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Which networks offer unlimited data?

14th August 2019

There are currently six networks which offer unlimited data in the UK, which are Three, Smarty, Vodafone, 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 internet data packages.

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. Read on for a full guide to the data limits of each network.

1. Three

Unlimited data with no speed restrictions and 5G Ready at no extra cost

Three Unlimited Data SIM Plans

Three SIM Card

24 Month Contract

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£10 a month £20

View Deal

Half price for first 6 months

Three SIM Card

12 Month Contract

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£20 a month

View Deal

Three SIM Card

1 Month Contract

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£24 a month

View Deal

Plans are 5G Ready at no extra cost and include Unlimited Tethering, Go Binge, Worldwide Roaming and Wuntu

Three Unlimited Pay As You Go SIM

Three SIM Card

Pay As You Go

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£35

Lasts for 30 days

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Three Pay As You Go SIM

Pay As You Go

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£90

Lasts for 90 days

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Plans include Tethering, Worldwide Roaming and Wuntu

Three offers truly unlimited data on SIM Only, Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go phone plans, which all come with 4G and 5G at no extra cost.

The network doesn't cap download speeds, there isn't a usage limit and you can tether as much data as you like. Three also offers a 4G+ service in some regions, giving it a speed advantage over many networks.

You can also use up to 19GB data when roaming in 71 Go Roam worldwide locations across the world at no extra cost (or 12GB if used outside Europe). Unless you’re on Pay As You Go, in which case the limits are 15GB/12GB for Europe and beyond respectively. Any data used on Go Binge (a service which lets you stream certain content without it coming out of your data allowance) 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 unlimited Mobile Broadband plans, including home broadband, mobile broadband and data only SIM plans.

2. Smarty

Unlimited data at great value prices

Smarty Unlimited SIM Plan

Smarty SIM Card

Unlimited data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£18.75 a month £25

25% off for life

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Smarty, who use Three's network, also have an unlimited data plan, which comes with no speed or tethering restrictions. It's a 1-month rolling plan that comes with 4G included, although data roaming is limited to 19GB per month and you can only roam for free in the EU.

Currently, Smarty only offers SIM only plans so no unlimited Pay Monthly phones or Mobile Broadband plans are available.

3. Vodafone

Unlimited plans with 5G included

Vodafone Unlimited SIM Plans

Vodafone SIM Card

Unlimited Lite - 12 Month

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

Max download speed 2mbps

£23 a month

View Deal

Vodafone SIM Card

Unlimited - 12 Month

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

Max download speed 10mbps

£26 a month

View Deal

Vodafone SIM Card

Unlimited Max - 12 Month

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

Max download speed: Fastest available

£30 a month

View Deal

Vodafone SIM Card

Unlimited Lite - 1 Month

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

Max download speed 2mbps

£25 a month

View Deal

Vodafone SIM Card

Unlimited - 1 Month

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

Max download speed 10mbps

£28 a month

View Deal

Vodafone SIM Card

Unlimited Max - 1 Month

Unlimited data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

Max download speed: Fastest available

£32 a month

View Deal

Vodafone are the latest network to introduce unlimited data plans and are the only network offering unlimited 5G data.

A choice of 3 plan types are available which offer different maximum download speeds. Unlimited Lite plans offering max downloads speeds of 2mbps (fast enough to browse and stream music), Unlimited up to 10mbps (fast enough to stream HD video) and Unlimited Max plans offering the maximum available speeds with no restrictions and in reality are the only ones able to take benefit from 5G speeds.

4. Giffgaff

Unlimited data with speed restrictions

GiffGaff Unlimited Data Goodybag

GiffGaff Unlimited SIM

Unlimited data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£25 a month

View Deal

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

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. You can tether, but the same restrictions apply.

Free roaming meanwhile is fully 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).

5. 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. You also can’t tether on Lycamobile.

6. Virgin Mobile

Unlimited data for existing Virgin Media customers

Virgin Unlimited Plan (for Virgin TV or Broadband customers only)

Virgin Unlimited SIM

Unlimited data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£27 a month

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 £27 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 11.28GB in the EU if you’re on SIM Only. This cap changes though, so for an up to date figure, use Virgin Mobile’s fair use calculator.

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

120GB

120GB

15GB

O2

100GB

100GB

100GB

iD Mobile

20GB

20GB

20GB

BT

60GB

40GB

15GB

FreedomPop

4GB

4GB

N/A

Plusnet Mobile

22GB

22GB

15GB

Sky Mobile

30GB

30GB

30GB

Tesco Mobile

50GB

50GB

50GB

Asda Mobile

15GB

15GB

15GB

Voxi

45GB

45GB

45GB

Lebara Mobile

20GB 20GB

20GB

Ctrl Mobile

30GB 30GB

30GB

EE

EE Logo

EE’s Pay Monthly plans top out at 120GB of data, while SIM Only offers a maximum of 60GB and on Pay As You Go you can get bundles of up to 20GB.

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, 4G+ and even 5G services on some plans.

O2

o2 Logo

O2 offers up to 100GB of data on Pay Monthly and up to 60GB on SIM Only, while you can get 20GB bundles usually with current offers of up to 40GB on Pay As You Go, all of which can be used for tethering or roaming.

O2 also offers mobile broadband plans with up to 75GB of monthly data.

O2 now offers 4G+ speeds.

iD Mobile

iD Mobile Logo

iD Mobile offers a range of plans on Pay Monthly or SIM Only, topping out at 10GB of data on Pay Monthly and 20GB on SIM Only, while Pay As You Go comes with up to 4GB.

However, 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 Logo

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 Logo

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 Logo

Plusnet Mobile only has SIM Only plans and these come with up to 22GB of data (though it tops out at 20GB if you’re not a Plusnet broadband customer). You can use any or all of this for tethering and up to 15GB for free roaming. 4G is included as standard.

Sky Mobile

Sky Mobile Logo

Sky Mobile offers both Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans and these include up to 30GB of monthly data. You can also get up to 30GB 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 Logo

Tesco Mobile gives you up to 50GB of data on Pay Monthly and 30GB 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.

Asda Mobile

Asda Mobile Logo

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 8GB of data with a data only bundle, or you can Pay As You Go.

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

Voxi

Voxi Logo

Voxi offers SIM Only and phone plans and they come with up to 45GB of data, any or all of which can be used for tethering or EU roaming.

Lebara Mobile

Lebara Logo

Lebara Mobile offers SIM Only plans with up to 20GB 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.

Ctrl Mobile

Ctrl Mobile Logo

Ctrl Mobile briefly offered an unlimited data plan, but at the time of writing its plans top out at 30GB. However, this can all be used for tethering or roaming. Ctrl only offers SIM Only plans.

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 20GB or less and lighter users can often get by on just 3 or 4GB 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.

Conclusion - Which network offers the best unlimited data plan?

Three is currently the best option for those looking for unlimited data because they offer great value, don't limit download speeds and have no tethering restrictions. Smarty offer a good value alternative for those looking for a 30 day contract, although you do have to sacrifice Three's free Worldwide roaming, Go Binge, Wuntu rewards and free Travel upgrades.

Vodafone is also a good option, but we would only advise choosing the most expensive Unlimited Max plan because speeds on their other unlimited plans are very restrictive. Existing Virgin customers should consider Virgin's unlimited deal as benefit from EE's network coverage and have no speed or tethering restrictions.

Summary

Operator

Unlimited data

Restrictions

Tethering

Roaming

Three

Yes

Fair Usage

Unlimited

19GB

Smarty

Yes

Fair Usage

Unlimited

19GB

Vodafone

Yes

Maximum speed limits on select plans

Unlimited 25GB

Giffgaff

Yes

Reduced speed after 20GB usage

20GB then reduced speed

20GB

Lycamobile

Yes

Reduced speed after 9GB usage

None

9GB

Virgin Mobile

Yes

Only available to Virgin Media customers

Unlimited

11.28GB

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