Looking for the low down on the best prepay UK mobile service providers?

Since the arrival of smartphones in the middle of the last decade it has become more important than ever to ensure that you have your phone service with the service provider that's right for you. While the the major UK mobile services providers all offer the same basic services including voice calls, data, SMS (text messaging), voice mail and caller ID, the difference lies mainly in the cost and how many free minutes, texts or MB of data available with each.

There are seven major UK mobile service providers currently in operation; O2, Orange, T Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, 3 and Talk Mobile. Each of these providers charges a different rate per minute, text and day of internet usage. For prepay customers, topping up with £10 per month will get a number of features activated for you, such as a text bundle, data bundle or voice minutes, absolutely free of charge (aside from your initial £10 per month).

In terms of charge per minute, the best deal comes with Orange, who charge just 20p per minute, with 3 and Virgin Mobile costing the most at 26p per minute. The cheapest texts can be found with Orange and Talk Mobile at 10p, while all the others apart from 3 (11p) cost 12p per text.

The cost of data is where the major differences lie in the prepay market in the UK. The best deal in our books comes with 3 who offer as much data as you would like for no extra cost following a £15 monthly top up (so for your £15 you'll get 300 voice minutes, 3000 texts and as much data as you can use!).

Talk Mobile charges 25p per day with a data limit of 25MB, Virgin Mobile charges 30- per day with a limit of 25MB,  T Mobile charges £1 per day, Vodafone charges £1 per day with a limit of 15MB, O2 charges £1 per day with a limit of 50MB and Orange charges £2 per day.

So, for our money, the best deal on the table right now comes with the excellent Three £15 per month package!

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