When you’re a student, the last thing you want to worry about is a big phone bill denting your bank account. Luckily, your student status qualifies you for special discounts from many retailers and phone networks.
If you already have a handset, we’ll highlight 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 go over the student discounts you can claim from all. major UK networks.
There are great SIM deals out there right now that pack loads of cheap data while also bundling other benefits. Find out which plan is right for you here.
If you’re a parent looking for a SIM-only plan for your child, check out the best deals of the month separately here.
If you spend your time glued to your social media feed, you’ll need a SIM plan that can keep up. We recommend the following:
If you are a social media addict, by Voxi plans are by far the best option for you. Its Endless Social Media and Endless Video benefits allow access to a variety of services without consuming data allowances.
Except for video calls, the Vodafone-owned service offers unlimited access to Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Messenger for as little as £10 a month, which includes 15GB of data.
Best plan right now: You can now get 75GB of data for £15 a month, which also includes Voxi’s Endless Video Pass. Endless Video includes unlimited access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, My5 UKTVPlay, TVPlayer and TikTok. We think this offers better value for money and will certainly save you from going over your data limit.
If you don’t mind cashback offers, you can also get Spotify, Amazon Prime or YouTube Premium for free with Vodafone plans. Unlike Voxi’s plans which require you to already have subscriptions to the streaming service, Vodafone’s plans build the cost into the contract itself.
Best plan right now: Get 100GB of data on Vodafone for £8.50 a month (£15 before refund) at Mobiles.co.uk. You will only have to claim every few months by sending your bill to Mobiles through the online account. Check out our complete guide to cashback offers.
O2Plans can be more expensive, but it bundles Disney+ for up to six months. You can also opt for other services instead of Disney+, such as Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music Unlimited, Audible or Calm for up to six months.
Best plan right now: O2’s best value plan offers 120GB for £20 a month (24 month term) with 6 months of Disney+. However, there are also cheaper plans that include 30 GB of data and 10 GB of data.
Also see: The best technology for college and university.
Best student SIM deals with lots of data
If you don’t really spend much time on social media and just want a generous data plan instead, Three often offers some of the most competitive unlimited data deals.
Best plan right now: Right now you can get unlimited data for £11 a month for the first six months (on a 24 month term). You can also get a £100 prepaid Mastercard if you upgrade to Three.
You also get up to £80 if you refer a friend to Three.
Three’s Smarty sub-brand offers 100GB of data for just £12 a month. This includes unlimited tethering if you want to double your mobile data for Wi-Fi. The other advantage of Smarty, unlike Three, is that you can cancel at any time.
What sets Smarty apart from other providers is that its data reduction plans also give you money on your next month’s bill for any unused data at the end of the month.
Best plan right now: Grab 100GB for £12 a month.
The best cheap SIM plans for students
You might not really care about having a big data plan, especially if you spend more time using Wi-Fi. In fact, a few gigabytes a month might be enough to get you by when you’re outside. If that sounds like you, we recommend a few affordable SIM plans:
Tesco Mobile has a range of affordable SIM deals, starting at £7.50 a month for 2GB of data. Tesco’s SIM only plans also allow you to collect extra Clubcard points, where every 150 points adds up to £1.50 in vouchers to spend on groceries and more – perfect for students!
Best plan right now: Get 12GB of data for £11 per month
Lebara Mobile offers some of the most affordable SIM plans on the market with plans starting at £5 a month for 3GB of data, and you can cancel anytime. 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 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, which is double the usual 500MB.
If that’s not enough, you might prefer GiffGaff’s new “golden goodybags”, which offer better value for money when recording a credit or debit card payment – you can currently recover 15GB of data for £10.
Best offer right now: Right now GiffGaff has a new goodybag just for students which offers 16GB of data for £10 – up from 13GB. You’ll need a valid ac.uk email address to sign up.
1pMobile operates somewhat differently than other contract providers. The service runs on EE’s 5G network and, as the name suggests, it only charges 1 pence for your usage per minute, per text or per MB of data with 5G connectivity. Start with a £10 top-up for 10GB of data.
Best phone and contract discounts for college students
EE student discount
EE offers a 20% student discount along with a 500MB safety net every 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 rate, every month.
You can also choose from six months of Apple Music for free. This offer is available to new and existing EE customers.
You will need a Student Beans promo code to redeem the offer.
If you’re an EE customer, just log in, see your upgrade options, and enter your student discount code at checkout. New customers will simply need to choose a phone or SIM card offer and use the student discount code at checkout.
O2 student discount
Like EE, the O2 student program offers you a 20% discount on your package. 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 benefit from the O2 student discount, you will need to log in to Unidays, the Unidays GradLife app or Totum, to obtain 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, log in to UNiDAYS and get a “store code” and text it to 61202.
You can find all the information about O2’s student mobile phone deals here, including how to redeem your discount in store.
Vodafone student discounts
Vodafone’s student discount program gives you 10% off monthly airtime plans, tablet plans and SIM-only plans. If you attend a participating university (there are plenty), you can take advantage of the 10% discount on Vodafone airtime plans, tablet contracts and SIM-only contracts.
After purchasing a Vodafone monthly plan, complete the online discount form to claim the student discount.
Three student discounts
Three cuts to the chase with its student contract offers. You can choose from select handsets, laptops or tablets – including the latest iPad Pro with M1 – or grab unlimited data for £9 a month (24 months). Check out Three’s student plans here.
And while you’re trying to find the best student cell phone deals, be sure to check out our roundup of the best cell phone deals this month. We’ve also separately rounded up the best cheap SIM-only deals of the month.
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