EE became the first mobile operator to launch 5G in the UK on 30th May, 2019 whilst Vodafone confirmed it will be launching its 5G mobile network on 3rd July. EE made a number of 5G SIM Only deals available shortly after launch of its 5G network.
Which networks offer 5G SIM Only deals?
It’s early days for 5G, meaning there aren’t many 5G SIM Only deals yet. Below you’ll find an overview of which networks offer them now, and which might do soon.
EE has switched on its 5G network so unsurprisingly it also offers 5G SIM Only deals. At the time of writing there are several available, with data topping out at 60GB per month, along with unlimited minutes and texts.
EE 5G Smart Plans
12 month contract
£32 a month
12 month contract
£37 a month
12 month contract
£47 a month
EE’s 5G SIM Only deals also come with ‘Swappable Benefits’ letting you choose between extras that you can swap out whenever you want. These currently include BT Sport in HDR, EE’s Roam Further service (letting you roam for free in more countries), and EE’s Video Data Pass and Music Data Pass, which let you use select video or music services without it coming out of your data allowance.
Vodafone doesn’t yet offer any 5G SIM Only deals but it should do soon, as it’s switching on its 5G network on July 3rd and has said you will need a 5G-ready plan to make use of it, so keep an eye out for these launching soon.
Three doesn’t currently offers any 5G SIM Only deals, but presumably it will launch some when it switches on its 5G network, which it’s set to be in August, 2019.
O2 also doesn’t currently offer 5G SIM Only plans, but its 5G network is supposedly going to arrive this summer, meaning it should be here by September 23rd, 2019, and along with it we’d expect some 5G SIM Only plans.
MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) by and large haven’t announced their 5G plans yet, so we wouldn’t expect them to offer 5G SIM Only deals until at least 2020 in most cases.
There are some exceptions though, most notably BT Mobile and Sky Mobile. BT Mobile owns EE and has said it will be switching on a 5G service of its own this year, so expect it to also then offer 5G SIM Only deals.
Sky Mobile meanwhile has announced that it will switch 5G on at the same time as O2, so in theory should have a 5G service by September 23rd, and it’s almost certainly going to offer 5G SIM Only deals to go with it.
Other MVNOs which might offer 5G SIM Only deals before too long include VOXI, Plusnet Mobile, and Giffgaff, as they’re all owned by proper networks. However, they’re also positioned as cheaper alternatives, so may not be in a hurry to offer a premium service like 5G.
In any case though, right now no MVNOs have 5G SIM Only deals, and some might not do for a long time yet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I’m not in a 5G coverage area?
If you’re not in a 5G coverage area then your phone will revert to a 4G, 3G or 2G signal, depending on what coverage is available, just as 4G phones will revert to 3G or 2G when needed.
However, if you don’t live or work in an area that currently has 5G coverage then you might want to wait before getting a 5G SIM deal anyway, since you probably won’t benefit much until you do have coverage.
Will a 5G SIM card work in a 4G phone?
Yes, but of course it will only be able to provide a 4G signal at most. For 5G speeds you’ll need a 5G handset.
What sizes of 5G sim cards are available?
Currently only EE offers 5G SIM Only deals and the cards it provides are a ‘Multi SIM’, which can be made to fit any size SIM card slot.
Vodafone also offers 5G SIM cards if you buy a 5G phone on Pay Monthly, and these are the same idea, but called ‘3-in-1’ SIMs, as they can be converted into a standard, micro or nano SIM card.
It’s likely that most if not all networks will take the same approach, just as they have done with 4G SIM cards.
However, it’s worth noting that most if not all 5G phones are likely to have a nano SIM slot in any case, as this is the most modern size.
Can I keep my number?
Yes, and the process is the same as it’s ever been.
If you’re upgrading on your current network then your number will stay the same anyway, but if moving network you just need to request your PAC code from your old network (while the number is still active), then activate your new SIM if you haven’t already, and tell your new network your PAC code and old number.
This is usually done via on online form, but the exact process will vary from network to network. If in doubt, give your new network a call.
Can I get an unlimited data 5G SIM deal?
Currently there aren’t any unlimited data 5G SIM deals available. The highest data limit at the time of writing is 60GB, with EE.
However, it may be possible to get unlimited data before too long. Three is launching its 5G service later in 2019 and currently offers unlimited data on its 4G SIM Only plans, so may well do the same with 5G.
Why choose a 5G SIM Only deal?
A SIM Only deal typically doesn’t lock you in to a contract for as long as a plan that comes with a phone, and – as you aren’t getting a phone with it – it’s usually also cheaper.
Of course, only a handful of very new phones support 5G at the time of writing, so you will probably need a new phone anyway, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy it on contract – sometimes it can be cheaper to buy the phone outright and then get a 5G SIM Only deal.
- Useful read: What is 5G?