It wouldn’t be a stretch, if we were to say mobile phones have become a necessity in our lives, replacing other devices such as our computers. The more we use our mobile devices, the more data we tend to burn through – especially streaming HD videos & music.
Luckily, most mobile networks in the UK now offer unlimited data plans or other data saving features to help you stay within your data bundle each month.
We’ve been through each of the UK networks & prepared a guide to help you find out which networks offer free data usage on selected mobile applications as well as data free social media & messaging.
If you’re looking for a quick summary, check the table below. Otherwise read on for our full review.
Table of Contents
|Three Go Binge||Sky Mobile Watch|
|Available on tariffs with 12GB data or more.||Available on all plans.|
|Video: Netflix, TV Player |
Audio: Apple Music, Deezer, SoundCloud, Social Media: Snapchat
|Works with all 12 Sky TV Apps.|
|You must have at least some data left.||You must have at least 50MB data left.|
|EE Swappable Benefits||VOXI Data Passes|
|You need to be on a 5G Smart or Smart plan to be eligible.||Can be purchased separately for all plans.|
|Video: BritBox, Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video, Twitch|
Audio: Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and Deezer
|Video: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Life, My5, tvP and UKTV Play
Audio: Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, Deezer, Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, SoundCloud and Napster
|You must have at least some data left. Each Swappable Benefit is also available to purchase as a standalone add-on.||You must have at least some regular data left.|
|VOXI Endless Social Media||Virgin Mobile Data-Free Messaging|
|Available on all plans.||Available on all plans.|
|Apps: Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest||Apps: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter|
|You must have at least some regular data left.||You must have at least some regular data left. Calls and videos are not included.|
Free Data Usage
Three – Go Binge
- Six popular video and audio apps included.
- Also works in 71 other countries.
- Exclusive to plans with 12GB data or more.
- YouTube isn’t supported.
The first mobile network operator in the UK to offer free data usage for streaming audio and video was Three Mobile. We rate the network’s ‘Go Binge’ perk highly as it allows you to use six different applications at no extra data cost. Being able to stream any Netflix content in HD quality can really help save on your monthly data bill. You can also use this feature with TV Player, Apple Music, Deezer and SoundCloud. However, we’d like to remind you that Three offers free data for these services, subscriptions are not included. Go Binge also includes the popular social media app Snapchat.
You can also use Go Binge freely in the 71 inclusive roaming destinations thanks to Three’s ‘Go Roam’ perk.
However, ‘Go Binge’ is exclusive to SIM Only and phone plans with 12GB data or more. This perk won’t work if you completely use up your data.
Sky Mobile – Watch
- Sky TV apps won’t eat up your data.
- Works on all the tariffs.
- Some ads might still consume data.
- You must have a Sky TV subscription.
At Half Cooked, we think Sky Mobile’s ‘Watch’ feature is great and could easily take the top spot in this category, if only it wasn’t exclusive to Sky TV customers. This perk works on all the Sky Mobile tariffs and it allows you to watch Sky TV apps on your handset without eating up your monthly data allowance.
You need at least 50MB of data available in your monthly allowance to use Sky Mobile’s ‘Watch’ feature. Also, it’s worth noting that some ads may still consume your regular data.
If you wish to learn more, read our extensive Sky Mobile review.
EE – Swappable Benefits
- Includes a number of popular apps, including Twitch for gamers.
- Each Swappable Benefit can be purchased as a standalone add-on.
- All benefits come separately. Video, Music etc.
- Either comes at an extra cost or is only available on 5G Smart or Smart plans.
Swappable Benefits are free add-ons offered by EE, provided you’re on a 5G Smart or Smart plan. There are two ways to include them in your plans. If you sign up for a 5G Smart or Smart plan on EE, you’ll be allowed to pick up to three benefits depending on your tariff. The other way is purchasing the Swappable Benefits separately as add-ons. You’re allowed to switch to a different benefit each month.
You can also purchase Apple Music, BritBox and MTV Play as add-ons (these aren’t included as Swappable Benefits). EE offers free trials for all three of them with an option to cancel at any time though.
To learn more about Swappable Benefits and the operator’s other great features, read our extensive EE Review.
VOXI – Video & Music Passes
- Widest selection of streaming apps including Netflix, YouTube & Spotify.
- Endless music and video streaming.
- Both Music Pass and Video Pass come at extra cost.
VOXI is Vodafone’s low-cost virtual mobile network and it has a unique proposition named ‘Endless Social Media’ which we’ll cover in the next section. However, the network also offers a ‘Music Pass’ and a ‘Video Pass’ to its customers. Unfortunately they’re not included in any of the VOXI tariffs and each one must be bought separately.
Since you are paying for the pass, it’s important to confirm if it’s worth it. You may be paying for data that you may not need. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to just pay for your basic plan as opposed to paying extra for the pass. The full list of supported apps can be seen below;
Video: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Life, My5, tvP and UKTV Play.
Audio: Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, Deezer, Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, SoundCloud and Napster.
If you wish to learn more about VOXI, we’d strongly recommend you read our detailed VOXI review.
Free Social Media & Messaging
VOXI – Endless Social Media
- Wide selection of social media apps.
- Endless social media usage.
- Music and video passes needed.
We rate VOXI’s ‘Endless Social Media’ feature as the strongest offer on the market in this category. There isn’t much competition to begin with, but this doesn’t change the fact that it’s an exceptional deal. Social media apps are being used more than ever and providing free data usage for the most popular ones is a great perk.
VOXI’s ‘Endless Social Media’ supports WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter and Pinterest. Viber is no longer available for free.
This feature works even when you tether to other devices or if you’re travelling in one of the 48 inclusive roaming destinations.
Virgin Mobile – Data-Free Messaging
- Unlimited messaging on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp.
- No data limit.
- Voice calls, video calls and video streaming aren’t included.
- Fairly small data savings.
Compared to VOXI, Virgin Mobile’s free social media perk is a step down. The feature only includes WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter, and the free usage only comes into play when you’re using the apps. Any usage through a web browser isn’t free at all. Voice calls, video calls and video streaming are excluded from this deal too.
To learn more about Virgin Mobile and what deals they currently have available, check out our Virgin Mobile Review.
Three – Go Binge
- Benefits are included when roaming.
- Free Snapchat messaging.
- Limited to 12GB or more data plans.
- Only one social media app is supported.
As we mentioned earlier in this article Three Mobile offers a number of music & video streaming services to customers. The carrier’s ‘Go Binge’ scheme also provides free usage to Snapchat. Only plans with 12GB data or more are eligible for ‘Go Binge’. This perk extends to snapchat messaging abroad, which means you can share your holiday snaps without eating into your data allowance.
Half Cooked’s Overall Winner
Free Data Usage Winner
We decided to give the win to Three Mobile in this category, but Sky Mobile’s ‘Watch’ scheme could easily get the win, if it wasn’t exclusive to Sky TV customers. Three’s ‘Go Binge’ scheme is included in most of their tariffs and supports six popular apps. You can also use ‘Go Binge’ in 71 other countries like at home.
Social Media & Messaging Winner
In terms of free social media usage, VOXI is second to none. Neither Three nor Virgin Mobile can touch VOXI in this category. VOXI’s ‘Endless Social Media’ is currently unrivalled.