5G SIM only deals

Compare UK 5G SIM only deals

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What are 5G SIM only deals?

A 5G SIM only deal is a type of mobile phone contract that gives you access to significantly faster speeds than 4G. You can keep the handset you already have – you simply get a 5G SIM card to use in your phone that gives you a monthly allowance of calls, texts and data.

5G is the fifth generation of mobile internet connection and is a step up from 4G, offering quicker download and upload speeds and all-round greater reliability.

The important thing to bear in mind if you sign up to a 5G SIM only deal is that you'll need to have a 5G-enabled phone and live in an area with a 5G signal to benefit. If you don’t, you’ll still be operating on 4G or 3G as before.

If you already have a phone you’re happy with, or you’ve found one to buy outright at a great price, a 5G SIM-only deal could work out cheaper than paying for a standard pay monthly contract.

How does a 5G SIM card work?

5G SIMs work the same way as any other SIM card. Simply insert the card into the SIM tray in your phone and away you go. SIMs store important information such as your phone number, contacts and network authorisation data.

The main difference you’ll notice moving from a 4G SIM to 5G is that it’s much faster and has lower latency (the amount of time it takes for data to travel from your phone to the internet and back). According to Ofcom, download speeds are more than four times higher on 5G, averaging 129.9 Mbps (megabits per second) compared with 29.5 Mbps over 4G.

Faster speeds mean you should be able to do everything faster, from loading web pages and making video calls to downloading movies and streaming live sport on the go.

Some networks also offer 5G SIM only plans as an e-SIM. This is a small chip already embedded in your handset, so there’s no physical SIM to insert.

If you have a 5G phone, its e-SIM will support 5G regardless of which network you’re on, but you’ll need a 5G plan for this to work.

What type of 5G SIM only plans can I get?

You have a variety of options when it comes to paying for an allowance of calls, texts and data. Types of 5G SIM only plans you can choose from include: 
  • 12 and 24-month contracts – you can benefit from cheap 5G SIM deals and incentives, but you’re tied into a contract for a set length of time.
  • Rolling monthly contracts – these renew every 30 days, giving you the flexibility to cancel or switch your plan each month. However, these plans are often more expensive than longer-term 5G SIM only plans.
  • Data-only contracts – these come with a data allowance but no minutes or texts. They’re mainly for people who need 5G data for tablets and mobile broadband devices but who don’t make calls.
  • Pay as you go (PAYG) – you’re not locked into a contract with a PAYG SIM only deal. You can either top up your 5G SIM with credit or buy a bundle of minutes, texts and data. 
  • e-SIM cards – you can have multiple mobile networks and numbers stored on a single 5G e-SIM, for example one for personal, another for business. However, not all phones have e-SIMs and not all networks support them.

Which networks offer 5G SIM only deals?

All the major mobile phone providers in the UK offer 5G SIM-only plans.


O2 offers a wide range of 5G SIM only plans, including some with unlimited data. Plans also come with popular O2 extras, including access to the O2 Priority rewards scheme for exclusive discounts, freebies and pre-sale gig tickets. Plus, O2 doesn’t charge extra for EU roaming.


Vodafone offers three types of unlimited plan that give you different download speeds depending on how much streaming and gaming you do. Vodafone 5G SIM only deals also include access to the VeryMe customer rewards scheme, with weekly offers, discounts and freebies. Depending on the SIM you choose, you can also get inclusive roaming in 51 European or 83 worldwide destinations.


As the first provider to launch 5G in the UK in 2019, EE is known for its ultrafast network and wide-ranging 5G cover. Some of EE’s 5G SIM only plans come with unlimited data, and some have inclusive extras, which let you choose up tothree benefits that you keep for the duration of your contract. These include subscriptions to Netflix, Apple Music or TNT Sport.


Three’s SIM only plans are all 5G-ready at no extra cost, with unlimited calls and texts. They also give you access to the Three+ rewards app, which includes discounts, offers and freebies from brands including Cineworld and Uber Eats, plus pre-sale tickets to festivals. Some plans include a Paramount+ subscription in your package, as well as roaming passes valid in more than 71 destinations worldwide.

Other networks

Most smaller providers that piggyback off the UK’s main networks also offer 5G SIMs.

These include:

  • Giffgaff
  • iD Mobile
  • Lebara
  • Lyca
  • Sky Mobile
  • Tesco Mobile
  • VOXI

How do I know if I have 5G in my area?

Most major towns and cities in the UK now have 5G coverage, with 85% of premises being able to access it from at least one network. But 5G is still in the process of being rolled out, so not everywhere has it just yet, particularly remote and rural areas.

The easiest way to find out if you can access 5G where you live is to enter your postcode into your network provider's coverage checker:

  • EE 5G postcode checker
  • O2 5G postcode checker
  • Vodafone 5G postcode checker
  • Three 5G postcode checker
  • Giffgaff 5G postcode checker
  • Sky Mobile 5G postcode checker
  • VOXI 5G postcode checker

How do I know if my SIM is 5G?

Most SIM cards are set up to work with multiple generations of mobile network technology, including 5G.

But if you want to check, the most obvious way to do this is by looking for a 5G symbol in the status bar at the top of your phone’s screen where the network signal appears. You’ll need to be disconnected from Wi-Fi for this to work though.

If you’re still unsure about whether your SIM is 5G-enabled, give your network a call.

How do I know if my phone is 5G ready?

If you’re looking to upgrade to a 5G SIM only deal, it should be easy to check if your phone supports 5G. The steps are slightly different for Android and Apple phones.

Check 5G compatibility on Android

  • Go to Settings on your device
  • Select the Network menu (or Connections on Samsung phones)
  • Tap the SIM & Network option
  • You’ll see a header named Preferred Network, with a list of all the networks your phone supports
  • If 5G is on this list, your phone is 5G-enabled.
  • Check 5G compatibility on iPhone

    • Go to Settings on your device
    • Tap the Cellular option, then Cellular Data Options and Mobile Data
    • Tap on the Voice & Data option. Your phone’s supported networks will be visible.
    • If you see 5G is on the list, your phone is 5G-enabled.

Can I convert my 4G SIM to 5G?

You can’t convert a 4G SIM to 5G as it can only connect to 4G and earlier generation networks. But if you want to upgrade to 5G, you can take out a new plan without changing your phone.

Upgrading to 5G is easier if you’re out of contract or on pay as you go. You’ll just need to choose a new 5G-ready SIM plan that meets your needs. It can either be with your current network or a different provider if you’ve found they offer a more competitive deal.

Your network will send you a new 5G SIM to replace your 4G card. Remember, you’ll need a 5G-enabled phone to take advantage of the faster speeds. If you’re currently on a long-term contract, you may have to pay a cancellation fee if you want to quit your deal early.

How do I activate a 5G SIM card?

Activating your new 5G SIM card should be a straightforward process, but it can vary depending on the network you’ve chosen.

In most cases, it will involve inserting the SIM card into your phone and following the activation instructions outlined by your network provider.

Once your new 5G SIM is activated, you can start experiencing the lightning-quick speeds and improved connectivity offered by 5G technology.

How much is a 5G SIM card?

5G SIMs are available at a range of price points, but the most basic plans start from as little as £5 a month.

Networks known for offering low-price 5G SIMs include Lebara, Lyca, SMARTY and iD Mobile. If you’re just looking for a no-frills contract without much data, these can be well worth considering.

These days, 5G SIMs generally aren’t more expensive than equivalent 4G ones because they’re now so readily available.

How to get the best SIM only 5G deal?

While price is important when comparing SIMs, it shouldn’t be your only consideration. Think about what you want included in your package and what’s important to you, including:

  • Data allowance – do you need a plan with high or unlimited data? Bear in mind you might end up using more data on 5G than you do at the moment, as you'll be able to stream in higher quality and browse faster.
  • Roaming – If you travel abroad a lot, you might want a package that includes free roaming. Not all networks offer this, while others let you roam on 5G in a number of countries.
  • Perks and rewards – these are specific to each network, so you’ll need to see what appeals to you the most. For example, some plans come with a subscription to an entertainment service of your choice, while others have freebies, discounts and competitions.

It’s worth comparing deals across all networks to find the best 5G SIM only deal for you.