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Discounts for NHS staff on mobile contracts: each network's offers

Phone and SIM only NHS discounts

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

We rank the NHS staff discounts on EE, Vodafone, O2, Three and other networks, and compare savings on SIM only deals and phone contracts. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 3rd December 2020.

Where NHS discounts are available

Year round NHS staff discounts offered by only three networks

Vodafone logoVodafone logoEE logo

Only Vodafone, O2 and EE have specific schemes

It is unfortunate that when looking across UK networks, there aren’t many that offer discounts on mobile contracts for NHS staff. In this article, we rank the networks which belong to the very few that actually do.

It’s always worth checking that there aren’t just better deals available elsewhere before signing up to your new mobile contract. These might be deals that aren’t specifically meant for NHS staff but are open to the general public.

Networks don’t usually let you combine the NHS discount with other promotions that they have on offer. And it might cost you more than the market’s best available offer when taking your NHS discount off a plan's normal price.

Keep reading to see our comparison of the discounts available just for NHS staff. We’ll also consider whether other deals are better value.

Useful links: See EE scheme | See Vodafone scheme | See O2 scheme

The UK mobile networks that have the best offers for NHS staff

1st place: EE have the best NHS discount

EE emergency staff discount

20% off for up to 5 people on EE pay monthlyView EE offer

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

What we like:
Green plus sign Unlimited data offer
Green plus sign Straightforward 20% off eligible plans
Green plus sign Share with 4 relatives or friends
Green plus sign Applies to SIM only, handset and tablet plans

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Can't be used on 5G plans
Red minus sign No combining with other discounts
Red minus sign Doesn't work on PAYG or Flex

From now until January 2021, you can register to receive a free unlimited data allowance if you've got an NHS email address. This applies to existing EE customers as well as new ones joining.

You can get this offer on any pay monthly phone plan (phone contract or a SIM only for a phone). However, it doesn’t apply to any of EE's mobile broadband or tablet deals. It can also be combined with EE's standard discount for NHS workers:

You’ll get a 20% discount off the regular price of most phone contracts, SIM only plans, tablet and mobile broadband deals - making it the most generous scheme of any of the networks on this page.

Family members and friends can benefit too. NHS staff are able to apply the discount on up to four additional plans for family or friends. But only if you're not already benefiting from existing Multi Plan Saving or Friends & Family discounts.

This means that you and your four best mates all needing new phone plans, get a straightforward 20% off each deal which can work out like basically getting one free.

These SIM plans from EE are our pick of what's available to the general public. Make sure to compare these with what you can get through the NHS discount scheme:

To view the EE plans which are currently eligible for the emergency service staff discount, you first have to register online with a valid work email or employee ID.

To make sure that you are actually saving any money, we highly recommend that you compare the discounted deal against all plans available in the UK. This is because EE are usually among the more expensive providers.

If you think that EE is definitely the best network for your location and you’ve checked their coverage to make sure, we recommend that you also check prices for Virgin, Plusnet and BT Mobile who all use EE's 4G and 3G signal.

Useful link: How to get EE's NHS discount

Our ranking:
1st

Discount on:
Selected SIM only, tablet and handset plans

How many plans?
Up to 5 total

Easy to redeem?
Simple online registration with an NHS email

2nd: Vodafone’s NHS discount scheme is next best

Vodafone NHS discount scheme

NHS staff save on SIM only and phone contractsSee full details

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

What we like:
Green plus sign Discount on SIMs, tablets and phones
Green plus sign Easy online registration
Green plus sign Share with a relative or friend

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Membership fee
Red minus sign Expensive plans

Vodafone, like EE, are generally among the most expensive networks, but they have some decent headline discounts for NHS employees.

As well as being on the expensive side, you'll also need to factor in a one-off £10 membership fee per contract when you compare Vodafone's offer with other UK networks.

These SIM deals from Vodafone are our favourites from what's currently available to new customers:

Vodafone’s ‘Advantage NHS scheme’ gives you 15% off a pay monthly SIM only plan or 15% off a contract phone. You also get to choose a friend or a family member who can get an additional contract, allowing them to benefit from the same savings.

You can claim your discount entirely online - making it is relatively straightforward:

Green one Buy your phone or SIM only via the regular Vodafone.co.uk website for full price

Green one Within 30 days, fill in this online discount claim form (you’ll need your NHS email address)

Green one Green one Verify your claim by following the link sent to your NHS email address

If you think that Vodafone is definitely the best network for your location and you’ve checked their coverage to make sure, we recommend that you also check VOXI's prices as they use the same network. They also have flexible rolling contracts and unlimited social media data.

Useful link: How to get Vodafone's NHS discount

Our ranking:
2nd

Discount on:
SIM only, tablet and handset plans

How many plans?
Up to 2 total

Easy to redeem?
Simple online registration with an NHS email

3rd: O2’s NHS staff discounts are on phones only

O2 Open employee perks

Just the airtime portion of the plan is discountedView the options

at o2.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign No membership fee
Green plus sign Direct discount from a major network

What we don't like:
Red minus sign No discount on SIM only
Red minus sign Difficult to calculate actual savings

O2’s employee discount scheme called ‘Open’ provides NHS staff with a 25% saving on the airtime part of their mobile phone plans (not SIM only). To see how the saving is applied, it It’s worth understanding how O2’s phone contracts are structured:

Your monthly O2 Refresh bill is made up of two parts. You’ll make one payment for the cost of your handset (total cost of the device, divided into 24 months) and another for the cost of your airtime (your minutes, texts and data).

As the 25% NHS discount only applies to the airtime part, it doesn’t actually give you a full 25% off your total monthly cost. So if your regular bill is [£10 phone + £10 airtime=£20], your monthly bill will actually become [£10 phone + £7.50 airtime=£17.50].

Plus it only applies on plans with 3GB or above - 1GB plans only get 15% off.

The process of claiming the discount is also pretty straightforward:

Green one Buy your phone via the regular O2.co.uk website for full price

Green two Use your My O2 login details to sign into O2 Open with the NHS employer code NHS01 (you’ll need your NHS email address)

Green three Green three Within 28 days of the start of your contract, verify your claim by following the link sent to your NHS email address. Make sure to log in again to O2 Open and add your discount before the deadline.

If you’re happy with O2's network coverage, it is worth comparing prices with Sky Mobile, giffgaff and Tesco Mobile. They're likely to be cheaper and you'll get the same coverage.

Useful links: O2’s own scheme info page | O2 Open scheme FAQs | Terms and conditions

Our ranking:
3rd

Discount on:
Airtime part of handset plans only

How many plans?
Just one

Easy to redeem?
Fairly simple online process

4th: BT Mobile’s unlimited data offer for NHS staff

BT Mobile NHS unlimited data

Free unlimited upgrade on any planView the deal

at bt.com
(opens in new window)

As a thank you, BT Mobile launched a special promotion for NHS staff in May 2020, offering to upgrade any mobile or SIM only plan to unlimited data during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The deal is still valid as of November 2020 and they haven’t set an end date to their unlimited data offer, saying that it is valid until further notice.

If you're an existing BT Mobile customer you can register for the benefit via a simple online form. New customers have to commit to at least 12 months in order to join, which is one of the reasons we've put them in 5th place.

These SIM deals from BT Mobile are our favourites from what's currently available to their broadband customers:

But, they do have some competitively priced options for their broadband customers where the temporary data boost would just sweeten the deal.

We didn’t see any huge pitfalls when reading the full terms and conditions. But the Unlimited data Add-On only works in the UK. It will stop working if you go abroad and will only revert back to normal once you return.

Useful link: Full details on BT's NHS offer

Joint last place: all other UK networks

UK networks with no NHS discount

No long-term schemes on these networks

The only networks that offer direct, specific and year round discounts for NHS employees are EE, Vodafone and O2. But we’d like to point out that these are traditionally three of the most expensive mobile providers to join. Other deals will likely still work out to be better value.

NHS discounts on mobile contracts are also offered by third-party schemes such as the Blue Light Card, healthservicediscounts.com and nhsstaffbenefits.co.uk.

But, from our experience, those deals aren’t necessarily better than the offers available to the general public which can be seen in our deal finder below.

We are constantly checking every promotion running across all networks on phones and SIM only contracts. Click on the link below to see our overview of these.

And remember, just because they have a named scheme for NHS staff, it doesn’t mean that they offer the best discounts. So, before rushing off to sign a contract with EE, O2 or Vodafone, we think it’s definitely worth checking these deals first.

Also take a look at our comparison tool below, showing all SIM only plans available today as well as any offers on them.

Useful link: See latest special offers from all providers in our guide

SIM only contracts

All SIM only plans available

Here's a look at the whole UK market for SIM only deals:

SIM card and magnifying glass
Deal options >
Mins, texts and data >
Data speed (4G or 5G) >
Max contract length >

Close options

Minutes

0+

Texts

0+

Data

0MB+

Done

Minimum data speed

Any
4G
5G
Done

Maximum contract length

Any
1 month
12 months
Done

Close filters

Choose which networks you'd consider:

Three logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
Honest Mobile logo
ID logo
Lebara logo
O2 logo
Plusnet Mobile logo
Sky logo
SMARTY logo
Talkmobile logo
Tesco logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo

Phone contracts

All phone plans available

Here's a look at the whole UK market for phone contracts:

SIM card and magnifying glass

Choose a manufacturer

Which make of phone do you want?

Find a plan for your phone

Choose what you want from your deal

Deal options >
Mins, texts and data >
Data speed (3G or 4G) >
Max contract length >
Max upfront cost >

Close options

Minutes

0+

Texts

0+

Data

0MB+

Done

Maximum contract length

Any
12 months
24 months
Done

Upfront cost

Any upfront cost

Done

Close filters

Choose which networks you'd consider:

Three logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
ID logo
O2 logo
Sky logo
Tesco logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo