When you’re a student, the last thing you want to be worrying about is a hefty phone bill making a dent in your bank account. Thankfully, being in uni makes you eligible for special discounts from a whole host of phone retailers and networks.
If you already have a handset, we’ll be highlighting some of the best SIM-only deals for students, and if you’re looking to buy a new phone on a contract, we’ll also be going through which student discounts you can claim from all the major UK networks.
There are currently some great SIM deals that pack loads of data at low prices while bundling in other perks. Find out which plan is best for you right here.
If you’re a parent looking for a SIM-only plan for your child, see the best offers of the month separately here.
If you spend your time glued to your social media feed, you’ll want a SIM plan that can keep up. We’d recommend the following:
If you’re a social media buff, Voxi’s plans are hands down the best option for you. Its Endless Social Media and Unlimited Video benefits allow access to a variety of services without eating into data allowances.
Barring video calls, the Vodafone-owned service offers unlimited access to Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Messenger for as low as £10 per month, which includes 30GB of data this month (double the amount that is usually available).
Best plan right now: You can now get 60GB of data for £15 per month, which also includes Voxi’s Unlimited Video pass. This includes unlimited access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, My5 UKTVPlay, TVPlayer, and TikTok. This also includes a new Unlimited Music pass, with free access to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, TIDAL, Napster and Primordial Radio.
We think this offers better value for the price, and it’s sure to save you from maxing your data limit.
If you don’t mind locking in for 24 months, you can also get free Spotify, Amazon Prime or YouTube Premium with Vodafone plans. Unlike Voxi’s plans which require you to already have subscriptions to the streaming service, Vodafone’s plans fold the cost into the contract itself.
Best plan right now: Get 60GB of data and an entertainment pass on Vodafone for £25 per month.
O2‘s plan bundles Apple Music and either Disney+, Amazon Music Unlimited or Audible for up to three months.
Best plan right now: O2’s best value plan offers 75GB for £9 per month for the first three months, and then £18 thereafter (24-month term). This comes with three months of Disney+, Amazon Prime, Amazon Music Unlimited or Audible. There are plans with more data available as well.
Also see: The best tech for college and university.
Best student SIM-only deals with lots of data
If you don’t really spend a lot of time on social media and just want a generous data plan instead, Three often has some of the most competitive unlimited data deals.
Best plan right now: Right now, students can get unlimited data for £9.50 per month for the first six months (over a 24-month term). You also get up to £100 if you refer a friend to Three.
Three’s sub-brand Smarty is offering unlimited data for just £20 per month. This includes unrestricted tethering if you wanted to double up your mobile data for Wi-Fi. Smarty’s other benefit, unlike Three, is you can cancel at any time.
What sets Smarty apart from the other providers is that its Data Discount Plans also gives you money towards your next month’s bill for any unused data at the end of the month.
Best plan right now: Grab unlimited data for £20 per month.
Best cheap SIM plans for students
You may not really care about having a large data plan, especially if you spend more time using Wi-Fi. In fact, a few gigabytes a month might be just enough to get you through when you are outside. If this sounds like you, there are a few affordable SIM plans we’d recommend:
Tesco Mobile has a range of affordable SIM deals, starting at £7.50 per month for 2GB of data. Tesco’s SIM-only plans allow you to collect extra Clubcard Points too, where every 150 points add up to £1.50 vouchers to spend on groceries and more – it’s perfect for students!
Best plan right now: Get 30GB data for £12 per month with a Clubcard
Lebara Mobile has some of the most affordable SIM plans around with plans starting at £5 per month for 3GB of data, and you can cancel at any time. You also get 100 international minutes to countries outside the EU, making it ideal for international students in the UK – and roaming is free in India and in Europe.
Best plan right now: Get 3GB of data for £5 per month
GiffGaff offers low-cost data plans in its “goodybags”. Its cheapest plan offers 1GB of data for £6, doubled from the usual 500MB.
If that’s not enough, you may prefer GiffGaff’s newest “golden goodybags”, which offer greater value for money when you save a credit or debit card payment – right now you can pick up 20GB of data for £10.
Best deal right now: Right now GiffGaff has a new goodybag just for students that offers 20GB of data for £10, plus £5 bonus credit. You’ll need a valid ac.uk email address to sign up.
1pMobile operates somewhat differently from other contract providers. The service runs on EE’s 5G network and, as the name suggests, it only charges 1p for your usage per minute, per text or per MBs of data with 5G connectivity. Start with a £10 top-up for 10GB of data.
Best phone & contract discounts for uni students
EE student discount
EE offers a 20% student discount along with a 500MB safety net each month. That’s half a GB of free data every month just to keep you from going over your data plan, and 20% off your monthly tariff, every month.
You can also choose from six months of Apple Music for free. This deal is available to new and existing EE customers.
You’ll need a voucher code from Student Beans to get the offer.
If you’re an EE customer you’ll just need to log in, see your upgrade options, and enter your student discount code at check out. New customers will need to just pick a phone or SIM deal and use the student discount code at checkout.
O2 student discount
Like EE, O2’s student program gives you a 20% discount on your plan. The catch is that the discount only applies to the Airtime plan, which includes your calls, texts and data – not your Device Plan. The latter is the monthly cost of your device (O2’s monthly plans are a total combination of these two bills).
The 20% discount also applies to accessories.
To get the O2 student discount, you’ll have to sign into Unidays, the Unidays GradLife app or Totum, to get your discount code. Then buy the new phone specifically on the O2 Refresh tariff and add your discount code. If you forget to add your code, sign in to UNiDAYS and get a ‘stores code’ and text it to 61202.
You can find all the info on O2’s student mobile phone deals here, including how to redeem your discount in-store.
Vodafone student discounts
Vodafone’s student discount program gets you 10% off monthly airtime plans, tablet plans and SIM-only plans. If you attend a participating university, (there are many), you can enjoy the 10% discount on Vodafone airtime plans, tablet contracts, and SIM-only contracts.
After you buy a Vodafone monthly plan, fill out the online discount form to apply for the student discount.
Three student discounts
Three is straight to the point with its student contract deals. You can choose from select handsets, laptops or tablets – including the latest iPad Pro with M1 – or grab unlimited data for £9.50 per month (24 months). Check out Three’s student plans here.
And while you’re trying to find the best student mobile phone deals, don’t forget to check out our round-up of the best phone deals this month. We’ve also separately rounded up the best cheap SIM-only deals of the month.