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Unlimited streaming & social media data: the UK's best schemes

Free data for social media and streaming

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We rank the UK mobile networks offering free data for streaming or using social media as much as you like, to find which is best. Last updated: 30th March 2023

Free streaming data and social media explained

A few networks give you unlimited data to do certain things

A taxi meter

Imagine turning off the taxi meter

Most networks give you unlimited mins and texts nowadays, but data is still mostly limited. That means you might go over your allowance if your plan is too small or end up paying more for a larger plan than you actually need.

But some UK mobile networks want to help ease their customer’s minds by having certain apps or activities not eat into their monthly allowance. The industry term for this is “zero-rating” (charging nothing for it).

There are only a few networks that do this. And each of these have a different scheme that affects your data usage differently. Further down, we’ve ranked and explained each scheme to see which is best.

Some provide video at zero rate, some provide social media at zero rate. It’s up to you which is more important:

Streaming video and music | Social media and messaging apps

Free video and music streaming data schemes

Free streaming data can save you the most data

Music and video streaming

Video and audio streaming eats data fast

Video streaming is one of the fastest ways to eat through your monthly allowance of data (Netflix gets through 1GB per hour for standard definition and 3GB for HD for example).

And audio streaming can also eat up lots of data per month. Streaming music on Spotify for an hour uses roughly 70MB, which could add up quickly over a month (but this does depend on audio quality and provider).

Knowing this, you might be anxious to cut down your data use as low as possible, or invest in a large or unlimited data plan just so you don’t have to think about it.

With the networks below you won’t have to do either of those.

Joint 1st: Sky offer unlimited data to stream their TV apps

Sky Mobile Watch banner

Stream Sky TV without eating your dataRead the benefits

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Stream Sky’s TV apps without using up data
Green plus sign Included on every contract
Green plus sign Even comes on their cheapest plan

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Adverts use up data on certain channels
Red minus sign Only works for Sky TV customers
Red minus sign Only covers Sky TV apps

Our favourite of all free data streaming schemes is Sky Mobile’s Watch benefit, which comes on all their plans, even their very smallest, cheapest deals (other networks below only offer similar on more-premium deals).

With your SIM only or phone contract you can stream any of these 12 Sky TV apps without eating into your monthly data allowance (includes Sky Go, Sky Cinema and more).

Streaming video for an hour could usually use up around 1GB - 2GB of data, which would eat up your data very quickly. But with Sky you can stream as long as you like, care-free. No more long, boring journeys.

There’s a few hurdles however. You need a subscription to Sky channels through Sky or Virgin to watch anything other than news, on some channels ads will come out of your allowance and you need at least 50MB left over for it to work.

Useful link: Full Watch details and terms and conditions

Our ranking:

Get free streaming data with:
All phone contracts, All SIM only plans

Must have some regular data left
Need subscription to Sky channels to get most out of it

Joint 1st: VOXI include Unlimited Video on most plans

VOXI Endless Video banner

Covers Netflix, Youtube and moreSee all apps

at VOXI.co.uk
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Lots of popular streaming apps covered
Green plus sign Included on most deals
Green plus sign Tether to larger devices too

What we don't like:
Red minus sign A few streaming apps missing
Red minus sign Audio streaming not included
Red minus sign Their cheapest plan doesn’t include it

VOXI are a sub-brand of Vodafone and offer good value 1-month SIM only deals (read our review here). Their main selling point is their Unlimited Social Media data, but they also offer data-free video streaming on most deals.

All the deals we list below let you stream YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix (and these other apps) without having to worry about your data usage.

You get VOXI’s Unlimited Video benefit on these SIM only deals:

It’s not like they’ve hiked up the prices for this feature, it’s a genuine freebie. And you can tether to devices with larger screens without using up your data (but this won’t work for TVs or games consoles).

But there are some restrictions. This benefit doesn’t work while roaming abroad. And you have to have some data leftover in the first place for it to work. Other than that it’s a genuinely impressive data saving scheme.

Useful link: Full terms and conditions

Our ranking:
Joint 1st

Get streaming data with:
SIM only plans (‘Unlimited Video’ plans)
All phone contracts (‘Unlimited Video’ plans)

2nd: EE offer a few ways to get unlimited streaming data

EE entertainment subscriptions and streaming data

Video Passes offered as a Smart BenefitSmart Benefit guide

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

What we like:
Green plus sign Free trials to Apple services
Green plus sign Stream on data without limits
Green plus sign Free music streaming benefit as an option

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Trials are time-limited
Red minus sign Subscriptions become paid once free trial is over
Red minus sign Free trials only to Apple services

On any of EE’s pay monthly deals you get free trials to four Apple services (Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+). Two of these (Apple Music and News+) let you stream them without eating up your data.

You can start these trials at any time, but they only last up to 6 months. Once the trials are over you’ll start paying each month for the subscriptions until you cancel them.

To keep getting data-free streaming you can pay per month for a Video Data Pass or get it included on EE’s Smart plans. These are premium contracts that let you pick from a range of Smart Benefits.

You can choose a Video Pass as your Smart Benefit with any of these plans:

Their Video Data Pass covers an impressive number of apps including Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more. Or you can take a Music Data Pass if you prefer, which lets you stream music without using up data.

We think their free trials are just a way of getting customers used to using up lots of data so that they’ll take Video Data Pass. You’ll pay a lot to join EE, but if you don’t mind that they’re a decent choice.

Useful link: How to get EE entertainment offers

Our ranking:

Get free streaming data with:
Phone contracts, SIM only plans

Must have some regular data left

These networks no longer offer free data for streaming

Vodafone logoThree logo

New customers won’t get access

Finally we’ll go over the networks that used to offer some kind of free streaming data benefits but scrapped these for new customers. Both Vodafone and Three used to have similar schemes to the networks above.

Three had one of the best free streaming data benefits called “Go Binge” that let you stream on six different apps without eating into your allowance. This was included on plans with 12GB of data or more.

Vodafone’s scheme was different. You could take a video or audio pass to stream more apps without eating your data than any other network let you. But you had to pay for these separately, they weren’t inclusive.

You had to take the subscriptions for any entertainment services you wanted to use separately on both networks as well. Overall, Three had the much stronger scheme of the two but you don’t get it any more.

However, both these networks offer unlimited data deals. Three sometimes have some really competitive deals on unlimited data. Check the dropdown below for the best ones:

These are the best current unlimited data deals on Vodafone and Three:

Useful link: Three’s full guide to Go Binge

Our ranking:
Joint Last

Must have some regular data left

Unlimited social media and messaging

A few networks offer free social media data

Unlimited social media data

Social media is light on data usage

Some networks also write-off the data you use for social media or social messaging apps. Some offer this alongside unlimited data streaming as well.

This isn’t going to save you as much as data free video/audio streaming. But if you use social media on the go quite often then this can help you save a bit of data and potentially switch to a smaller, cheaper plan.

We’ll now go over every network that includes this and rank them based on their advantages and disadvantages.

1st: VOXI's Unlimited Social Media covers the most apps

Endless social media data

Get it on even their smallest planHow it works

at VOXI.co.uk
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Works with loads of social media apps
Green plus sign Use social media as much as you like

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Audio and video calls aren’t covered
Red minus sign Doesn’t work while you’re abroad

For unlimited social media data, VOXI are by far the best. Their Unlimited Social Media scheme lets you keep up with your friends without eating into your data.

You can use Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook Messenger without it eating into your data even on VOXI’s cheapest plan.

You get genuinely unlimited data on these apps. VOXI don’t show you how much data you’ve saved, but you can see your app usage on your phone. This benefit lets you take a smaller plan than you might otherwise get.

There are a couple of drawbacks. You will need some data leftover for this to work (this is for net neutrality reasons) and you won’t get free data on video/audio calling. And it also doesn’t work when roaming.

Useful links: See all VOXI benefits | Compare VOXI’s deals

Our ranking:

Get free social media with:
SIM only plans
Phone contracts

Must have some regular data left

2nd: Virgin offer free social media messaging on all plans

Unlimited WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter

Four apps covered by the benefitFull details

at virginmedia.com
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Messages won’t come out of your data allowance
Green plus sign Combines nicely with other benefits

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Only a handful of apps covered
Red minus sign Data savings are small

Virgin Mobile’s free data perk for social media isn’t quite as good as VOXI’s. You’ll save a little bit, but really not that much. It’s just a nice-to-have feature.

Their scheme gives you unlimited messages, pictures, tweets and videos on Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Bear in mind you only benefit if you use these social media apps, you won’t save any data if you use your browser. And voice and video calls and live streaming aren’t covered (read full details here).

One really good thing is that it’s offered on all of Virgin’s SIM only and phone contracts, both of which are very competitively priced. And it complements other features like data rollover nicely.

Useful link: Learn how it works at virginmedia.com

Our ranking:

Get free social media with:
Phone contracts, SIM only plans

Social media apps you can use data-free:
WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter

Must have some regular data left, voice calls and video streaming within apps not included.

Last: Three and Vodafone used to have schemes in place

Three logoVodafone logo

Not available for new customers

Much like with their video benefits, both Vodafone and Three used to offer ways of getting free social media data. But neither offer anything like this for new customers.

Three used to include free data usage for Snapchat as part of their Go Binge benefit. While it was a small benefit, it could help save a bit of data on top of the massive savings with their data free streaming.

Vodafone used to have social passes that let you Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter without eating into your allowance. But this is something you had to pay for separately, it wasn’t inclusive.

If you want anything similar to this now on these days then both networks do offer unlimited data deals. These are great for putting your mind completely at ease about your data usage.

Here are the best value unlimited data plans on Vodafone and Three:

Useful link: Three's guide to unlimited Snapchat

Our ranking:
Joint Last

Got free streaming data with:
Selected phone contracts, Selected SIM only plans
Added as an extra on Vodafone

Must have some regular data left

Networks ranked by other features