Get extra mobile data to support disadvantaged children and young people

This scheme temporarily increases data allowances until the end of July 2021 for mobile phone users on certain networks. This supports remote and face-to-face education for disadvantaged children and young people without broadband at home.

Who can get help

Schools, colleges, further education institutions, trusts, and local authorities in England can request extra mobile data for disadvantaged school pupils in years 3 to 13 and students in further education who are with a participating network. They must meet all 3 of these criteria:

  • they do not have fixed broadband at home
  • they cannot afford additional data for their devices
  • they're experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education

Schools, colleges, further education institutions, trusts, and local authorities can also make requests for children and young people who meet the criteria above, and are:

Local authorities can also request this support for state-funded pupils in years 3 to 11 in independent special schools or alternative provision who are eligible for free school meals.

Extra mobile data is not currently available for:

  • children who typically receive home education (also known as 'elective home education' or 'home schooling’)
  • care leavers who are not attending school or further education

Which mobile networks can provide extra data

Pupils and students with access to a mobile phone on one of the following networks might be able to benefit:

  • Asda Mobile
  • BT Mobile
  • EE
  • giffgaff
  • iD Mobile
  • IQ Mobile
  • Lebara Mobile
  • Lycamobile
  • O2
  • Sky Mobile
  • SMARTY
  • Tesco Mobile
  • Three
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Vodafone

We recommend you take a look at the further details on offers from each provider to understand what is available.

Note that O2 and giffgaff are not currently supporting requests for students in further education.

How to request extra mobile data

Requests can only be made by someone who’s been nominated to order devices through the Get help with technology service.

For each request, we need to know:

  • the name of the mobile phone account holder
  • the number of the mobile device
  • the mobile network of that device (for example EE)
  • whether they pay monthly or pay as they go

Schools, colleges, further education institutions, trusts and local authorities need to submit mobile information to the DfE. Each provider will vary in how quickly they process requests.

Once a network provider has completed a data increase, they’ll send a text message to the account holder if they’ve opted to receive SMS alerts from their provider. You can check the status of requests by signing in to the Get help with technology service.

Another option for increasing internet access

If requesting extra mobile data is not a suitable option for some people, or if a request for extra data is unsuccessful, schools, colleges and further education institutions can also request 4G wireless routers. Find out more about choosing help with internet access.

If you have questions

If you have any questions, email COVID.TECHNOLOGY@education.gov.uk using the subject line ‘Increasing data allowances’.