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UK’s Top 13 Mobile Networks and SIM Cards

Discover the top 13 mobile networks and SIM cards in the UK, ranked from best to worst. Whether you're looking for the cheapest options or the best coverage, this guide has you.


We have put together the best networks and SIM cards in the UK, making your life easier. So, if you’re looking for the best SIM card in the UK but clueless about where to begin. Worry no more! This article will detail a list of the thirteen cheapest options for your networking needs, ranking them from best to worst. Hold up! Where can I buy a sim card in the UK? Don’t stress, this is a quick and easy process with several useful options. 

How do I get a sim card in the UK then? The first way is buying a UK sim card online, which is as simple as clicking the links for one of the providers that we list below and navigating their website. The only thing you need to complete this method is an available address in the UK so that they can deliver right to your doorstep!

Or, if you don’t want to pay a delivery fee or you don’t currently have a reliable address in the UK, you can simply opt for a pre-pay for a sim card and get it sent to a nearby supermarket or mobile phone shop. From there you just pick up and leave! Lastly, if you like your network provider traditional and old-school, you can head down to the closest mobile phone shop of your choice and complete the entire process inside. 

So… now that you know the three best avenues for acquiring a provider, let us delve into the depths of the quest for a Nirvana of cheap SIM cards. 

EE

Owned by BT, EE is now the largest mobile phone provider in the UK, indicating its great social proof and reliability. Due to its size, it has a large range of offers and deals. Including contract, sim-only and pay-as-you-go, meaning that this provider is set up to meet any of your needs and preferences. An example of a deal they offer is sim-only £23 a month for 200GB of data. 

A fun side note for all you footy fans: taking specific deals with EE also gives you three months of free access to the BT Sports app and other smart benefits such as Apple Music. This is definitely a great choice!

O2

Another large company offering a wide range of offers for your needs. Its market presence allows them to offer the best and latest smartphones quickly through economies of scale. O2 refresh also splits your monthly bill, so that you never overpay for your contract.

An added benefit is that the Priority app creates exclusive access to free and special deals, as well as concert tickets. Expect to pay £30 monthly for 50GB of data with the above-added benefits. 

Fun fact, being an O2 customer gets you to the front of any queue at the O2 arena. Not bad! 

Vodafone

For you old-timers out there, Vodafone is perfect and has been doing it for 30 years without a hick-up. If you seek dependability and stability, then Vodafone is the perfect shout. Also, those of you that suffer from the travel bug will be glad to know that it offers 75 destinations where you can roam free, including the main western tourist destinations.

Access to this comes from the best and most expensive tariffs. For sim-only, unlimited data with 5G at no extra cost, expect to pay just £25. 

Three 

Chelsea FC fans are throwing limbs across the living room as they cheer for their shirt sponsor! As will you be when you see the data-heavy, light-price deals. A great perk of 3 is that a great number of the deals come with “Go Roam Around the World”, which enables you to call and text people back in the UK from more than 70 countries.

Sim-only you’re looking at £24 per month for unlimited data, with free delivery. If you want a large provider and to save money, Three is probably the best option. 

LycaMobile

In the phone world, LycaMobile is a synonym for simplicity. For sure you won’t get caught up in ridiculous and random packages. It offers short-term plans, unlimited data options, and inclusive international calls. However, you are limited to EU roaming and there is no Wi-Fi-calling, which is problematic for those who live out in the sticks! If you’re not too fussed about the ins and outs of networks and SIM cards, then Lyca is for you. 

GiffGaff

If you’re on a tight budget, Giff Gaff guarantees greatness. Where it doesn’t offer the complexity and range of deals that the big names offer, it does offer very low prices. In particular, their UK sim card Pay-as-you-go deals are some of the best available in terms of pricing. They mostly offer 30-day Sim-only plans. 

The only downside is that there is a lack of customer support, non-account- related issues are shared with other users rather than a help team, which bumps GiffGaff down the list a small bit. £10 for 15GB of data, holding unlimited texts and minutes. 

Lebara Mobile

Lebara is often shifting around in terms of what they provide. They set out as pre-paid calling cards, then a network specialising in international calls, and now they are low-cost sim-only providers. International calls are available to over 40 countries. Expect packages to be a 30-day rolling plan, and to pay £15 per 30 days for 30GB of data. 

VOXI by Vodafone

If you’re still a spritely young person or a successful online influencer, then VOXI is the treasure chest for you. It provides a great deal for those of you who just love to stream data-rich content. This is done by preventing Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and Snapchat from being part of your data allowance, making it the best sim card in the UK for students. 

iD Mobile

Powered by Three networks and owned by Carphone Warehouse, iD Mobile is a sneaky little provider with some of the cheapest deals in the UK. Their partnership with Carphone Warehouse lets customers get into new deals on the latest smartphone technology. £14 a month for 100GB is one of the cheapest paying sim cards in the UK. This includes Wi-Fi calling and data rollover. Also, they offer £5 sim-only deals, which are great for the budget. Truly a hidden gem. 

BT mobile 

BT Mobile is fairly new to the market, offering contract and sim-only deals. If you’re a BT broadband user already then this may be perfect as you’re gifted £5 off per month. BT mobile falls low on the pecking order, so perhaps if you want to work with BT, EE is probably a better solution. £30 a month for 100GB of data (sim-only), which is a pretty bog-standard deal. 

Virgin Mobile

Owned by the infamous billionaire entrepreneur sir Richard Branson, Virgin was the first-ever mobile network operator. It has now been offering its mobile services for 20 years and it holds the perks of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter use without eating into data allowance. So, if you’re a keen online extrovert, Virgin Mobile might be your best choice. £14. a month for 60GB of 5G data. 

Asda Mobile

The reason Asda Mobile drops to the bottom end of this list is that it is a PAYG-only provider, meaning that you can’t get sim-only deals. If that doesn’t ruffle your feathers, then it actually is a decent option if you’re not looking to splash the cash on a fancy deal. One of the cheapest networks and SIM cards in the UK.

Tesco Mobile 

Last but not least. Tesco offers everything, including Sim-only as well as PAYG sim free. Due to the size of Tesco’s supermarket chain, they were able to offer cheaper plans that included 5G. If you shop at Tesco regularly, which, given the statistics, you probably do, then you will benefit greatly as you get Clubcard points that can be spent in-store or on special rewards. 

So, there we have it! The 13 best options for SIM cards and mobile network providers. All the above options are excellent; however, your choice should be based on your subjective needs.

If you’re on a tight budget and looking for the cheapest networks and SIM cards in the UK, then Three or iD Mobile are ideal. If you’re young, then you may want to look at Voxi and Virgin for their streaming and social networking benefits.

Moreover, the three big companies, EE, O2, and Vodafone, are the most popular with the public, and if you’re not too tight on cash, their social proof is enough to guarantee good service from these providers.

Hopefully, you’re a couple of steps closer to your decision after reading this article!

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Alfie King

Alfie King

Alfie King is a writer, freelancer, and entrepreneur. He grew up in London and enjoys writing about business, finance, travel, lifestyle, and politics. He’s a student at the University of Bath and is invested in several different business ventures.

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