5 things to check before choosing a SIM Only deal

5 things to check before choosing a SIM Only deal

Since they were first introduced in the UK, the popularity of SIM Only deals has skyrocketed.

The winning combination of low prices and short commitment periods means that it’s much easier to compare options and find the mobile deal that’s right for you.

Not only can you control what you spend more easily, you get a lot more for your money in terms of data, texts, and minutes because the handset cost isn’t being factored in to the price you pay.

A SIM Only deal is perfect if your contract has expired and you want to continue using your mobile for a much cheaper monthly price, you want more flexibility in terms of contract length, or you want more control over your handset upgrades.

While they used to be relatively rare, SIM Only deals are now available from all major phone providers, including Sky, Freedom Pop, Virgin, O2, Vodafone and its 30-day contract brand Voxi, Plusnet, BT, and GiffGaff and more.

But what should you look for? Here are the five things you need to check when deciding on a new SIM.

1. Use filters to check cost over a comparable period

Since a SIM Only deal is so flexible, you can choose from all kinds of contract lengths from a 30 day rolling contract to 12 months and beyond.

When you’re comparing different options, make sure you work out how much each contract costs over the same period of time to get a more accurate picture of what you can expect to pay long term.

If cost is your top priority, take a research shortcut by checking out our list of the best cheap SIM Only deals.

2. Compare what you need to what’s included in the SIM Only deal

There are SIM Only deals out there for everyone, whether your main use is texts, minutes, or data, or a combination of all three.

The advantage of choosing a SIM Only deal means you can focus on what’s important – the texts, minutes, and data you’re getting for your money – at a glance.

If you’re looking for unlimited use, check whether this applies to data, texts, calls, or all three before you buy.

If mobile tethering is important to you, you’ll also need to check whether the deal includes that or not.

3. Don’t forget to read the small print

Take a look at the terms of your SIM Only deal before you buy so you know what to expect if you want to extend your usage limits or what happens if you exceed them.

This is especially if you’re not buying for yourself but for a dependent such as an older or younger family member.

You’ll also want to check the fine print for any potential extra charges, for example for sending or receiving MMS/picture messages.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to check any clauses regarding contract length. For example, will your contract automatically renew? What cancellation or cooling off periods are applicable?

The majority of SIM Only deals are very straightforward, so the likelihood is that you’ll find the small print doesn’t change your decision.

4. Find out about the SIM card supplied with your deal

It may sound obvious, but with SIM cards in different standard, micro and nano sizes, it’s frustrating if you don’t get the right one for your phone model first time.

Several providers, such as GiffGaff, Plusnet, EE and BT, avoid this problem by offering SIM cards that can be popped out to the size you need. Others ask for your requested size, so make sure you check instead of guessing!

5. Check the contract length

Since there are a lot of options available for 30 day contracts, 12 month contracts, 18 month contracts and beyond, it’s important to check that you’re signing up to the right contract length for you.

30 day rolling plans are a perfect low-commitment option, allowing you to switch providers or contracts with minimal hassle, while at the other end of the scale longer deals typically offer the best value for money.

At the end of the day there’s no right or wrong option – it all comes down to what you personally prefer.

Now you know the five things to look for when making your SIM Only decision, check out the current most popular SIM Only deals.

MAIN IMAGE: Pascal Kurschildgen/ CC BY 2.0


Jenny is a technology writer, author and teacher based in the North West
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