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

If you live in a large household, you know the pain of paying for multiple phone contracts. Luckily, a number of operators are offering family plans that help consolidate multiple bills at a discount.

Feb 18th, 2020

When it comes to family plans, there are two options – discounted plans and shared data plans. A discount SIM deal or phone contract requires you to sign up for a single mobile contract. After this, any additional SIMs that you add come at a discounted price.

The other option is a shared data plan – these pool data together which then can be shared. With this type of plan, each time an individual uses data above their allowance, instead of incurring out of bundle charges, this comes out of a shared pool. This is a great option if there is low and heavy data users in the household, which can be balanced off.

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
  • Phone contracts are excluded

We rank BT first for discounted family plans. The plans are really straightforward with a discount applied to each additional plan that you purchase.

Customers need to first purchase a 12 month SIM only or 24 month phone contract. After this any additional SIM purchased comes at a discount, we calculate this to be about 20% with some serious savings available with higher data packages. 

On top of this, each additional SIM is also on a 30 day SIM only contract, which means if it doesn’t work for you or your family you aren’t tied into a long term deal and can simply cancel before the next month.

However, one thing to note is that everyone has to join on the same plan i.e. everyone has to have a 20GB plan – you can’t mix and match. Also, BT Mobile offer a customer rewards card on purchase of these SIM’s which is a great additional perk for signing up.

BT Mobile is a relatively new network and run’s on EE’s network, we look at BT mobile vs EE and see how the networks stack up across a number of categories.

Beyond their family plans BT Mobile offers a number of other interesting perks such as access to the BT Sport App & BT Mobile underground Wi-Fi.

Visit BT for the latest Family Plan Discount

Tesco Mobiletesco mobile review

Pro’s

  • Great perks for each additional contract
  • Easy to change perks each month

Con’s

  • Complications around taking advantage of perks
  • Less value savings than other deals
 
Tesco Mobile offer flexibility around their family deal pricing. Tesco Mobile customers can make a choice out of additional minutes/data, discount off your bill or Clubcard points.
 
Each month you decide upon the perk you will receive for the month, if you’re looking for some extra data one month but the following month you want some additional Clubcard points, Tesco gives you the flexibility to make that choice.
 
Tesco Mobile is a great low-cost SIM option – we go into depth in Tesco Mobile 2020 review, if you want to find out more 
 

Vodafonevodafone review

Pro’s

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

Con’s

  • Expensive pricing
With Vodafone, after signing up for a 12 month SIM only or 24 month phone contract, customers can purchase any additional plans at a 15% discount. This discount applies to SIM’s phone contracts, tablets & dongles. Vodafone’s existing customer offers are simple and provide great value.
 
Learn more about Vodafone by checking out our detailed Vodafone review where we talk through a number of perks they have on offer including free access to a number of premium subscriptions such as Amazon Prime Video with some of their Red Plans.
 
Alternatively, you can check out Vodafone’s deal directly on their site.
 
 

O2o2 review

Pro’s

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

Con’s

  • O2 generally more premium pricing
  • Discount only applies to airtime and not device.

The O2 family discount plan works differently to the other networks.

O2 refresh means that your device and airtime in your contract are treated separately. You can get up to 40% discount with an O2 deal (First device is 10% off, then 20% & so on).

However, this discount only applies to the airtime element of the contract and not on the device. Despite this, you could still be earning serious discounts, especially with up to 20 devices allowed per family plan.

O2 is one of the 4 major network operators in the UK. We put O2 head to head in our O2 vs EE comparison, check out our article to see how O2 stacks up against the premium EE network.

See O2’s Family Plan and Deals

EEee review

Pro’s

  • Straightforward discounts
  • Applicable to both phone contracts and SIM-Only deals

Con’s

  • Generally, more expensive plans
EE’s family plan provides up to a 10% discount off each additional plan that you add to your primary contract. In addition to the discount customers get an additional 1GB of data for each contract added.
 
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.
 
Learn more about the operator with the best network coverage in the UK by reading our detailed EE review.
 
Or alternatively – check out their deals available direct on their site.
 
 

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
Generally, Three has cheaper deals than O2, EE, and Vodafone. Discounts with Three’s deals can be large or small – on some SIM only deals the discount can be as low as £1 per month but with some devices they waive any upfront costs which can lead to some serious savings.
 
Find out why Half Cooked rates Three as the best all-around network in the market.
 
Useful Info: Three 2020 Review
 
 

Other Networks

Other mobile networks worth considering include: While these networks do not offer any family plans, the contract deals are offered at competitive prices and there are a number of other benefits to enjoy. 

SMARTY

SMARTY family plans

Pro’s

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

Con’s

  • No handsets available with SMARTY

SMARTY Mobile is a sub brand owned by and operating on Three. SMARTY offer customers great value with some of the cheapest pricing on the mobile market.

With their family plan, SMARTY keep it simple with a 10% discount on each additional SIM added. Each customer still gets their money back discount (Which we consider the best data rollover offer on the market) if they have a data discount plan.

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

SMARTY is also a great option for students due to their low price point, high data plans. We provide a run down of the best student SIM deals available in the UK on the market in our detailed article.

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

Virgin media broadband & TV customers now qualify for new family mobile plans. To get access to a family plan, customers first need to purchase a full price SIM only or phone contract.

Each customer can add 4 additional plans to their account, these will have to be 12 month SIM only plans & they’re available with a £2 per month discount which can quickly add up to some serious savings.

An additional benefit available with Virgin Mobiles family plan is access to free F-Secure Safe which provides benefits such as parental control through restricting internet access.

 

Data Sharing Plans

EEee review

Pro’s

  • Data gifting is straightforward
  • Freedom to add contracts at any point

Con’s

  • EE is generally more expensive
EE Data Gifting scheme is the simplest and easiest to use of all the data-sharing plans available. It gives individuals the opportunity to share data between plans which can be on the same account or different accounts. If someone in the family is running low on data, instead of incurring nasty out of bundle charges, data can simply be transferred over.

O2o2 review

Pro’s

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

Con’s

  • Main plan needs to be a device plan
O2’s sharer plans give customers the option of sharing their data with up to 10 other contracts. The main plan needs to be an O2 refresh phone purchased from O2. Once you have purchased your plan or activated an existing plan, you can share your data with up to 10 individuals. The only other requirement is that the primary contract should have a minimum of 1GB for data sharing.
 
 

SKY Mobilesky mobile review

Pro’s

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

Con’s

  • Can’t share current month data
The biggest advantage of Sky Mobile is that it allows you to roll over unused data each month. And you don’t just lose it at the end of the following month, customers hold onto their data for up to 3 years.
 
The moment you add additional contracts to your primary contract, all users can share the rolled over data.
 
Customers aren’t able to share their normal data allowance, but only any rolled over data.
This data goes into a Sky Piggybank for communal dipping.
 
 

Vodafonevodafone review

Pro’s

  • Easy to offload extra data
  • Complete control over data usage

Con’s

  • Not available for new customers
  • Difficult to manage
Vodafone has a shared family plan called Red+, but it’s no longer available for new customers. With only existing customers able to take advantage of this perk, they will need to activate it by contacting Vodafone.
 
Those who took out a contract between 2016 and 2017 can have their plans converted into Red+ provided that their existing plan meets the 1GB data threshold. The primary account holder can then share data with up to 9 users. 
 
 
 

Which Family Plan comes out on top?

BT Mobile takes the top spot when it comes to discounted family plans. With a straightforward 20% discount on all additional plans. On top of this, each additional plan is on a 30-day deal, which provides the customer flexibility.
 
For data sharing plans, EE comes out on top. Data Gifting with EE is straight forward and simple to use. There’s also no restriction to who you can share this data with, anyone else on an EE plan can receive and send data.