Pay as you go mobile broadband deals

Compare the best PAYG mobile broadband deals from leading UK providers including Three and Vodafone. June 2024 deals start from just £17 per month.

4 deals available at
Sort by
Filter results Done Reset
  • Speed
  • Usage
  • Monthly cost
  • Offers
  • Providers
  • Contract length
We found 4 deals for
4 deals available at
Can't find what you're looking for?
Sort by
0 Saved deals
You have deals saved

Here are your saved deals.

Vodafone 4GB Dongle or Mobile Wi-Fi Plan Vodafone
order by phone
£17.00 per month
New customers onlyConnect up to 32 devices5G ready
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • 4GBMonthly usage
  • £49.00 One-off cost
  • 1 Month Contract
  • No phone line
£17.00 per month
Get Deal
order by phone
Vodafone 30GB Dongle or Mobile Wi-Fi Plan Vodafone
order by phone
£24.00 per month
New customers onlyConnect up to 32 devices5G ready
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • 30GBMonthly usage
  • £49.00 One-off cost
  • 1 Month Contract
  • No phone line
£24.00 per month
Get Deal
order by phone
Three 5G Home Broadband Three
£25.00 per month
New customers only30-day money back guaranteeNext working day delivery if purchased before 8pmNo landline or engineer needed
  • 5Gdownload speed
  • Unlimited Monthly usage
  • Zero One-off cost
  • 1 Month Contract
  • No phone line
£25.00 per month
Get Deal
Vodafone Unlimited Max Dongle or Mobile Wi-Fi Plan Vodafone
order by phone
£37.00 per month
New customers onlyConnect up to 32 devices5G ready
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • Unlimited Monthly usage
  • £49.00 One-off cost
  • 1 Month Contract
  • No phone line
£37.00 per month
Get Deal
order by phone
Not ready for a new broadband deal? Use our switching reminder and we'll email you when your deal is coming to an end so you don't lose out!
4
Most popular deals
Our most popular deals are sorted by how many people click and purchase a deal. Any featured or recommended deals are not included and will be clearly marked.
Average monthly cost
We take the total cost of the contract including all fees and divide it by the contract length giving you an average cost for comparison.
Close
Oops, we can't find any information about your postcode

This could be because your property is a new build or your postcode has recently changed.

Prices last checked and updated March 24th, 2023. Cable.co.uk may earn a commission when you purchase via links on our site. The price you pay will always be equal to or often cheaper than the price you would pay by going direct to the provider. Broadband speeds are dependent on where you live and you may receive slower speeds than listed. Broadband is subject to availability. Please refer to individual broadband provider's terms and conditions before signing up. All prices are inclusive of VAT except business prices.

What is PAYG mobile broadband?

Simply put, it is a dongle or MiFi router device you will need to buy outright and upfront, with a SIM slot, into which you will put a data-only, mobile broadband SIM. Unlike contract mobile broadband where you will pay a flat monthly fee for a set amount of usage, PAYG mobile broadband involves buying and owning the dongle or MiFi device, sticking a special SIM in it and adding top-up (money) onto the SIM. As you use data, it will eat directly away at your top-up.

The advantage should be obvious to anyone who needs mobile broadband, but only needs it very rarely, or as a last-ditch backup when you can't get access to wifi, or leverage the data allowance of their mobile phone. There's more than one way to get mobile broadband on pay-as-you-go, though. Several ways, in fact. They are:

  • PAYG MiFi device – A MiFi device is, in essence, a small portable router that emits a 4G or 5G signal to which you can connect several devices if you wish
  • PAYG Dongle – A dongle is a small internet ‘stick’ that plugs into any USB port – usually on a laptop – and, once loaded with a compatible data SIM, will get your laptop online. It can also be used as a hotspot to get other devices online.
  • Data only SIMsData-only SIMs are designed specifically for tablets and laptops but do not offer any form of calling or texting allowance. You can also use your tablet SIM as a hotspot as well
  • Mobile hotspots/tethering – Similarly to data-only SIMs, your mobile phone can be used as a mobile broadband hotspot in itself. With so many unlimited data deals now available for mobile phones, you may decide that you have no need of paying for an additional pay-as-you-go mobile broadband solution

Do I need PAYG mobile broadband?

Specifically when it comes to PAYG mobile broadband, there are a few different scenarios where it may come in handy. Most of them, though, sit in the context of it forming some sort of backup or failsafe. After all, you can use your mobile phone as a mobile broadband hotspot in most cases. The need for PAYG mobile broadband in addition should be relatively rare.

That's also where the PAYG element is useful of course. A rarely used fallback service is not something you are going to want to be paying a flat monthly fee for. Those who might want PAYG mobile broadband will fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • You travel for work – If you're up and down the country all week every week, mobile coverage on your existing mobile network may be spotty. Having a PAYG mobile broadband dongle or MiFi device as backup, signed up to a different network to your phone, will have you covered nine times out of ten where signal is poor
  • No other options – This is going to be rare, but it is possible that your existing phone data isn't enough or lacks the coverage to ensure you stay online wherever you are, and that your credit rating means you can't get a pay monthly mobile broadband deal
  • You only need to use it once in a while – As mentioned previously, PAYG mobile broadband really should be viewed as backup rather than your primary means to get online when you're out and about. You should only need to use it once in a blue moon

Mobile broadband coverage and data speeds

As things stand, you'll only get PAYG mobile broadband from three of the UK's four network providers: O2, Vodafone and Three. (EE does not offer PAYG mobile broadband data as such, although it does offer 30-day and 90-day preloaded data-only SIMs.) There are many other providers of phones and SIMs in the UK, of course, but they do not run on their own networks, instead they piggyback on one of these four.

These network providers (rather than the many virtual network providers) tend to offer a far wider range of services than anyone else. That's why when it comes to something as specific as PAYG mobile broadband, you will only find it available with these four. See our mobile phone coverage guide for more info.

Which providers offer PAYG mobile broadband?

As outlined above, only O2, EE, Vodafone and Three offer preloaded data SIMs that you can use for mobile broadband and choose to top up when you want. Remember also, that for PAYG mobile broadband you will have to buy the device, either a dongle or MiFi router, outright, before putting a PAYG mobile data SIM into it. Depending on what level of functionality you need, this may cost you between £10 and £100.

  • Vodafone – offers a mobile hotspot MiFi device, a laptop dongle and also data-only SIMs. Both the hotspot and the dongle are available to buy outright with a preloaded PAYG data SIM, or you can choose to bolt on a contract plan.
  • Three – offers a single MiFi device, which is only available on contract, although one-month contracts are an option.
  • O2 – offers both pre-loaded data SIMs for use in mobile broadband devices, tablets and dongles, as well as free PAYG SIMs that you can then top up with data whenever you need it
  • EE – offers a choice of 30-day and 90-day, data-only SIMs, preloaded with data that can be used in any mobile broadband device, but it doesn’t offer pay-as-you-go data only.

PAYG mobile broadband versus contract mobile broadband

The differences between PAYG mobile broadband and contract mobile broadband have little to do with the functionality. Both will get you online when you're out and about. It's the means of getting there and the reasons you may have for choosing one or the other that set them apart.

  • PAYG is better for occasional use – If you're on a contracted mobile broadband plan you're going to be paying regular monthly installments for a fixed amount of monthly data allowance. This is great if you use your mobile broadband reliably each month, but not so great if you only use mobile broadband as an emergency backup for when all else fails
  • With PAYG you have to buy the device – Though you may want to save money by choosing not to pay monthly or tie yourself into a contract when choosing PAYG mobile broadband, it is worth bearing in mind that you will have to buy the device outright, which could make that saving redundant in part or in whole
  • PAYG means carefully managing top-up – There's a fire-and-forget aspect to signing up to a contract mobile broadband deal and sticking within your monthly data allowance, which you don’t get with PAYG mobile broadband. Instead you'll have to always ensure you have top-up when you need it. Top-up on PAYG mobile broadband has a long shelf life, though – usually 12 months

Frequently asked questions

Can you get pay-as-you-go mobile broadband?

Yes. But you'll have to buy the dongle or MiFi router device from the provider up front, just as you would with a PAYG mobile SIM if you didn't already have a mobile phone. PAYG mobile broadband deals are only available directly from the four UK network providers: Three, O2, EE and Vodafone.

Is PAYG mobile broadband expensive?

In cases where you were comparing like-for-like data usage with a contract mobile broadband deal, yes. It is. You get less data for your money. However, if your aim is only to use your mobile broadband once in a blue moon, a fallback in case of emergencies for example, you're going to be paying substantially less for a PAYG mobile broadband deal across the average year.

Who offers PAYG mobile broadband?

Only three of the UK's four physical mobile network providers offer mobile broadband on a truly pay-as-you-go basis. They are Three, Vodafone and O2.

Does PAYG mobile broadband offer fast download speeds?

The speeds you will get from a specific provider will be the same 4G/5G speeds you should expect were you to take out a mobile or SIM deal with that same provider.

1