5G is here. The next generation of smartphone technology is well into its rollout, with a huge range of exciting 5G smartphones already available. But to use a 5G phone, you’ll need to pick up a 5G SIM only plan.
A 5G SIM card does what it says on the tin - it’s a SIM card that will enable you to connect to 5G, the latest advancement in mobile phone technology.
One way of making sure you never run out of data on 5G is by getting a deal that offers unlimited data, and thankfully there are unlimited 5G data deals from the likes of Vodafone, Three and more.
There are a range of cheap 5G SIM only deals to choose from.
One thing to remember is, if you do use 5G to stream and download, you might end up using a lot of data quite quickly. So it is worth looking out for a deal that has enough data to suit your needs. Check out our cheapest 5G SIM only deals below:
The 5G era is well under way, most major networks are already live, so let's see how they all stack up.
EE's 5G network launched in the UK on 30 May 2019 in six just cities - Belfast, London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham. It’s now available in 125 UK locations including major cities like Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Vodafone launched on 3 July 2019, with its service available at first in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London. It’s now available in around 100 UK locations including places like Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.
Vodafone has made a big statement with its 5G offering by shaking up the traditional 'data allowance' system and instead offering unlimited data in a tiered speed system, similar to what you might get your broadband
Vodafone has also now launched 5G and unlimited data for all its PAYG customers too. This enables people to benefit from the blistering speeds of 5G without the confines of a monthly contract.
After a bit of a delay, Three's 5G was launched in February 2020, with the rollout initially covering 66 UK locations including London, Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Aberdeen and many more. It’s now extended to 194 locations at the time of writing so that’s great coverage.
Three has dubbed their 5G as the ‘real 5G’ because it has up to twice the 5G spectrum of other networks. In theory, that means downloading movies and music and gaming online will be far faster on Three than on its competitors.
Three’s 5G also comes at no extra cost, once the service is launched all Three’s SIMs will be 5G ready so all you’ll need is a 5G smartphone and you’ll be good to go.
The company has also launched a 5G home broadband service in London. EE and Vodafone are offering home routers utilising 5G, as the need for traditional landline connections looks set to dissipate in the next few years.
O2 began its 5G rollout in October 2019. It initially launched in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Slough. It now spans 150 UK locations.
Sky Mobile's 5G is now officially switched on in 160 locations throughout the UK, such as London, Belfast, Leeds, Edinburgh and more. Sky Mobile’s 5G is available to its customers for free providing they sign up to the Sky VIP programme - which is free to join.
Without a Sky VIP membership, adding 5G to a Sky Mobile plan will cost an additional £5 a month.
Tesco Mobile has launched the start of its 5G offering - and it’s live in 160 cities around the UK.
Tesco Mobile customers in cities and towns including Bournemouth, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Glasgow, Leeds and London can now access super fast 5G connection speeds.
You can get a 5G SIM only deal on all the major networks here at Uswitch.
Existing 4G or 3G SIM cards can’t connect you to 5G.
So unless you already have a 5G SIM card, you’ll need to get a new SIM if you want to get connected to 5G on your smartphone.
5G is available in a wide range of UK locations, but it’s not quite everywhere. Networks have switched on their 5G services in different locations all over the country.
For instance, EE has switched on in 125 UK towns, Vodafone has 100 locations , O2 offers 5G in 108 towns and cities and Three’s 5G network covers 193 UK spots.
Depending on where you are in the UK and which provider you go with, you’ll have to check if your area is 5G connected.
Yes, 5G is available in the UK in a number of towns and cities. Not all areas are fully connected, but the following cities should offer 5G in at least some areas.
Yes, a 5G SIM card will work in a 4G phone, but it won't connect you to 5G.
You’ll still be able to use your phone as normal on 4G, but to get access to 5G, you’ll need to pop the 5G SIM into a 5G smartphone, like the iPhone 12 or the Samsung Galaxy S21.
Not necessarily. Some networks, such as Three, are offering 5G with their SIM only deals as standard with no extra cost. So all you need to connect is to pair the SIM card with a 5G phone.
If you have a 5G SIM and you go into an area that doesn’t have 5G, you’ll simply drop down to 4G.
If you live in an area that is not currently switched on to 5G and you want to connect, you’ll have to wait until a network makes 5G available in your area.
Yes. Many networks offer 5G on SIM only deals. From Vodafone to EE, 02 to Three - you can snap up a great data deal and get connected to super fast 5G too.
Yes. If you're making the step up from 4G to 5G, you'll need a 5G-compatible smartphone and a 5G data plan. Your chosen network will then send you a new, 5G-enabled, SIM card.
Yes. If you want to upgrade to 5G, just find a data plan from any one of the major networks, such as Three or Vodafone, and order your new 5G SIM card. Just remember, you'll need a 5G smartphone too, and you'll need to live in an area that has already switched on to 5G.
If you've just bought the new 5G iPhone 12, you might be wondering why your existing SIM card is still just on 4G? That's because you need to sign up to a 5G data plan too. Take a look at our SIM only deals to find the perfect plan to match up with your new iPhone.
Just bought an iPhone 12? Good news - it's ready for 5G. All you need now is to make sure you live in an area that has 5G switched on, and then sign up to a 5G data plan.
You can get a 5G SIM only deal on a range of networks. In fact, most major networks (and some smaller ones too) are all offering 5G SIM only deals along with their 5G pay monthly offerings.
Here are some networks that are offering 5G SIM only deals: