile

Asda Mobile

Asda Mobile’s SIM Only plans come with up to 15GB of data, all of which can be used for tethering. You can also get up to 6GB of data on a data only plan, or you can Pay As You Go.

The network offers standard 4G speeds and provides free EU roaming.

Voxi

Voxi only offers SIM Only plans and they come with up to 15GB of data, any or all of which can be used for tethering or EU roaming. At the time of writing Voxi is offering up to 45GB of data, but this is a short-term deal that should be ending imminently.

The main limitation of Voxi is that you have to be under 30 to use the network.

Smarty

Smarty offers just three SIM Only plans, topping out at 8GB of 4G data. Tethering and EU roaming are both included at no extra cost.

Lebara Mobile

Lebara Mobile offers SIM Only plans with up to 10GB of 4G data, while Data Only plans come with up to 2GB. You can use as much of your data as you want for tethering and you can also roam at no extra cost in the EU, but there your data is in many cases restricted, though the exact amount you can use will depend on your plan. Currently available plans top out at 6.5GB abroad.

Ctrl Mobile

Ctrl Mobile briefly offered an unlimited data plan, but at the time of writing its plans top out at just 5GB. However, this can all be used for tethering or roaming. If you took out an unlimited plan before they were discontinued, you’ll be able to use up to 10GB for tethering.

Do I need unlimited data?

That’s the big question, and the answer in most cases is no. If you’re streaming multiple hours of video each day over mobile data, or using mobile data to download movies, games or lots of music then you might, but even most quite heavy users should be fine on 10GB or less and lighter users can often get by on just 2 or 3GB of data.

The easiest way to be sure is to look at how much data you’re using each month on your current plan, then move to a plan that gives you slightly more than that.

Summary

Three, Lycamobile, Virgin Mobile and GiffGaff are the only UK operators offering unlimited data. Three is currently the best option for those looking for unlimited data because it doesn't limit download speeds and has no restrictions on tethering. However, Virgin could be a close second assuming you’re eligible for its unlimited plan, as it has no tethering restrictions either.

Summary

Operator

Unlimited data

Restrictions

Tethering

Roaming

Three

Yes

Fair Usage

Unlimited

15GB

Giffgaff

Yes

Reduced speed after 20GB usage

20GB

20GB

Lycamobile

Yes

Fair Usage

N/A

6.75GB

Virgin Mobile

Yes

Only available to Virgin Media customers

Unlimited

7.91GB

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