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What’s the best unlimited data SIM deal in February 2017?

Wednesday, February 1st 2017

The best reason to opt for a SIM-only deal is that, by using your current handset, you can save a decent amount of money. This saving can be used on beefing up your data, minutes and text allowance so you can get better use out of your ageing handset.

Although only two providers offer unlimited data, there are other mobile providers that offer a decent amount of data. We show you some of the best deals out there, taking a look at price, package and contract lengths.

1
BT Mobile

BT Mobile

20GB plan with unlimited minutes, texts and BT Wi-fi

  • MinutesUnlimited
  • TextsUnlimited
  • Data20GB
  • Monthly cost£21
  • Contract length12 months

Why this is a good deal

This excellent plan comes with unlimited minutes, texts and 20GB of data. Plus, existing BT customers will get a further £5 discount, taking the price down to just £16 per month. In addition, new customers can claim a £70 gift card for either Amazon or iTunes, making this the top deal for February.

Any downsides?

Although mobile data is capped at 20GB, you do get free unlimited access to over five million BT Wi-fi hotspots across the UK, which should mean you never run out of data.

See Deal →

2
Virgin Mobile

Virgin Media Mobile

20GB plan

  • MinutesUnlimited
  • Texts5000
  • Data20GB
  • Monthly cost£25
  • Contract length30 days

Why this is a good deal

This 4G deal from Virgin deserves to be high the list: 20GB of 4G data for just £25 per month is a pretty appealing prospect, even though it doesn't quite beat the top deal from BT, above. This rolling 30-day bundle from Virgin also comes with 5000 texts and unlimited minutes – and all on a rolling one-month basis so you can cancel at any time.

Any downsides?

Although not an unlimited deal, 20GB should be more than enough for almost everyone – and at this price it's worth serious consideration.

See Deal →

3
Three Mobile

Three

Advanced Plan

  • Minutes200
  • TextsUnlimited
  • DataUnlimited
  • Monthly cost£24 per month
  • Contract length12 months

Why this is a good deal

If it’s unlimited data you’re after, there are plenty of SIM-only deals out there that offer it, but this Advanced Plan from Three is the only truly unlimited mobile SIM deal. It offers good value for money for those who plan on using their phones more for the internet than texts and minutes, although you do get a decent amount of those too.

You can also use up to 30GB of your data as a personal hotspot (tethering) and take advantage of the Feel At Home facility whereby you can use your data allowance abroad at no extra cost.

Any downsides?

Three does not operate a fair usage limit on its unlimited products, but does have a traffic management policy (TrafficSense) that may slow some customers down during the evenings. Other than that, this is by far the best unlimited data deal available on the market.

See Deal →

4
Giffgaff

Giffgaff

Always On £20 goodybag

  • MinutesUnlimited
  • TextsUnlimited
  • DataUnlimited (traffic management)
  • Monthly cost£20
  • Contract length30 days

Why this is a good deal

This SIM offers unlimited minutes and texts. Plus, as with all giffgaff’s SIMs, calling other giffgaff numbers is free. You also have access to unlimited data, although there is a major caveat.

Any downsides?

Although this plan technically comes with unlimited data, in fact you only have 6GB of data allowance at full 4G speed to use per month. Thereafter you will only have 4G speed from midnight to 8am; during the day your speed will be reduced right down to 256kbps, which is almost unuseably slow.

Also, Giffgaff has a rather unusual approach to customer service, and is more community-focused, relying on its members to answer questions rather than an official team of experts.

See Deal →

5
Vodafone Sim Only

Vodafone

25GB SIM

  • MinutesUnlimited minutes
  • TextsUnlimited texts
  • Data25GB
  • Contract length12 months
  • Monthly cost£25

Why this is a good deal

This is Vodafone's premium SIM-only plan and it comes with 25GB of data – that works our at £1 per 1GB. That's plenty of usage to play around with, especially if you like streaming music and video. Plus, those looking for unlimited texts and minutes are well catered for, with Vodafone offering a range of deals and packages that come with unlimited texts.

As a bonus, this deal comes with a 12-month free subscription to Now TV, Spotify or Sky Sports.

Any downsides?

This amount of data is only available on a 12-month contract – the most Vodafone offers on a 30-day contract is 10GB. PLus, this offer ends on 15th March 2017 so get in quickly if you want to snap it up.

See Deal →

How much should I pay?

Prices vary depending on what is unlimited

The price of unlimited SIMs does vary based on a number of factors; principally, on what you get and how long your contract lasts.

What is interesting to note is the price of giffgaff’s SIM-only goodybags, which seem like tremendously good value. This is because of the unique infrastructure of the company, which uses customer forums instead of customer service helplines. This isn’t for everyone, but it does mean cheaper overheads and subsequently cheaper bills for its customers.

What do I need?

Be happy to keep your old handset

As these are SIM-only plans, you’ll need a handset to take advantage of the low prices on offer. Although the idea of retaining your old phone past the end of your contract might come as a bit of an alien concept (especially as these contracts can last up to two years), if you’re happy with what you’ve got, you could save a bit of money by not upgrading.

Unlocking your phone for a new SIM

If you bought your phone and contract from a provider, and are planning on getting a SIM card from a different provider, you will need to get the phone unlocked so it can be used on a different network. Some providers will do this for you for a small fee although it will invalidate the phone’s warranty. 

Conclusion

The deals we’ve looked at here are representative of what’s available on the market at the moment, but it’s certainly worth shopping around to find one that suits your needs perfectly.

Compare SIM-only tariffs →

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