Best Family Mobile Plans in the UK 2020: Discount SIM deals and Data Sharing

Let’s have a look at which mobile network operators offer the best family and group deals in the UK in 2020!

best Family mobile plansKeeping track of multiple phone contracts can be a major pain and we understand that, and luckily a number of mobile network operators in the UK understand it too, so they are offering family and group plans that help consolidate multiple bills at a discount.

In this article, we’ll review the mobile networks in the UK, which offer either a family plan, or data sharing alternatives. We’ll also cover a few MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) without family plan options, but have competitive prices and a number of unique perks.

 

BT Mobile

Bt mobile review

Pro’s

  • Savings with each additional SIM purchase.
  • Additional SIMs on 30 day no commitment plans.
  • All accounts can be managed together or separately.

Con’s

  • All members need to be on the same plan.

At Half Cooked, we rate BT Mobile as the best mobile network when it comes to family discounts. BT Mobile’s family deals are straightforward, easy to manage and they are at great value, especially if you’re already a BT Broadband member. Even better if you also have a BT Halo, which will grant you double the data on all plans. 

The only major downside is all family members have to be on the same plan, you are not allowed to mix and match. The initial plan has to be on a SIM only or handset deal that is on at least a 12 month deal. On average you can save upto 20%, however, the more SIMs you add (maximum five SIMs per family plan) and the pricier plans you pick, the more you save.

On top of that, BT mobile is offering some flexibility by letting you add or remove a SIM every month. So, if things aren’t working out or if you are not satisfied with the service for whatever reason, you can simply cancel the additional contracts before the next month.

The network also offers access to over 5 million BT Wi-Fi hotspots and all family deals include access to the BT Sport app.

BT Mobile is powered by EE, the largest and fastest mobile network in the UK. This means BT’s network coverage and internet speeds will match EE’s. If you wish to read an extensive comparison between these two network operators, head on to our BT Mobile vs EE review and see how they stack up across a number of categories.

NetworkMain Contract LengthMax. Number of extra plans
12 months SIM only
24 months phone contracts
1 Main + 4 Extra
Total: 5 SIMs

Check out BT Mobile’s Family Plans

Tesco Mobiletesco mobile review

Pro’s

  • Great perks for each additional contract.
  • Easy to change perks each month (Except money off Tesco Mobile Protect, which you can only get at the start of your contract).

Con’s

  • Less value savings than other deals.

In order to become eligible for Tesco Family Mobile Plans you need at least two Tesco Mobile contracts in the same household. The network also provides some additional flexibility when it comes to handset contracts as you can spread the cost of a new phone over 12, 18, 24, 30 or 36 months. You are also allowed to upgrade or downgrade your plan once every month. Tesco Mobile Family Perks scheme is great as it offers a choice of monthly discounts, Tesco Clubcard points or extra data and minutes. You’re given an option to decide on which of the five perks you want to receive. Don’t worry you can change them every month. The perks are as listed below:

  • Up to 1 GB data.
  • Up to £2 off your bill.
  • Up to £2.25 off Tesco Mobile Protect.
  • Up to 200 Tesco Clubcard points.
  • Up to 500 minutes to any network.
  • Up to 500 Tesco Mobile minutes.
Tesco Mobile is powered by the O2 Network and it’s a great low-cost SIM option. Want to learn more? Discover more about the network as we go in depth in our Tesco Mobile 2020 review.
 
NetworkMain Contract LengthMax. Number of extra plans
Any length
SIM only or phone contracts
1 Main + 4 Extra
Total: 5 SIMs
Find Out More About Tesco Mobile Family Plans
 

Vodafonevodafone review

Pro’s

  • Straight forward 15% discount.
  • Applicable to both phone contracts and SIM-Only deals.

Con’s

  • Most eligible plans are on the expensive side.

On Vodafone, existing customers get a 15% loyalty discount on additional selected plans. This includes SIM only price plans, as well as new handset and tablet deals. Activating Vodafone’s loyalty discount programme is quite easy, as all you have to do is to log in and pick one of the deals in the ‘Offers for you’ section. Once you pick a suitable offer from the list, the discount will be applied automatically on the selected plan.

You can easily use the programme as a family plan as well. The main account is given full control over the additional plans, plus Vodafone’s mobile app gives you tools like spending caps, data monitoring etc. to keep added plans in check. Having everything under one plan will make bills easier to manage. This way there won’t be any bad surprises waiting for you at the end of the month when looking at your bill.

When choosing a mobile network to join, you should never solely focus on one aspect like prices or network coverage etc. Vodafone may be a bit pricey, but the network offers great perks, the most number of inclusive roaming destinations and one of the best reward programmes in the UK. You can read our Vodafone review and find out if it’s the right pick for you or not.

Alternatively, you can check out Vodafone’s deals directly on its official website.
 
NetworkMain Contract LengthMax. Number of extra plans
12 Months SIM only or
24 months phone contracts
1 Main + 9 Extra
Total: 10 SIMs
Check out Vodafone’s Family Deals
 

O2o2 review

Pro’s

  • Family plans can have up to 20 devices.
  • Save up to 40% if you add enough devices.

Con’s

  • O2 is generally pricier.

Customers can get up to 40% off on O2’s family plans. Each additional pay monthly connection to the main account will add a 10% discount. While you are allowed up to 20 devices per family plan, the maximum amount of discount you can get is, as stated above, 40%. You can start using O2’s family plans within three working days after you add an eligible pay monthly tariff to your main account. You can also get a £25 Amazon voucher, if you bring in a family member to O2 via your referral link. O2 will award both you and the family member with the voucher, however, O2 is known to be slow with these.

You can benefit from family plans on O2 Refresh as well, but the discount will only apply to your airtime bills, your phone bills will stay the same. The Family Plan also allows you to get a discount off eligible Pay As You Go Big Bundles.

O2 is the second largest mobile network operator in the UK with over 34 million customers, second only to EE. If you wish to compare the two largest mobile networks in the UK, Half Cooked prepared an extensive comparison.

NetworkMain Contract LengthMax. Number of extra plans
12 Months or longer
SIM only or phone contracts
1 Main + 20 Extra
Total: 21 SIMs
Check out O2’s Family Deals

EEee review

Pro’s

  • Straightforward discounts.
  • Allows you to move extra data between linked accounts.
  • Applicable to both phone contracts and SIM-Only deals.

Con’s

  • Generally, more expensive plans.

The main account holders contract needs to be on a 12 or 24 month deal. Discounts can be applied to additional phone contracts or tablets. Similar to BT Mobile, you can add 4 additional devices.

EE’s approach to family plans is simple and direct; “One account for the whole family”, which is not a unique service by any means but it works. Basically, any additional contracts you add to your account comes at a 10% discount alongside a 1GB data boost. EE gives full control to the main account, which includes adding more price plans or removing them, and moving any extra data between the linked accounts. However, only the main account is allowed to give away data and move it around. The main account holders contract needs to be on at least a 12 or 24 month deal. Discounts can be applied to additional phone contracts or tablets. Similar to BT Mobile, you can add up to 4 additional devices.

To activate EE’s Family Account you’ll need at least two or more eligible plans on the same account and under the same bill payer. You can do this on EE’s website or by downloading and using the ‘My EE’ app. We’d recommend you to use the app, as we find it more user friendly.

EE is the largest mobile network operator in the UK and offers the best 4G network coverage in the country. If you wish to learn more about the network, we’d recommend you read our EE review or alternatively you can check out their available deals by clicking the link below.

NetworkMain Contract LengthMax. Number of extra plans
12 Months or longer
SIM only or phone contracts
1 Main + 4 Extra
Total: 5 SIMs
Check Out EE's Family Plans
 

Threethree review

Pro’s

  • Applicable to SIM-only deals, phone contracts but also tablets & dongles.
  • Big savings as a result of waived upfront costs.
  • Plans generally cheaper than competitors to begin with.

Con’s

  • SIM deal savings are low.
  • Discounts vary between plan & devices.

Three doesn’t offer a family deal like the other networks do, but there are some discounts on additional SIM plans for existing customers. Keep your expectations low though, as most of these deals save you around £1 to £3 a month. However, when you consider how competitive Three’s prices already are, the network’s plans may work out cheaper at standard pricing than other mobile carriers under a family/group discount.

Three also proposes student discounts, we strongly recommend you to check them out if you’re a student or a parent to a student. If you want to learn which other networks also offer student discounts head on to our best student SIM deals in the UK guide!

At Half Cooked, we believe Three is the best all-around network in the UK. If you want to know why we rate this network so highly, you can read our extensive Three review.
 
NetworkMain Contract LengthMax. Number of extra plans
Any length
SIM only or phone contracts
1 Main + 4 Extra
Total: 5 SIMs
Check out Three’s Existing Customer Offers
 

SMARTY

SMARTY family plans

Pro’s

  • Plans already offer great value.
  • Straightforward 10% off all plans.

Con’s

  • No handsets available with SMARTY.

SMARTY is a low-cost virtual mobile network operator, powered by Three. This means their customers get the same network coverage and internet speeds as Three customers. SMARTY offers customers great value with some of the cheapest pricing on the mobile market.

SMARTY recently kicked off its Family/Group plans and it’s as straightforward & simple as it gets. The network offers a 10% discount on each additional SIM added to the main account. Each customer still gets their money back (which, at Half Cooked we consider one of the best data rollover options on the market) if they are running a data discount plan.

SMARTY allows up to 8 SIMs per group, including the group owner.

The low-cost mobile network is also a great option for students due to their low price point and large data plans. We provide a run down of the best student SIM deals available in the UK on the market in our detailed article.

NetworkMain Contract LengthMax. Number of extra plans
Any length
SIM only or phone contracts
1 Main + 7 Extra
Total: 8 SIMs
Check out SMARTY’s Group Plans

Virgin Mobile

virgin mobile family plans

Pro’s

  • Manage additional SIMs from same account.
  • Additional online security.

Con’s

  • Must be a Virgin Media customer.
  • 12-month contracts only.

As long as you have Virgin Media’s broadband or TV at home, you qualify for Virgin Mobile’s new Family Plans. You do need to take out one main phone or SIM only contract at full price first though.

Virgin Mobile’s family plans are decent, but unfortunately they are exclusive to Virgin Media’s broadband or cable customers. Also, the main account has to be on a Virgin Media Pay Monthly SIM on a compatible tariff. You are allowed to add four more plans to your main account. 

Another big let down is, all the additional plans have to be long term commitments with at least 12-month contracts. On family plans, for each pay monthly SIM added to your main account, you will receive a £2 monthly discount. So, if you have four more additional sims linked with this account you will get a total maximum monthly discount of £8. The main account, however, has to pay full price. If you cancel your broadband or cable deal, Virgin Media will withdraw the discounts. You can check Virgin Mobile’s family plans by clicking here.

NetworkMain Contract LengthMax. Number of extra plans
virgin logo12 months
SIM only or phone contracts
1 Main + 4 Extra
Total: 5 SIMs
Check out Virgin Mobile’s Family Deals

You may use the table below to see which types of tariffs are eligible for Virgin Mobile’s family deals.

12 month SIM Only
Freestyle Airtime
Below £9Ineligible
Data Only SIM£9 and aboveEligible
Classic Plans1GB Data and belowIneligible
Classic PlansAbove 1GB dataEligible
30 day SIM OnlyAllIneligible
Oomph BundlesAll
Eligible
PAYGAll
Ineligible

The scheme would be better if it was open to all customers and the plans were on shorter contracts like BT, but overall Virgin’s Family Plans are excellent value for money.

 

Plans with Data Sharing

EEee review

Pro’s

  • Anyone can share data with anybody.
  • You are allowed to add new contacts at any time.

Con’s

  • EE is generally more expensive.
EE’s data gifting is super easy to use. Just head straight to the ‘My EE’ app and then go to Family Usage. From there you can gift data from your main account to other linked plans. You’ll need at least 500MB of data to be able to gift it to others. The gifted data will reset at the end of each month, it won’t carry over.
 
 

O2o2 review

Pro’s

  • Share data with up to 10 people.
  • You can activate this as an existing customer.

Con’s

  • Main account needs to be a device plan, SIM only tariffs won’t work.
With O2’s Sharer Plans customers can share their data with up to 10 other contracts. However, the main account needs to be on O2’s Refresh tariff, which means it has to be a device plan, directly  purchased from O2. Once you have purchased your plan or activated an existing plan, you can share your data with up to 10 linked accounts. The main account must have a minimum of 1GB data for this feature to work.
 
 

SKY Mobile

SKY Mobile

Pro’s

  • Don’t lose out any data.
  • Share with 4 other SKY customers.

Con’s

  • Can’t share current month data.
Perhaps, in terms of data sharing, the most unique offer in the UK comes from Sky Mobile, as the network allows customers to hold onto their unused data for upto three years. When you have leftover data from your monthly plan, it will rollover into the ‘Sky Piggybank’ for further use. If this sounds awesome already, just hold on, because you can also share this data with other plans. The moment you put additional contracts into your main account, all users are allowed to share the rollover data, but keep in mind you can only share the rolled over data, not your regular data allowance.
 
NetworkMain Contract LengthMax. Number of extra plans
Any length
SIM only or phone contracts
1 Main + 4 Extra
Total: 5 SIMs
Check out SKY Mobile’s Family Deals
 

Networks with Competitive Prices

The list below includes other mobile virtual networks (MVNOs) we think are worth considering. While they don’t provide any family plans, these networks have quite competitive prices and they offer a number of other perks & benefits to enjoy.

NetworkWhy should you check them out?
giffgaff‘Goodybags’ offer a unique type of flexibility.
PlusnetGood for low data users. Powered by EE, fastest 4G speeds.
VOXIEndless social media, competitive prices.
iD MobileiD’s prices start at £3.99. Can’t get more competitive!

Which Family Plan comes out on top?

Bt mobile reviewBT Mobile takes the top spot when it comes to family plans, with decent discounts on all additional plans (especially if you’re already a BT Broadband customer), great perks and on top of this, each additional plan is on a 30-day deal, which provides the customers flexibility.

As for data sharing plans, there isn’t much competition to begin with, but EE comes out on top. Data Gifting with EE is straightforward and simple to use.