If you're on a student budget, you probably don't want to spend loads every month on your phone bill. Thankfully, your student status also makes you eligible for special discounts from a whole host of phone retailers and networks.
If you already have a handset, we'll be highlighting some of the best SIM-only deals for students, and if you're looking to buy a new phone on a contract, we'll also be going through which student discounts you can claim from all the major UK networks.
If you're a parent looking for a SIM-only plan for your child, see the best offers of the month separately here.
Best student SIM-Only deals for streaming and social media
If you spend your time glued to your social media feed, you'll want a SIM plan that can keep up. We'd recommend the following:
If you're a social media buff, Voxi's plans are hands down the best option for you. Its Endless Social Media and Endless Video benefits allow access to a variety of services without eating into data allowances.
Barring video calls, the Vodafone-owned service offers unlimited access to Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Messenger for as low as £10 per month, which includes 15GB of data.
Best plan right now: If you opt for the 20GB plan for £15 per month, you also get unlimited access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, My5 UKTVPlay, TVPlayer, and most recently, TikTok. It's incredible value, and sure to save you from maxing your data limit.
If you don’t mind cashback offers, you can also get free Spotify, Amazon Prime or YouTube Premium with Vodafone plans. Unlike Voxi's plans that require you to already have subscriptions to the streaming service, Vodafone's plans fold the cost into the contract itself.
Best plan right now: Get 100GB of data on Vodafone for £9.50 per month (£16 before cashback) from Mobiles.co.uk. You’ll just need to claim every few months by mailing your bill to Mobiles via the online account. See our full guide to cashback deals.
O2's plans can be pricier, but it bundles Disney+ for up to six months. You can also opt for other services instead of Disney+, such as Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music Unlimited, Audible, or Calm for up to six months.
Best plan right now: O2's best value plan offers 120GB for £20 per month (12-month term).
Best student SIM-only deals with lots of data
If you don't really spend a lot of time on social media and just want a generous data plan instead, Three often has some of the most competitive unlimited data deals.
Best plan right now: Right now, you can get unlimited data for £18 per month over a 24-month term. If you don't mind sticking around for 2 years, you can get the rate reduced to £10 for the first six months. You also get £80 if you refer a friend.
Three's sub-brand Smarty also offers unlimited data but for £20 per month. This includes unrestricted tethering if you wanted to double up your mobile data for Wi-Fi. Smarty's other benefit, unlike Three, is you can cancel at any time.
What sets Smarty apart from the other providers is that its Data Discount Plans also gives you money towards your next month's bill for any unused data at the end of the month.
Best plan right now: Grab unlimited data for £20 per month.
Best cheap SIM plans for students
You may not really care about having a large data plan, especially if you spend more time using Wi-Fi. In fact, a few gigabytes a month might be just enough to get you through when you are outside. If this sounds like you, there are a few affordable SIM plans we'd recommend:
Tesco Mobile has a range of affordable SIM deals, starting at £9 per month for 10GB of data. Tesco's SIM-only plans all you to collect Clubcard Points where every 150 points add up to £1.50 vouchers to spend on groceries and more – it's perfect for students!
Best plan right now: Get 25GB data for £12.50
Lebara Mobile has some of the most affordable SIM plans around with plans starting at £5 per month for 2GB of data, and you can cancel at any time. You also get 100 international minutes to countries outside the EU, making it ideal for international students in the UK – and roaming is free in India and in Europe.
Best plan right now: New customers can pick up 10GB of data for £5 per month
Newcomer 1pMobile operates somewhat differently from other contract providers. The service runs on EE's 5G network and like the name suggests, it only charges 1p for your usage per minute, per text or per MBs of data with 5G connectivity. Start with a £10 top-up which gets you 10GB of data.
Best phone & contract discounts for uni students
EE student discount
EE offers a 20% student discount along with a 500MB safety net each month. That’s half a GB of free data every month just to keep you from going over your data plan, and 20% off your monthly tariff, every month.
You can also choose from six months of Apple Music or three months of BT Sport for free. This deal is available to new and existing EE customers.
You'll need a voucher code from Student Beans to get the offer.
If you're an EE customer you'll just need to log in, see your upgrade options, and enter your student discount code at check out. New customers will need to just pick a phone or SIM deal and use the student discount code at checkout.
O2 student discount
Like EE, O2's student program gives you a 20% discount on your plan. The catch is that the discount only applies to the Airtime plan, which includes your calls, texts and data – not your Device Plan. The latter is the monthly cost of your device (O2’s monthly plans are a total combination of these two bills).
The 20% discount also applies to accessories.
To get the O2 student discount, you'll have to sign into Unidays, the Unidays GradLife app or Totum, to get your discount code. Then buy the new phone specifically on the O2 Refresh tariff and add your discount code. If you forget to add your code, sign in to UNiDAYS and get a 'stores code' and text it to 61202.
You can find all the info on O2's student mobile phone deals here, including how to redeem your discount in-store.
Vodafone student discounts
Vodafone's student discount program gets you 10% off monthly plans. If you attend a participating university, (there are many), you can enjoy the 10% discount on Vodafone airtime plans, tablet contracts, and SIM-only contracts.
Three student discounts
Three is straight to the point with its student contract deals. You can choose from select handsets and tablets, or grab 100GB data for £16 per month (12 months). Check out Three's student plans here.
And while you're trying to find the best student mobile phone deals, don't forget to check out our round-up of the best phone deals this month. We've also separately rounded up the best cheap SIM-only deals of the month.
Tech Advisor Student Deals Finder
You'll find some brilliant phone contract deals for students on our constantly updated student deals website, which we've created in partnership with Student Beans.
Follow the links below to see some of the best phone contract deals we've got on our student deals site:
- 15% off all Samsung smartphones and tablets
- 15% off all Samsung Smart and Gaming monitors
- 15% off Pixel 4a
- 50% off Lebara SIM only Plans