SIM Only Contracts
SIM-only deals are the most popular option for the busy mobile phone user and they are flexible in that you can get the deal you want without investing in a new phone. You’ll get a monthly allowance of minutes, data and texts, and it’s a plan that can be far better for your budget, because SIM-only deals are much cheaper than regular contracts. It’s very easy to get a SIM-only deal, but it’s far harder to choose which network to go with, especially when they’re all competitive in their offerings. You need to know the ins and outs for each network so that you can make a more informed decision about your new SIM-only deal, and that’s exactly what we’ve got for you.
Three SIM Only Deals
The best thing about Three SIM-only deals is the fact that they offer an unlimited data plan. When
you need to work from your phone, scroll social media or send a few emails, it’s a great option when you don’t want to worry about going over your data.
BT Mobile SIM Only Deals
The plans with BT range from 500MB – 20GB per month and whether you’re a BT customer or not, you can
find out what you need to know about the extensive family plans that you can get. BT owns EE, and so it shares their plans across both networks.
EE SIM Only Deals
The best 4G coverage comes with EE, which makes EE the better option out there for SIM-only deals on
the market. Whether you only need 250MB alongside your minutes and texts or you rely heavily on your phone for getting online and need 40GB, you are going to find something to suit you.
Giffgaff SIM Only Deals
One of the cheapest on the market, giffgaff uses a customer service based in the community – so no call
centres to deal with. There’s an unlimited data plan, but the speed is somewhat restricted if you go over 9GB. Giffgaff uses O2 to deliver the best possible service.
Lebara SIM Only Deals
With deals up to 10GB, you can get a great deal on your SIM-only deal with Lebara, and you no longer
have to worry about topping up; it can renew for you every 30 days, keeping you in the loop every day.
O2 SIM Only Deals
The best thing about O2 is that it can cater for everyone – their thing is being everything to everyone. Whether you need unlimited calls or
a small number of minutes, you can find something to cater to your needs.
Plusnet Mobile SIM Only Deals
Broadband customers for Plusnet are those who can get the best deal, but their plans are great for
any budget – customer or not. You can get more data, texts and minutes if you are already a customer, and you can get up to 6GB to play with.
Sky Mobile SIM Only Deals
Sky Mobile allow you to rollover any unused data, to use for up to 3 years later, or transfer it to a range of different rewards.
Existing Sky customers also get unlimited minutes and texts, meaning that you can contact who you need to wherever you are.
Tesco Mobile Only Deals
Finding a SIM-only deal to fit your existing budget isn’t always easy, but Tesco mobile rides along
on the O2 network, with allowances from a little 100MB to a huge 50GB per month. You can fit your minutes and texts around it and earn Clubcard points as you go.
Virgin SIM Only Deals
Virgin has always been better known for its TV and fibre-optic broadband, but with data plans of up
to 100GB and with 5000 minutes available, you can take your Netflix-watching with you wherever you go.
Vodafone SIM Only Deals
Every single SIM-only deal includes unlimited texts and you can be as light as you want on your data
from 250MB up to 30GB a month. Prefer to talk? Unlimited minutes are available for you.
VOXI SIM Only Deals
Perfect for the young ones in the family, VOXI offers unlimited data for social users; scrolling
Facebook has never been so cheap. Up to 15GB a month is on offer with VOXI, but starts at much less.
iD Mobile SIM Only Deals
Carphone Warehouse is the parent for iD Mobile, and you can get thousands of minutes and texts
per month alongside 6GB data to keep you connected.
smarty SIM Only Deals
A company that knows what people want, Smarty will discount your next bill if you haven’t used
your total allocation of data. Up to 8GB a month is up for grabs with Smarty and they like things simple.
Frequently asked questions
What is a SIM only contract?
A SIM only deal is a contract offered without a mobile phone, but still includes a set amount of minutes, texts and data. As the network is not subsidising a handset like they would normally with a mobile phone contract you will find that the deals are much cheaper.
A SIM card is a small microchip, they vary in size
although their function is the same. They are the brain of a mobile phone, your phone will not be able to make or receive calls and texts without one. Some phones will fail to turn on without one as well. Although there isn’t much point in having a mobile phone with no SIM card, it’s like having a car without petrol (or diesel).
The SIM card will always be attached to a particular network and although you can transfer your number from network to network
the SIM will only ever work with the network is was intended for.
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What are the benefits of a SIM only contract?
The benefits of a SIM only deal are flexibility and good value for money. If you already have a mobile phone that you are happy to continue using then a SIM only will be for you.
The flexible element of a SIM only deal is down to the fact that you can sign into a 1 month rolling contract with a 30 day notice period to cancel, so no longer tie ins, you can opt for a longer 12 month contract which can offer even better value but this will mean that should your phone break within the 12 months you are still liable for the monthly rental.
Value for money; the fact that you are not getting a handset from the network means they do not need subside the cost of this. Therefore they only to need to factor in the cost of a sim card when calculating how many minutes and texts they can offer you for a fixed monthly price. You will notice that the amount of minutes, texts and data that you can get for your money is dramatically more with a sim only deal than with a traditional contract pay monthly deal
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Which networks can offer me a SIM only contract?
SIM only contracts are available from a wide range of networks as well as less well known MVNO’s (Mobile Virtual Network Operator)
. You can use the filter to above to compare SIM only deals from the below networks.
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NanoSIM? MicroSIM? How do I know which one I need?
There used to be just one type of SIM card, but as times have evolved and the need to fit more technology into a smaller space something had to give. First there was the MicroSIM, but as this wasn’t quite small enough, we now have the NanoSIM.
In measurements the MicroSIM comes in at around 0.6” x 0.5”, and the NanoSim is 0.5”x0.3”. To put this into context a standard SIM card is 1.0” x 0.6”. This doesn’t seem like a massive difference in size but allows the mobile manufacturers to add more technology to their phones.
As the MicroSIM is the older of the two this is generally found in older phones, whereas the more recent phones will be using the newer NanoSIM.
We aren’t able to list all phone SIM card compatibility. But here are a few to give you an idea.
Smartphones that use a NanoSIM include;
- Apple iPhone 5
- Apple iPhone 5s
- Apple iPhone 5c
- Apple iPhone 6
- Apple iPhone 6 Plus
- Apple iPhone 6s
- Apple iPhone 6s Plus
- Apple iPhone 7
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S6
- Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
- Sony Xperia Z5
- Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
- Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
- Sony Xperia Z3
- Sony Xperia Z3+
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
- HTC One M8
- HTC 10
- HTC One M9
- Nokia Lumia 1520
- Nokia Lumia 650
Smartphones that use a MicroSIM include;
- Apple iPhone 4
- Apple iPhone 4s
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy S5
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4
- Sony Xperia S
- Sony Xperia Z
- Motorola Moto G3
- Motorola Moto G4
It is worth noting that most networks now offer one type of SIM card and you can easily resize it by pushing out the desired sim card from the pre-cut lines. Also if you had a NanoSIM and now find yourself needing a MicroSIM you can get adapters that will resize the SIM for you (these only allow you to make the SIM card bigger not smaller)
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Should I trust the smaller networks that aren’t as well known?
You might notice a large array of extra networks offering sim only deals that you may have not heard of before. Don’t panic, many of them have been around for many years and have even won awards for their customer service.
They tend to not offer the incentives that larger networks may offer such as O2’s Priority Moments, this is mostly down to the size of their operation and cost.
You are probably wondering about phone reception, well there are still only the four major networks and these smaller networks referred to as MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) piggy back off a well known provider, giffgaff actually uses O2 for its signal, iD Mobile uses 3 Mobile. This doesn't mean they share customer service only that the MVNO has an agreement to use their masts. This allows you to get a great value SIM only deal along with having the network coverage you are used to.
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How do I keep my number?
Keeping your mobile number is very simple. You just need to phone the network you are currently on and ask them for a PAC (Port Authorisation Code) they will require you to have served the minimum term on your contract or be in the last 30 days of your current contract.
They will give you the code and this will act as you starting the 30 days notice required to cancel most mobile phone contracts.
At this point it is safe to order your new sim (or wait a few weeks if you don’t want to pay for two contracts for a few weeks) and give the PAC over to the new network. Who will give you a date for it to be transferred over this normally takes between 1-3 working days.
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Will there be any down time when I downtime when I switch my number to another network?
On the day of number transfer given to you by your new network, you will notice minimal disruption to your service whilst the two networks are communicating the details.
This may mean that you network coverage a few times, also your number may transfer but you may still have coverage on the old SIM card so keep an eye on it during the day if you don’t to miss any communications.
Overall the transfer should be seamless without including the new sim and the old sim over.
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How do I cancel my SIM only contract?
When you no longer need your SIM only deal or you find contract with better value you simply need to call the network you are currently on and ask to cancel, in most instances they will require you to give 30 days notice.
If you wish to keep your number you will need to ask for a PAC to allow you to transfer your number.
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My current network has a good SIM only deal, how do I switch to it?
If you find a SIM only deal that is on the same network as you are currently on then it is very simple to switch. Once you have fulfilled your minimum term contract or are in the last 30 days, get in touch with them and ask them to switch you over.
They should be very forthcoming and moving your current arrangement over to the new deal you have seen. Whilst it is becoming more uncommon do keep an eye out for “new customer deals only” as some networks still save their best deals for new customers, this may mean you would need to consider switching networks to get a better value deal.
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I have seen a better value SIM only deal with another network, can I switch?
You firstly need to check that you are eligible to switch, contact your current provider and ask them to confirm your eligibility to leave their network, they may offer you a retention deal to stay so keep this in mind when you contact them.
If you are eligible you will need to consider if you want to keep your current mobile number
and also ask your network to unlock your mobile phone if it isn’t already. Most networks will do this for free once you are out of contract, otherwise they may charge a small fee.
Once this is done use our comparison engine to find a SIM only deal that matches your needs, i.e with the right minutes, texts and data, your new SIM card should arrive within a couple of days.
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What can I do with my old SIM?
There isn’t any value you in your old SIM, it isn't like a mobile phone where you would trade it in.
With this is mind if you are concerned that there may be personal data left on the SIM such as contact numbers or text messages, then cut the SIM card apart paying attention to damage the gold foil part to be sure that it no longer works.
Once you have done this, you’re then free to throw away the SIM card.
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Will I require a credit check to get a new SIM only deal? What happens if I get declined?
You will be required to pass a credit check for your new SIM only deal, this is case if you are signing up for a 1 month rolling sim only contract or a 12 month SIM only contract with a network.
The credit check for a one month sim only contract isn’t as stringent as a check for a 12 month sim only contract as is even less stringent than a full traditional pay monthly contract phone
. If you get declined for a 12 month SIM only that isn’t to say you will declined for a one month SIM only.
If you do happen to fail though that doesn’t mean that you cannot get a good value SIM only deal.
Pay as you go deals can also offer lucrative savings over traditional pay monthly contracts without the need for a direct debit and gives you the freedom to change your usage more frequently.
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What about Pay As You Go SIM only (PAYG) deals?
So you already have a mobile phone that is coming to the end of its contract and you don’t think that your usage is enough to warrant another contract or a SIM only deal, then maybe a pay as you go sim only deal is for you.
You can ask your current network provider to switch your contract over to a pay as you go deal. This will require you to top up as and when you need to.
Most networks also offer good value pay as you go bundles so you can always purchase one of these if you feel you are going to have a higher usage one month compared to others.
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