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Best family mobile plans: how each UK network compares

Family phone contracts and SIM only

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We compare each network's discounts for joining as a group or family on a SIM only or phone contract and extra features like data sharing. Last updated: 11th June 2024

Advantages and disadvantages

Setting up a family plan has a lot of benefits

Thumbs up and a discount ribbon

Added benefits on top of discounts

Managing all your mobile plans on one account is much simpler than having them all on separate accounts. You can do this by having multiple plans on one mobile network.

Providers love this, as they get multiple customers signing up at once. Some of them even give you discounts on the phone or SIM only deals you add to your existing account, to encourage you to buy multiple plans.

A few networks even reward their customers for setting up a family account by offering handy extra benefits, such as letting customers share data between users on one account.

Each network offers something different with their family plans. So we’ve gone over all the providers and ranked them based on which ones offer the best value and most convenience with their group deals.

Useful link: Compare each network

Family plans have a few downsides as well

Thumbs down and a contract icon

Leaving many contracts will be harder

The reason why networks offer family plans is because they want to keep you as a loyal customer. It’s harder to leave a network if you’ve set up multiple deals with them on your account.

You could be missing out on better value deals on another provider if you’re unable to switch from your current one, which would mean trading off lower prices for the convenience of having your deals on one account.

There are loads of smaller networks with cheaper deals that will give you better value overall than you’d get by setting up a group plan on the bigger networks.

We’ve gone through every network that lets you set up a family plan and we go over the benefits and drawbacks of each. Your choice should come down to what you value the most.

Useful link: Compare each network

UK mobile networks with family plans

1st: SMARTY are the best value choice for a family plan

SMARTY branded save 10% banner

Get money off already low-cost dealsRead full guide

at SMARTY.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign 10% discount on each additional line
Green plus sign Plans are already low-cost in the first place
Green plus sign Manage your deals under one account
Green plus sign Each user can choose their own plan

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Can’t add all your deals at the same time
Red minus sign Each plan has to be bought individually
Red minus sign No phone, tablet or other device contracts

SMARTY are a low-cost provider who piggyback off their owners Three for signal (check coverage here). Their plans are typically low cost and are all sold as 1-month deals with no contracts.

They already offer excellent value on their deals, but on top of that you get a 10% discount on any extra plans you add to your account. And you can add up to 7 extra plans, whether they’re new customers or not.

Each user can choose the deal that suits the amount of data they need, which isn’t something that every network lets you do. Users can then leave or change their plan when they like without affecting others.

If you’re worried about what your kids are able to access online, SMARTY automatically prevent users from viewing 18+ material over data. But you can’t set tighter limits, time restrictions or anything else.

The main downside with SMARTY is that you have to add each plan individually. You can’t just sign them up all at once. But you can now buy them from just one account. And overall, the value SMARTY offer will likely make it worth it.

Useful link: Read SMARTY's full guide to their Group plans

Our ranking:

Main plan has to be:
Full price SIM only

Max extra plans on one account:
7x extra, 8 in total

Joint 2nd: cheap networks that let you have multiple deals on one account

Lebara logoTalkmobile logoSpusu logo

Add multiple SIMs to your account

Talkmobile, Lebara, spusu and 1pMobile are all budget providers that let you add extra plans to your account, so you can have everything under one roof. You won’t receive a discount though.

But these networks already offer excellent value on their SIM only plans. That means discounts aren’t really necessary. And you can individually pick the right size plan for everyone, getting you best value for each.

You still get the benefits of having all your SIMs in one place so you can manage your bills, extra charges and you can take out all your plans at the same time. It’s a nice bit of added convenience.

All these networks automatically block 18+ content from being accessed over data, but don’t offer any extra content restrictions. That’s worth bearing in mind when buying a new plan for your kids.

Useful link: Our guide to the best networks for kids and teenagers

3rd: EE offer discounts and data sharing on group plans

Mobile phones sharing data on EE

30% off added SIM only or usage plansHow to share data

at EE.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Big discounts on extra deals
Green plus sign Save money on SIM only and usage plans
Green plus sign Data sharing between users on the same account

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Expensive deals in the first place

EE have made their family plan scheme even better by now giving you 30% off 12-month and 24-month SIM only contracts added to your existing EE account (it used to be 20%). Or you can get 10% off any device contract.

You can also transfer data from one plan to another on your account. So if one of your kids has used all their data, you can move a bit of data from another plan to theirs (read EE’s full guide here).

All of EE’s monthly plans can be used as family plans. Here are their best current deals:

On most EE plans there’s no way to incur extra data charges as you get unlimited data once you’ve used up your allowance but at much slower speeds. Data gifting is still a good way to keep everyone at full speed.

Parents will be happy to know that 18+ content is blocked by default and EE offer stronger content restrictions for your child’s safety. But you’ll have to set separate blocks for WiFi, as this only applies to mobile data.

And you even get an extra 1GB for each plan you add on EE. But it’s worth noting EE are one of the most expensive networks to begin with, so you should make sure these savings are really worth it overall.

Useful link: EE’s guide to their data gifting

Our ranking:

Main contract has to be:
12-month or longer SIM only or phone contract

Max extra plans on one account:
4 extra, 5 in total

Joint 4th: O2 offer 20% off SIM only and usage contracts

O2 Family plan

Discounts on SIM only and usage dealsSee O2's Family Plan

at O2.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Generous discounts on their plans
Green plus sign Get money off SIM only and usage contracts
Green plus sign Discounts apply to up to 20 added deals!

What we don't like:
Red minus sign You have to apply the discount yourself
Red minus sign Already expensive plans
Red minus sign Complicated to work out savings on phone deals

By joining on any of O2’s 12 or 24-month SIM only deals or phone contracts you’ll be able to start adding plans to your account. O2 give you 20% off any SIM only plan or the usage part of any phone deal.

For phone contracts, that means you get a discount on the mins, texts and data plan part, not on the phone cost itself. But O2 let you add up to 20 extra plans to your account, meaning you can still save a lot overall.

O2 have a handy calculator here to help you figure out how much you could save. But keep in mind you have to apply the discount yourself. They used to offer data gifting, but that’s no longer available on new plans.

And O2 automatically block 18+ content over data and let you set extra restrictions on sites you don’t want your kids to access. That will keep them safe over data, but you’ll need separate restrictions for WiFi.

Useful link: Read Family Plan terms and conditions

Our ranking:
Joint 4th

Discounts/bonuses on:
Extra SIM only plans, phone contracts or tablets

Main contract has to be:
An Phone contract or SIM only

Max extra plans on one account:
20 extra, 21 in total

Joint 4th: Vodafone offer a nice 15% off added plans

Vodafone's discounts on extra plans

Get 15% off extra dealsHow it works

at vodafone.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Get 15% off added lines
Green plus sign Money off usage, SIM only, tablets and dongles

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Expensive deals in the first place
Red minus sign Discount doesn’t apply to all phone contracts

If you join Vodafone on a pay monthly contract (not on their 30-day deals) you can get 15% off any extra long-term pay monthly plans you add to your account.

The main upside to Vodafone’s Family plans is that any contract you add gets discounted (whether a SIM only or device plan on a 12 or 24-month contract). You can add an extra 9 plans if your credit history is good.

You can add any 12-month or 24-month SIM only contracts for a discount. Here’s what we think are there best current deals:

That 15% off sounds like a lot for phone contracts, but for certain models it only discounts your usage plan (read Vodafone’s full guide here). You can also get 15% off select tablets as well.

Your kids will be prevented from accessing adult content automatically on Vodafone. And their Secure Net gives extra virus protection and time limiting options. They offer 3 free months before charging £1 a month.

Adding deals to your account is easy. Just make sure you’re logged in when taking your plan and the discount is applied automatically.You can get huge savings on Vodafone, but this depends on the device you take.

Useful links: 15% off phones | 15% off SIM only plans | 15% off tablets | 15% off dongles

Our ranking:
Joint 4th

Discounts/bonuses on:
Extra phone contracts, SIM only, iPads / tablets, 4G dongles

Main contract has to be:
12-month or longer SIM only or phone contract

Max extra plans on one account:
9 extra, 10 in total

5th: Three offer better deals for their existing customers

Discounts on Three for friends and family

Three users get access to better dealsSee Three's savings

at three.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Three users can get better SIM, phone and tablet plans
Green plus sign Deals are generally good value already

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Not all devices are discounted
Red minus sign Some “discounts” are only £1 off a month

Three offer some of the cheapest deals of the main four UK networks, but you can also get some even better value deals if you’re an existing Three customer to add to your account.

If you’re already on a pay monthly Three contract, you can usually get around £3 off the monthly cost of 24-month phone contracts added to your account. Nothing huge, but it’s still something.

Or you can take one of their exclusive SIM only plans for existing Three users. They usually discount their unlimited data plan by about £5 a month, while other deals offer £2 or only £1 a month off the usual cost.

Existing Three customers can add extra plans for small discounts. Here are what we rate as their best SIM only plans:

You can add these extra deals when you join or you can do it later. We like that Three offer discounts on top of their already decently priced plans, but the lack of a standard discount makes it overly complicated.

If you’re worried about your children’s safety online then you won’t like that Three only block 18+ content, with no extra options to give you peace of mind. This is something the other main networks do offer.

Useful link: Three’s parental controls and online safety features

Our ranking:

Main contract has to be:
Any length SIM only contract or phone contract

Max extra plans on one account:
4 extra, 5 in total

6th: Tesco offer Family Perks on added plans

Tesco Mobile Family Perks

Each user chooses their own PerkSee available Perks

at tescomobile.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Get Perks on any Tesco Mobile plan
Green plus sign Each user can choose a Perk that suits them

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Complicated rules around Perk sizes
Red minus sign Discounts are actually quite small

When you add multiple plans to your account on Tesco Mobile you and the users on your account will get access to Family Perks. These are small benefits, such as extra data or minutes or discounts on each plan.

The perks aren’t exactly eye opening. But you can save up to £2 off every deal you add to your account, and earn extra Clubcard points that you can then use to get money off your Tesco shopping or Mobile bill.

Here are what we believe are the best value SIM only deals currently on Tesco Mobile:

How much you get out of the Perk depends on your plan’s size. On Tesco’s biggest plans you can get 1GB extra, while on their smallest plans you’ll get 250MB. On smaller plans these extras can feel underwhelming.

But you get the flexibility to change the perk you get each month, which most users will appreciate. If you find your current perk isn’t giving you much, you can change it later as you want.

And you can set restrictions on the sorts of things your kids can access online over data. That’s fantastic for keeping your kids safe online, which is something smaller networks don’t tend to offer.

Useful links: Family Perks FAQs | Terms and conditions

Our ranking:

Discounts/bonuses on:
Extra phone contracts, SIM only plans

Main contract has to be:
Phone or SIM only

Max extra plans on one account:
4x extra, 5 in total

7th: Sky Mobile let you share your rolled over data

Sharer plans on Sky Mobile

Gift banked up data to other usersRead Sky's full guide

at sky.com
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Your unused data doesn’t get wasted
Green plus sign Share unused data with 4 users

What we don't like:
Red minus sign No direct discounts on added plans

Sky Mobile are the best network for data rollover with their “Piggybank” scheme, letting you keep the data you didn’t use up at the end of each month for up to 3 years! This comes on all of Sky’s plans.

Any data you don’t use up in one month will go into your “Piggybank” where it’ll be stored for up to 3 years! You can withdraw this data whenever you like in 1GB increments.

These are what we see as the best SIM only deals currently available from Sky Mobile:

This benefit is even better if you’re in a group rather than just using it alone. The account holder can gift data from the shared Piggybank to other users on the account (as long as there’s at least 1GB left).

There’s no way to share your active data, you can only gift rolled-over data. But it’s still a nice way of preventing your kids from incurring extra charges on data if you’ve got some rolled-over data banked up.

Finally, while Sky Mobile block 18+ content over data by default, there are no time-limiting or stricter control options for smaller children like you get on some other networks. That’s another disadvantage.

Useful link: Sky Mobile’s guide to staying safe online

Last: The rest of the UK networks!

giffgaff logoTalkmobile logoVOXI logo

Can’t add extra plans on these networks

Finally, we come to the networks that don’t let you add extra plans to your account at all! On VOXI, iD Mobile and giffgaff it is one account per plan without exceptions.

One thing to note is that these networks tend to offer lower cost deals than the bigger providers. So the lack of discounts isn’t too much of a downside, but considering SMARTY’s scheme it’s not really an excuse either.

All of these networks block 18+ content automatically over data, so your kids can stay safe online. But the fact you can’t manage their plans in one account means it’s harder for parents to stay on top of things.

If SIM only deals are all you’re looking for, you can use our comparison tool below to find the best sorts of deals you can get on multiple SIMs:

Useful link: Compare SIM only deals

Networks ranked by other features