SIM Only Mobile Phone Contracts | Could one work for me?

A SIM-only mobile contract is a type of mobile phone plan that provides you with a SIM card and a specified amount of minutes, texts, and data—but doesn't include a handset. In other words, you're only paying for the services provided by the mobile network operator (MNO) without the cost of a new phone. SIM Only plans work great for people who already own a phone that they've paid off (via a traditional mobile contract) and are happy to continue using.

Find the best mobile phone SIM Only deals for you with Uswitch.

SIM Only Deals

How SIM Only Works

Here's how it typically works, and what you need to know:

SIM Card: When you sign up for a SIM-only contract, the mobile network provider will give you a SIM card. This small chip contains your unique phone number and connects you to the provider's network.

Phone Number: If you'd like, it should be possible to keep the same telephone number when switching to a SIM Only plan—this is called 'porting your number'. Typically, you need your new SIM Only contract to be active before you port your number to your new SIM card. So, the first step is typically to order a new SIM card and activate it when it arrives. That new SIM card will come with a phone number of its own, but don't worry, this is only temporary. To change the number, first request a PAC code and pass it onto your new provider. They should make the switch and transfer your number within one working day. Get your PAC code by texting PAC to 65075 (it'll take just a minute). Alternatively, you can get the code from your network, either online or by phone.

Monthly Plan: You'll choose a monthly plan that suits your needs in terms of minutes, texts, and data. These plans can vary widely in terms of allowances and cost, allowing you to select the one that best fits your usage patterns. Note, some deals have one lower cost for the first few months (e.g. £3/m) and then charge a higher rate after that (e.g. £8/m).

No Handset Included: Unlike traditional mobile contracts where the cost of the handset is spread out over the duration of the contract, with a SIM-only plan, you're responsible for purchasing your own handset outright or using your existing phone. This can make SIM-only plans more affordable, especially if you already own a compatible handset that you're happy to continue using.

Flexibility: SIM-only contracts typically offer more flexibility than traditional contracts. And they often operate on a rolling monthly basis, meaning you're not tied into a long-term commitment. One benefit of this is that you can switch plans or providers more easily if your needs change in the future, or if you simply find a better deal elsewhere.

Cost-Effectiveness: Since you're not paying for a new handset as part of the contract, SIM-only plans can be more cost-effective in the long run. This is especially true if you tend to keep your phone for several years after your initial mobile contract expires before upgrading. In our personal experience, keeping a phone for longer and moving to a SIM Only contract can be a great way to lower the cost of owning a mobile phone over time.

Compatibility: SIM-only plans are compatible with most unlocked phones. This means you can often keep your existing phone and simply switch out the SIM card to start using the new plan. However, there may be some compatibility issues with certain devices or network bands. It's essential to check compatibility before purchasing a SIM-only plan, especially if you're bringing your own handset.

However, be aware that if you need to buy a new phone and you do this in parallel with getting a SIM Only contract, you'll need to pay a larger upfront cost for the phone (versus spreading out the cost of the phone over months with a traditional mobile contract (e.g. including a phone).

Overall, SIM-only contracts offer flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and the freedom to choose the services that best suit your needs without being tied to a specific handset or long-term commitment. They're a popular option for those who already own a phone or prefer to buy one outright rather than paying for it as part of a bundled contract.

Best SIM Only Deals

The best deals are changing constantly, and what's best for one person might not be best for the next person. Why? People have different data needs, budgets, and levels of commitment. That said, here are some of the more popular deals at Uswitch at the time of writing:

Best SIM Only DealsDataCostNote
O232GB of 5G data£8/monthBest network for roaming
Lebarra15GB of 5G data£2.78/m for 3mos then £6.95/mMost popular mobile network
Lebarra5GB of 5G data£1.98/m for 3mos then £4.95/mMost popular mobile network
SmartyUnlimited 5G data£15/monthBest SIM Only Network

Best the best, current deals for you by clicking below. You can then search for the bestselling deals, the cheapest costs, the most data, and other factors.

Find the best mobile phone SIM Only deals for you with Uswitch.

SIM Only Deals


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