If you’re on a student budget, you probably don’t want to spend loads every month on your phone bill. Thankfully, your student status also 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 what student discounts you can claim from all the major UK networks.
Best student SIM-Only plans for streaming and social media
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 Endless 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 12GB of data. If you opt for the 20GB plan for £15, you also get unlimited access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, My5 UKTVPlay, TVPlayer, and most recently, TikTok. It’s incredible value, and sure to save you from maxing your data limit.
If you don’t mind cashback offers, you can also get free Spotify, Amazon Prime or YouTube Premium with Vodafone plans. Unlike Voxi’s plans that require you to already have subscriptions to the streaming service, Vodafone’s plans fold the cost into the plan itself. Right now, you can pick up 160GB of data on Vodafone for £17 per month (£27 before cashback) from Mobiles.co.uk. You’ll just need to claim every few months by mailing your bill to Mobiles via the online account. See our full guide to cashback deals.
O2‘s plans can be pricier, 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. O2’s best value plan offers 120GB for £20 per month (12-month term).
Also see: The best back-to-school tech for college and university.
Best student SIM plans 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. Right now, it has unlimited data for £20 per month over a 12-month term. If you don’t mind sticking around for 2 years, you can get the rate reduced to £10 for the first six months. You also get £60 if you refer a friend.
Three’s sub-brand Smarty also offers unlimited data but for a lower price of £18 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 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 8GB of data. If you opt for its £12.50 plan for 20GB data, you also get 6 months of Clubcard Plus for free, which gets you 10% off Tesco shops in-store – perfect for students!
Lebara Mobile has some of the most affordable SIM plans around with plans starting at £5 per month for 2GB 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.
GiffGaff offers low-cost data plans in its “goodybags”. Its cheapest plan offers 9GB of data for £10, plus an additional 1GB data from your third month.
Best student discounts on phone contracts
EE student contract 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 or three months of BT Sport 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 contract discount
Like EE, O2’s student programme 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 – though 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 into 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 contract and phone deals
Vodafone’s student discount programme gets you 10% off monthly plans. If you attend a participating university, (of which there are many), you can enjoy the 10% discount on Vodafone monthly plans on tablets, smartphones, or SIM contracts. This is useful if you need a device along with a contract.
After you buy a Vodafone monthly plan, fill out the online discount form to apply for the student discount.
Three student plans
Three is straight to the point with its student contract deals. You can choose from select handsets and tablets, or grab 100GB data for £16 per month (12 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.
Tech Advisor Student Deals Finder
You’ll find some brilliant phone contract deals for students on our constantly updated student deals website, which we’ve created in partnership with Student Beans.
Follow the links below to see some of the best phone contract deals we’ve got on our student deals site:
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