Help and advice on all topics related to switching to SIM-only
We aim to make it easier than ever to switch your mobile phone tariff and save money.
Is there a question you can’t find the answer to?Ask away!
Do I need a credit check to get a SIM Only deal?▲
If you have been refused handset contracts due to bad credit, you could be accepted as a SIM Only customer instead.
The cheapest contracts only require a minimal credit score and can be a good way to improve your credit rating over time.
Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) SIMs don’t require a credit check, and neither do most short-term 30-day contracts.
If you’re signing up for a longer term contract, say six or 12 months, it’s likely you’ll be put through a credit check.
A contract that includes a handset will demand a higher credit score than a SIM Only deal.
How much data do I need?▲
How much data you need really depends on how you use your phone when you’re out and about, but a data allowance between 2GB and 4GB is suitable for the majority of people.
Downloading apps, watching YouTube and using Skype or Facetime will eat through your data pretty quickly.
If you save these tasks for when your phone has a WiFi connection, your data usage will be significantly reduced.
Automatic updates are also something to watch out for. Your phone can download large files without warning when it automatically keeps apps and the operating system up to date. If you’re not careful, these updates can take up a sizeable chunk of your data.
Depending on your phone, you may be able to tweak the data usage of specific apps to make sure large files are only downloaded when you’re connected to WiFi.
What size SIM (standard/micro/nano) do I need?▲
The size of SIM card you need depends entirely on your phone.
Very few modern phones use the standard size, so you’re probably going to need a micro or nano SIM. If you know the make and model of your phone, a quick Google search should tell you what size you need.
If you do have the wrong size SIM, there’s no need to fret.
A SIM that’s too small will fit into a bigger socket with the use of an inexpensive adapter (these can cost as little as £1).
A SIM that’s too big can be fixed with a pair of scissors by simply cutting away the extra plastic. If you’re confident, you can trim a SIM card down yourself by using instructions and templates which can be found online.
Otherwise, take your SIM card to your local phone shop where a professional can cut it down for you.
What is data tethering/mobile hotspot?▲
Data tethering is a way to share your phone’s internet connection with other devices, like your laptop or tablet. This is a great way to get mobile internet when devices can’t access 3G or 4G networks themselves.
Almost all modern phones can utilise data tethering (sometimes called a personal hotspot or mobile hotspot) in just a few simple steps.
Samsung’s Galaxy S series allows up to 10 devices to connect to your phone’s internet connection, but other models may vary. iPhone models 4 and up can usually handle up to five extra connections.
Be careful, though, because tethering can dramatically increase your data consumption and you can go over your phone’s limit without realising it.
1. Turn on data tethering in your settings menu. (This is normally under General or Network Settings.)
2. Set a WiFi password. (Your phone may automatically generate one for you).
3. Connect to your phone’s WiFi with another device and enter the password you just set up.
You’re now tethered and can use your phone’s internet on any other device. Computers tend to use a lot more bandwidth than phones so be careful not to burn through all of your data allowance too quickly.
What does 3G/4G mean?▲
Every few years mobile technology improves and these leaps in capability are called ‘generations’ – that’s what the ‘G’ in 3G and 4G stands for.
So 3G is the third generation of mobile networks. It was the first widely-available technology that allowed us to connect to the internet through our phones.
4G is the fourth generation of network. It delivers internet like 3G, but gives significantly faster speeds and better connections. This means tasks like streaming HD video and downloading apps happen much quicker than with a 3G connection.
The availability of 4G is limited but constantly increasing. By 2020, 5G will start rolling out – delivering even faster speeds than 4G.
If your phone can use 4G networks, make sure you enable your connection in your phone’s Settings menu.
What happens when my phone contract ends?▲
When your contract term expires you will ‘roll-over’ to a monthly subscription.
You’ll be paying the same amount each month, but you’re out of contract so you can leave at any time. You’ll need to give your provider 30 days notice before leaving, so it’s best to plan a switch ahead of time.
If your contract included a phone, rolling over means you’ll keep paying for it when you don’t have to. Switching to SIM-only when your old contract ends lets you keep your old phone and pay less money each month. You can even keep your old number.
What is a SIM Only deal?▼
A SIM Only deal means only paying for your minutes, texts and data.
A contract that includes a new or upgraded phone means you will pay for the full cost of that phone (or more) by the time your contract ends.
SIM Only deals don’t include this extra cost so, if you already own a phone, you can save hundreds of pounds a year by switching to SIM Only.
SIM Only deals can be pay monthly or pay as you go. If you use your phone a lot, pay monthly is usually the better option. Pay as you go is ideal for modest phone use – saving you money and giving added flexibility.
Can I keep my number when I switch to SIM Only?▼
Yes. To keep your number with a new SIM you will need to call your current mobile operator and ask for a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC).
The PAC is a 9-digit number and you should receive it within two working days.
Use the PAC when buying a SIM Only contract, or afterwards by calling your new provider, to keep your old number.
Your PAC will expire 30 days after obtaining it, so don’t wait too long.
You can’t use the number of a disconnected phone, so make sure to change numbers before you cancel your old contract.