Well, it has happened again. Just like at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK finds itself stuck in a country wide lockdown. And in a bid to make life slightly easier, a host of phone networks are offering select benefits for this time.
Depending on which network you're with, these benefits will come in different forms. Almost all are offering free access to the NHS website, some are giving out unlimited minutes to select groups and some, unfortunately, have remained the same.
So what exactly is your network offering right now? We've broken down all of the available networks and their new features below so you can see how your phone contracts or SIM only plans might have changed.
The benefits from the main networks:
EE: (opens in new tab)
As the most popular UK network, EE is likely going to be the one most people are interested in. As we enter a new lockdown EE is offering: free calls to 101 (non-emergency police services), no data usage when using NHS online, free online courses to help you work from home and boosted security for EE business customers. And just like in the first lockdown, EE is extending its unlimited data offer for NHS workers until June 2021. That, as it sounds, allows NHS to upgrade for free to an unlimited plan for a temporary period.
O2 (opens in new tab):
Anyone on O2 can get onto the NHS website without using up data and is promising to keep its network as reliable as possible during this time. You can also access a wide range of other websites without using data including finacial advice, mental health support, Age UK and more (a full list (opens in new tab) can be found on the O2 website).
Three (opens in new tab):
If you're on Three, using NHS websites doesn't use up data. Three has also promised to keep you connected even if you can't pay your bills. Contact 333 from your Three phone to discuss this with Three. Finally, schools, trusts and local authorities can request mobile data increases for children/young people who do not have broadband, can't afford data boosts, are experiencing a disruption to their education.
Vodafone (opens in new tab):
Like many other plans out there, Vodafone is offering free use of the NHS website. But past that, there's not much to gain for many customers. Vodafone has however offered free unlimited data boosts multiple times throughout the pandemic and could offer it again.
Voxi: (opens in new tab)
Voxi's offer is a little bit different to others. If you're a jobseeker, Voxi will give you an unlimited data, calls and texts plan for £10 a month for six months. For reference, that is an incredibly cheap price for unlimited data.
iD Mobile: (opens in new tab)
Like many of the other networks out there, using the NHS website will not use up any data on any iD Mobile plan. Previously NHS staff could get unlimited data boosts but that over has now ran out. Those who are over 70 could get unlimited minutes but that offer has ended too.
Virgin Mobile: (opens in new tab)
Virgin is one of the networks going all out. It is doing the data-free use of the NHS website like everyone else but it is also giving its pay monthly customers unlimited minutes to landlines and other mobile phone customers plus a 10GB data boost each month.
Tesco Mobile: (opens in new tab)
Tesco has done the same as almost all other networks in the fact that you can now access to the NHS website and government guidance without using up data.
Past that, Tesco has also given its customers free evening and weekend calls to all of its customers, no matter what kind of phone plan you're on.
Giffgaff: (opens in new tab)
Giffgaff is keeping it simple. Using the NHS website while on a Giffgaff plan won't use up any of your data and the NHS 111 line will remain a free call.
What are the best SIM only deals to invest in:
Looking to switch networks? Luckily there are a number of great options out there right now. Use our SIM only deals guide to see them all in full or see our favourites below:
- EE: 100GB of data for £20 a month (opens in new tab)
- Smarty: 50GB of data for £15 a month (opens in new tab)
- Three: unlimited data for £16 a month (opens in new tab)