A data-only SIM is what will get you online when you're on the go. They're designed for use in devices that can connect to the internet but can't make calls - like tablets, dongles, and mobile Wi-Fi gadgets. You can even use some of them in your mobile phone, if you never make calls or send texts.
To find a data-only SIM deal that works for you, use our special SIM comparison table. You can get comparing right away - or read on to find out how to pick the best one for your device.
Best buy deals
- 2GB of 4G data
- 0 minutes
- 0 texts
1 month contract From Vodafone
- £11.00 per month
- 5GB of 4G data
- 0 minutes
- 0 texts
24 month contract From EE Mobile
- £12.00 per month
- 5GB of 4G data
- 0 minutes
- 100 texts
12 month contract From O2
- £14.00 per month
How to find the best data-only SIM deal
Enter all the criteria for what you need from your SIM, and make sure '0 minutes' is selected in the allowance section of the sidebar. This'll show you all the deals with a data allowance but no call time. Then it's just a case of finding one you like, and clicking through to the provider to sign up.
Need help choosing a deal? Remember to think about the following…
Data allowance - The amount of data you can get on a SIM ranges pretty widely, from 500MB per month to a whopping 40GB and above. How much you need will depend on how much you use your tablet, and what you use it for. See below for a bit more guidance on this.
Contract length - If you know you'll be using your tablet a lot and you're willing to commit long term, you can often get lower monthly prices on 12-month data SIMs. Rolling one-month contracts, on the other hand, are better for flexibility - you can change or cancel it whenever you want.
Network - Use networks' coverage checkers to check which ones will give you the best signal in all the areas you want to use your tablet. Some even have extra benefits, like special offers for mobile users.
SIM size - Look in your device or check its user manual to find out what size SIM card you need. Standard iPads need a micro SIM; an iPad Air, Mini, or Pro will need a nano SIM; and other manufacturers' tablets can vary across their ranges. Grab a 'combi SIM' or 'Trio SIM' if you're not sure - they can be resized to fit whatever card slot your device has.
Price - To find the cheapest priced data SIMs, use the toggle at the top of the comparison table to sort the deals by cost. Or, enter your budget into the 'cost details' filter at the side, and you'll see everything available that you can afford.
Which networks offer data-only SIMs?
A good variety of networks have deals on data-only SIMs - use our comparison tool to see which ones offer plans that fit what you're looking for.
Look out for networks with additional benefits that would suit you, too. Giffgaff is nice and cheap, for instance; EE has the UK's widest 4G coverage; and O2 gives you free access to its Wi-Fi hotspots, a very useful extra for using your tablet out and about.
You can get data SIM deals from networks such as:
How much data do I need?
The ideal monthly data allowance will all depend on how you use your device.
If you only plan on using mobile internet a little bit, or as a backup when you can't connect to Wi-Fi, a 1GB allowance should be more than enough.
Browsing the web, social media, email, and using most apps uses around 10-25MB data per hour. If you're doing this every single day, you'll likely need a good 3GB or so.
Streaming, meanwhile, is a huge data suck. Watching TV and films can eat up to 2GB per hour, depending on the quality of the video - so you'll need a bigger allowance if you plan on watching Netflix on your tablet.
You can't get unlimited data on a data-only SIM right now, unfortunately - though you can get some nice high allowances. 40GB per month should be plenty for most of us.
If you're really not sure how much data you need, grab a 30-day deal on an allowance that looks about right. That way, you can always change it up or down if it turns out to be too much or too little.
For a bit more info, see our full guide:
3G vs 4G data-only SIMs
Some data SIMs give you 4G data, while others just offer 3G.
3G is the previous generation of mobile internet. Plans with 3G are far, far cheaper than those with the more modern 4G, and coverage is much wider. However, 3G internet is slow. Even in an area where you have good signal, tasks like video streaming will take a while to buffer.
4G, on the other hand, is newer and better. Downloads are about five times faster, meaning web pages, pictures, and videos load nice and quickly. The main downside is that 4G plans are quite a bit more expensive - and coverage isn't as wide.
You could also trade in your current smartphone and put the money towards one of the newer models. It's a quick and easy process with CompareMyMobile.com. Depending on what model you have, and how intact it is, you’ll be surprised at what you can get.
Pay-as-you-go SIM-only deals
If a long-term mobile contract doesn't appeal, you can always go for a Pay As You Go (PAYG) SIM deal - a great option if you want to keep your old handset.
Best handset deals
If you're looking to upgrade your phone, we have a huge number of handset deals to compare. Whatever kind of plan you're looking for, we're here to help you find it.