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Best SIM-only deals in the UK (May 2024)


Not satisfied with what your mobile phone contract is offering? Maybe you want more minutes or texts, or even a more generous data allowance. Or you simply don’t want to be tied to a yearly contract.

This is where SIM-only deals come into play. They offer a whole package of phone calls, SMS messages, and even a particular data amount, but with one significant difference. You’re not obliged to buy a new mobile phone to make this deal. So, let’s learn more about the best SIM-only deals in the UK!

List of SIM-only deals

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What are SIM-only deals?

SIM-only deals come with a pre-determined number of minutes, texts, and data amount, which you can use on the mobile phone you already have. With SIM-only deals, you just get a SIM card and not a phone. On top of this, these contracts are way cheaper than a mobile contract, which includes a new device in the price. So, your monthly cost is significantly lower, and you can also use your contract for a shorter time.

Why should I choose a SIM-only deal?

You should choose a SIM-only deal if you want to save money on your monthly mobile phone bill. More precisely, these plans are a lot cheaper than traditional mobile contracts. They also offer generous benefits, such as a sufficient amount of phone calls, texts, and data allowance for the price you’re paying, making this their most significant advantage.

You can save around £321 a year by switching to SIM-only deals, according to experts. However, it’s important to remember that SIM-only plans don’t include a new phone, as they don’t come with a device in the package. But if you already have a phone you’re happy with, or you prefer to buy your mobile phone separately, a SIM-only deal, like an iPhone deal, is a great way to get a flexible and affordable plan.

Benefits of SIM-only deals

SIM-only deals have some fantastic benefits. This is what they offer:

  • Flexible data bundles. SIM-only deals have more packages with different data amounts. Therefore, you don’t need to be stuck on a package that doesn’t fulfil your needs.
  • Use of your old mobile phone. If you’re not prepared to change your mobile phone, SIM-only deals don’t require you to upgrade it. All you need is a new SIM card for your existing device, and that’s it.
  • Several provider choices. Currently, there are many SIM-only providers. This enables you to select the one with the best network coverage and deals in your area.
  • Shorter contracts. Nobody likes to be tied to a deal that lasts for more than two years. Luckily, SIM-only plans offer less commitment, as they have monthly or pay-as-you-go plans. This allows you to switch to another deal at any time.
  • Cheaper than regular mobile contracts. The lack of a mobile phone in the deal allows you to save a lot of money.

What happens when I choose a SIM-only deal?

When you choose a SIM-only deal, you will have to follow these steps to start using your SIM card:

  1. Sign up for your preferred SIM-only plan.
  2. Confirm the deal terms and provide your details for a credit check.
  3. Get your PAC code if you want to keep the mobile phone you’re already using.
  4. After you complete this process, you can purchase your SIM card.
  5. Put the SIM on your mobile phone and start using it!

Pros and cons of SIM-only deals

If you still can’t make up your mind about whether a SIM-only deal is suitable for your needs, we can help. Check out the perks and drawbacks of SIM-only deals below.

How to find the best SIM-only deal for you?

Finding the best SIM-only deal for you can be a bit tricky. This is because there are numerous SIM-only providers, making your choice a lot harder. Luckily, you can stick to a few criteria such as the following:

  • Price. Sometimes, even if you find everything that you’re looking for in one package, the price may break the deal. That’s why you should consider going for a provider that has all the necessary features for an affordable price.
  • Data needs. People usually use SIM-only deals so they can have access to the Internet at any time and any place. Due to this, explore how much data allowance you will get with your preferred plan. What’s even better is if there is an option to upgrade your data amount.
  • Contract length. If you plan on using the SIM card only for a while and then ditch it, it’s best to consider going for a short-term contract. Luckily, SIM-only deals usually come with a duration of 12 months, but you can also find monthly or even weekly deals.
  • Minutes and texts. You should always check how many phone calls or texts you can enjoy with your SIM-only plan to avoid exceeding the limit and paying additional costs. Thankfully, you can find a deal that will satisfy your needs in the realm of SIM card providers.

Which network should I join?

Deciding which network to join depends on various factors, including the price, the network coverage, data allowance, and more. So, let’s briefly review some of the best providers to help you make an informed decision.

Vodafone

The first option is Vodafone, which is a leader in the SIM-only card sector. Their SIMs support 5G and have a decent allowance for data, calls, and texts. What’s even better is that Vodafone is known for its unlimited 5G deals that come at a very affordable cost. You can also use the SIM card for a few days or 12+ months.

Three

Three is our second recommendation, with both pre-set or unlimited data amounts. However, the pay-as-you-go system makes this provider stand out from its competitors. Ultimately, you can benefit from unlimited data usage.

O2

You can choose O2, which is the only UK mobile operator that didn’t reimpose roaming costs across the EU after Brexit. By going for the O2 SIM-only deals, you can enjoy super-fast 5G Internet, as well as free Wi-Fi hotspots.

Sky Mobile

Sky is the last network provider that we suggest. Aside from the secure 5G connections, its deals vary from 3GB to 30GB of data per month, meaning you can choose the perfect plan for your preferences and needs.

How easy is it to switch networks?

SIM-only deals significantly simplify the process of switching networks. In fact, the first thing you should do before diving into SIM-only contracts is to check the status of your current deal. Don’t worry! You can find this information on your network’s app or website or by texting INFO to 85075.

If your mobile contract is still in place, you should wait or pay an early termination fee if you’re determined to break it. Once you make the final decision to switch networks, you need to get your PAC code and give it to your preferred carrier. With this, the process ends. Now, all you need to do is put your new SIM into your mobile phone and activate it.

What types of SIM-only deals can you get?

The telecommunication industry has gone through rapid technological changes, so it’s not surprising that there are now numerous types of SIM-only deals that you can get. Let’s compare some SIM-only deals currently available:

  • Cheap SIM-only deals. The main advantage of SIM-only deals is their affordability. So, if you want to cut costs on your monthly bills and use your mobile phone for regular activities, find a cheap SIM-only deal that will fulfil your needs. Although they are budget-friendly, they still have a sufficient amount of texts, data, and phone calls.
  • Unlimited data SIM-only deals. The unlimited data SIM-only deals are perfect for individuals who use their mobile phones for more robust activities. So, if you would like to avoid any interruptions and not worry about how much data you have left, go for this type of deal.
  • Pay as you go. If you’re not sure for how long you will need your SIM card, then it’s best to go for a deal with the pay-as-you-go option. As a result, the network provider you choose will enable you to upgrade the data allowance, as well as your phone calls and SMS messages that come with your SIM-only deal.
  • Data-only deals (5G). We recommend data-only deals for those who spend a lot of time outside their homes and struggle with poor Internet connectivity. These 5G SIM-only deals offer only a pre-determined amount of data, with no minutes or texts, making it the perfect choice for browsing, streaming, gaming, or any other online activity from anywhere.

Which mobile network has the best coverage?

If your primary concern is whether your mobile operator has good network coverage, then you need to check our table about the mobile network with the best coverage. Let’s have a look:

Three98.5%
EE97.7%
O296.2%
Vodafone96.6%

What SIM card do I need?

You can choose between a few types of SIM cards. However, before you make the choice, you need to check what kind of SIM your mobile phone supports. If you’re not sure, you can always take a look at your device’s manual. This is a brief overview of the different SIM card types:

  • Standard. The standard SIM is the first type of SIM card that was launched on the market. However, only older mobile phone models work with this type of card. This is because of its size. It is 25x15mm and is recognised as the biggest SIM on the market.
  • Micro. Micro SIMs are a bit smaller than the standard ones. Their dimensions are 15x12mm, and you can find them in some of the first models of smart mobile phones.
  • Nano. Currently, all mobile phones use nano SIM cards. They are the smallest SIMs and have a size of 12.3x8.8mm.
  • eSIM. eSIMs, or electronic SIM cards, are the latest innovation in this field. The most recent models support them, but you should keep in mind that they are not physical. You can get them online and just activate them on your mobile phone.

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