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.
Top data only SIM deals this week
|Provider||Data Amount||Contract Length||Monthly Costs|
|O2 sim only||5GB data||12 months||£13.00|
- 5GB of 4G data
- 0 minutes
- 100 texts
12 month contract From O2
- £13.00 per month
What is a data-only SIM?
As the name suggests, a data-only SIM gets you an allowance of mobile usage for a monthly charge but doesn't include calls or texts. They're principally intended for tablets, laptops, dongles and MiFi units.
Can I use a data-only SIM card with my tablet or laptop?
You'll certainly be able to use a data-only SIM with a tablet. It's simply a case of inserting it in the SIM tray and you're good to go.
How to find the best data-only SIM deal
CompareMyMobile is here to help you find the best deal. Check out all the SIM deals we've got from a bunch of UK networks on our comparison tool right here:
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.
Cheapest data-only SIMs
In general data SIMs aren't as keenly priced as standard phone SIMS. However, you can do well if you're a light user, with the cheapest data only SIMs generally starting at £5 per month, which will get you a monthly allowance of about 500MB.
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.
Other popular SIM only Plans
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: