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What is data rollover and which networks offer it?

17th July 2018

Data Rollover

There are a number of things consider when choosing a network beyond just their coverage, prices and allowances, and one of the big bonuses some networks offer is data rollover.

But not all networks offer it and those that do often handle it in different ways, so with that in mind we’ve created this guide, explaining what data rollover is, which networks offer it and how it differs from network to network.

What is data rollover?

Data rollover means having your unused data roll over from one month to the next. So, if for example you have a 4GB data allowance and only used 3GB one month, the next month the 1GB that you didn’t use would be added to your allowance, giving you 5GB to play with.

On networks that don’t have data rollover you instead lose that data, meaning you can end up paying for lots of data that you don’t use. So if your data use varies from month to month it can be very beneficial to be on a plan with data rollover.

It also lets you plan ahead – if you know you’ve got a heavy data use month coming up, you can use less the month before to ensure you have enough.

Which networks offer data rollover?

A number of networks offer data rollover and you’ll find them all below, along with information on the exact terms and availability of their data rollover offer.

Sky Mobile

Sky Mobile lets you roll over all your unused data each month and it’s available to use for up to three years, so if you’re regularly using less than your allowance you can keep building up what you have available.

The data you roll over is stored in your ‘Sky Piggybank’ and to use it you have to manually roll it back into your allowance in 1GB chunks. This can be done through your Sky account at any time.

Sky Mobile’s data rollover is available on all plans, and you can have up to 5 SIMs on a single account, all sharing the same Piggybank, so you can potentially pool your data with family or friends.

Virgin Mobile

With Virgin Mobile you can roll over your unused data from one month to the next on all Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans.

However, the data you roll over is only available the next month. It’s not stored for years like it is on Sky Mobile.

Virgin Mobile will automatically use your rolled over data before using your standard allowance each month, so you’re more likely to have a chance to make use of all your data.

iD Mobile

All of iD Mobile’s current plans come with data rollover (though if you’re on one of its older plans you might not have it).

It works the same way as Virgin Mobile’s, which is to say any unused data from one month is rolled over to the next and will be used before your normal allowance that month.

That’s important because it’s only rolled over for one month, so having it used before your allowance means you’re more likely to get through it – then anything you don’t use from your standard allowance can be rolled over to the following month and the cycle continues.

FreedomPop

FreedomPop charges extra for data rollover. You have to pay £1.49 per month to be able to roll over up to 500MB of unused data each month, or £2.99 per month to roll over up to 1GB each month.

So it’s quite restrictive in terms of how much you can roll over and the added cost makes it less appealing than some networks. But it does at least let you continue to store your rolled over data for more than one month.

In fact, you can keep it rolled over until you cancel the data rollover service, though you can’t store more than 20GB of rolled over data in total on the cheaper plan, or more than 40GB on the pricier one.

O2

O2 doesn’t offer data rollover for your normal allowance, but if you buy a data bolt-on and don’t use it all the remainder will be rolled over to the next month. However, like so many other networks it’s only rolled over for one month.

Vodafone

If you purchase one of Vodafone’s Big Value Bundles on Pay As You Go, any unused allowances will be rolled over into the next month’s bundle. However, it only rolls over once, so you have to use the rolled over data within the next 30 days.

EE

EE’s data rollover is also limited, in that it’s only available on Pay As You Go. Specifically, it’s limited to EE’s £10 and £15 Data Packs. Buy either of them and any unused data will be added to the next pack you buy – as long as you buy the next pack within seven days of the first one expiring.

Data won’t be rolled over to a second month and you only get to roll over data that was part of one of those packs – and only if the next pack you buy as another £10 or £15 Data Pack (though you can switch from a £10 pack one month to a £15 one the next or vice versa and still get your data rolled over).

SMARTY Mobile

Technically SMARTY Mobile doesn’t offer data rollover, but it offers a similar and arguably even more useful service, as it will buy back any data you don’t use each month.

Specifically, it will give you a £1.25 discount off the following month’s price for every 1GB of unused data, and you don’t need to have a full gigabyte left over – it will pay you back for each individual megabyte. It pays you back at the same price the data costs you in the first place, so unless you specifically want to build up a pool of data this could be a great option.

Conclusion

For conventional data rollover, Sky Mobile is clearly the best choice as it doesn’t cost extra or have any real restrictions and it lets you store your data for up to three years.

If your concern is more about avoiding wasting money than actually having a pool of data to call on then Smarty Mobile could be an even better choice, as you essentially only pay for what you use.

Virgin Mobile and iD Mobile are honourable mentions, as they both offer data rollover on a range of plans, but only being able to store your rolled over data for one month makes them rather more restrictive.

All the other options are a lot worse for one reason or another, as you can see above, but can still make for a nice bonus if the network appeals in other ways.

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