Increasing data allowances on mobile devices to support disadvantaged children
This scheme temporarily increases data allowances for mobile phone users on certain networks. This is so that disadvantaged children and young people can access remote education if their face-to-face education is disrupted, and they do not have access to broadband at home.
Who can get help
Schools, colleges, further education institutions, trusts, and local authorities in England can request mobile data increases for disadvantaged pupils and students in years 3 to 13 and students in further education who are with a participating network. They must meet all 3 of these criteria:
- do not have fixed broadband at home
- cannot afford additional data for their devices
- are 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:
- in any year group and have been advised to shield because they (or someone they live with) are clinically extremely vulnerable
- in any year group attending a hospital school
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.
Mobile data increases are currently not 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 increase 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
- iD Mobile
- IQ Mobile
- Lebara Mobile
- Sky Mobile
- Tesco Mobile
- Virgin Mobile
Other providers will join the scheme at a later stage. 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 a mobile data increase
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 have opted to receive SMS alerts from their provider. It’s also possible to check the status of requests through our online service.
Another option for increasing internet access
If increasing mobile data is not a suitable option for some children, or if a request for additional 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’.