The best SIM Only data tethering deals

The best SIM Only data tethering deals

Monday, 19 March, 2018

SIM Only data tethering is when you use your smartphone or tablet’s internet connection on another machine.

For example, you might tether your smartphone or tablet to your laptop. You can then share the 3G or 4G internet connection between the two devices.

In places where the internet connection is limited, or missing entirely, using data tethering to get online can be a lifesaver!

Remember to check whether there are any minutes and texts included in the deal you want.

If there are no minutes or texts included, the SIM is designed for use in a tablet and you won’t be able to use it in your phone. Don’t get caught out.

SIM Only data tethering is very common among commuters.

Large parts of the UK rail and motorway networks have no WiFi at all.

Some train companies will even try to charge you for WiFi access. But why bother paying extra when you can tether to your phone’s connection for free?

Types of SIM Only data tethering: with smartphone SIMs

  • USB tethering. Where the user plugs their smartphone into the laptop using the USB port, and the mobile data can be accessed through the connection manager on the computer, which sets the smartphone as a modem.
  • Bluetooth tethering. Built-in on all Android phones, this method simply pairs your device with your computer through Bluetooth and then uses the computer’s Bluetooth settings to set the type of connection.
  • WiFi tethering. The most common option. Quicker than Bluetooth tethering but drains your phone’s battery much faster. Sets your phone up as a mobile hotspot, allows multiple devices like laptops and tablets to connect and share your phone’s internet connection.

Types of SIM Only data tethering: with tablet SIMs

  • USB tethering. The most common option to share a tablet SIM’s data connection with another device. Connect your tablet to your laptop using a USB cable. Open Settings and choose Tethering & Mobile Hotspot. You may need to touch the slider option to On, depending on your tablet settings.

No tethering, no heavy petting

Although data tethering is commonplace in the SIM Only market, the options available can differ a great amount.

Virgin, for example, don’t allow data tethering on their SIM Only deals at all.

This is a great shame for commuters, given that Virgin piggybacks on EE, the fastest UK network, and tends to offer huge data deals.

Other SIM Only providers will place a limit on the amount of data that can be used through tethering.

Some even slow down your data connection speed once you’ve used a certain number of gigabytes (GB).

At SIMOnlydeals.co.uk we’ll always tell you which providers do allow data tethering. You can see this in our comparison tables.

If the option is greyed out, it means the letter of the law says that this provider doesn’t allow you to data tether using their SIMs.

The best data tethering SIM Only deals

There’s nothing more frustrating that finding a great data deal and then discovering you can’t use that internet connection on another machine.

When it comes to finding the right SIM Only deals for data tethering, there are a variety of options available.

You may find the biggest data tethering options are only available on 12-month SIM Only deals.

Finding double digit tethering allowances on 30-day contracts is pretty rare, so when you find a no-contract SIM Only deal you like, it’s definitely worth signing up.

Three: 30GB, 30-day or 12 months

Three’s All You Can Eat plans are popular for their unlimited texts, minutes, and data included for a reasonable price.

Three call data tethering Personal Hotspot.

It’s not always obvious what tethering is allowed on Three SIM Only deals, but the All You Can Eat plan gives you 30GB of tethering per month.

  • Three One Month UL/UL/UL Advanced
    Three sim card
    Contract 30 days (rolling)
    Mins UL unlimited
    Texts UL unlimited
    Data UL unlimited
    • 30GB Personal Hotspot
    • Stream your favourite shows and music infinitely without using up your data
    • Feel at Home Around the world
    Three Standard/Micro/Nano SIM
    • Internationalno information
    • Wifi Hotspotsno information
    • 30GB Tether Data Use 30GB of your Allowance for tethering
    • Roaming CostsFeel at Home Around the world
  • Three UL/UL/UL Advanced
    Three sim card
    Contract 12 months
    Mins UL unlimited
    Texts UL unlimited
    Data UL unlimited
    • 30GB Personal Hotspot
    • Stream your favourite shows and music infinitely without using up your data
    • Feel at Home Around the world
    Three Standard/Micro/Nano SIM
    • Internationalno information
    • Wifi Hotspotsno information
    • 30GB Tether Data Use 30GB of your Allowance for tethering
    • Roaming CostsFeel at Home Around the world

The 12-month option will always be priced a little lower than the 30-day rolling contract. And while that limit is quite high, it could be judged a little expensive.

If you’re choosing a cheaper Three deal, watch out.

Three’s Essential plans, which start with just 500MB of data per month, don’t allow any data tethering. Again, this is stated in the SIM Only deals comparison table.

O2: 40GB, 12 months

O2 plans come with some helpful perks, including free use of O2’s WiFi hotspots and more.

Although the O2 deal is higher priced than Three’s All You Can Eat, you can use all 40GB of your monthly data allowance for tethering.

There are no minutes or texts included with these O2 deals – that’s because O2 don’t allow SIM Only data tethering on their SIMs designed for smartphones. So tread carefully if you must have an O2 SIM.

Three: 40GB, 12 months

A lower priced deal with fewer perks than its O2 equivalent, this is Three’s best 12-month version.

Again, you only get 40GB of data here. But unlike All You Can Eat, all 40GB of your monthly data allowance can be used for tethering.

If that 10GB difference is important, this is a good value deal to consider.

  • Three 12 Month 40GB
    Three sim card
    Contract 12 months
    Mins -
    Texts -
    Data 40GB /month
    • Feel at Home Europe
    • Award winning for Mobile Data
    • Set Usage Limits and Alerts
    Three Standard/Micro/Nano SIM
    • Internationalno information
    • Wifi Hotspotsno information
    • Tethering Allowed Use your Allowance for tethering
    • Roaming CostsFeel at Home Europe

EE: 30GB, 30 days

Customers with a variable income tend to prefer 30-day rolling contracts for their flexibility, and EE have some tempting deals for you.

With all 30GB available for data tethering, this is a good choice for self-employed people who have a regular need for data tethering.

Again – read the terms and conditions closely. EE SIMs that include minutes and texts, that you can use in a smartphone, don’t allow data tethering.

  • EE 30GB 30 Day
    EE sim card
    Contract 30 days (rolling)
    Mins -
    Texts -
    Data 30GB /month
    • Enjoy EE's fastest 4G Speeds
    • UK Only Call Centres
    • 4G in more places than any other UK Network
    EE Standard/Micro/Nano SIM
    • Internationalno information
    • Wifi Hotspotsno information
    • Tethering Allowed
    • Roaming CostsEU Data Roaming Included

ID Mobile: 15GB, 30 days

ID Mobile, which piggybacks on the O2 network, allows all the data allowance every month to be used for tethering.

Like the EE and O2 deals above, ID Mobile’s 15GB option is designed for tablets – so there are no minutes or texts included.

    Ready for SIM Only data tethering?

    Whatever you decide to use a data tethering connection for, and how often you do, can make a huge difference to the best plan that suits your needs.

    Always watch out to see if you get minutes or texts included – this will tell you whether a SIM Only deal is designed for smartphones or tablets.

    If you often need to data tether between your devices, then the plans here should be top of the list when it comes to choosing the right deal for you.

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