Most people these days get a new phone on contract, but if you can afford to pay for that phone upfront (or you’re now out of contract on your phone) it makes much better financial sense to get a SIM-only tariff. In fact, our round-up of the best SIM deals in the UK could save you a fortune in the long run.
A big concern for many is that you’ll lose your current phone number if you switch. But that’s not true: you can transfer your current phone number to a new network and the whole process is simple if you use the text-to-switch service.
Here, we’ve picked the very best SIM-only deals available right now.
The best SIM-only deals right now
Three’s crazy unlimited SIM-only deal is back for Black Friday. You can get the first six months for just £10 per month, which then doubles for the rest of the contract (which is 24 months in total). There’s also 100GB for £16 per month with no cost increase. In addition, new customers can get a £50 gift card when they switch to Three. View deal here.
Smarty is doubling the data of its 50GB contract for Black Friday, which means you can get 100GB of data on a monthly rolling plan for just £15 per month, with unlimited texts and calls, and roaming up to 12GB in certain EU countries. View deal here.
iD also currently has a great limited time unlimited data offer, if you don’t mind cashback. You can get the iD unlimited SIM for just £16 per month for 12 months. View deal here.
It’s also worth checking out 1pMobile. Whilst this is a Pay As You Go offer, it offers your usage at the following prices: 1p per minute on calls, 1p per text and 1p per MB of data used. If your usage is low, then this could be a good option. Check out 1pMobile here.
Which SIM-only tariff do you need?
Unlike smartphone contracts, which typically stretch to 24 months, SIM-only deals are much shorter. Most SIM-only deals come with 12 month contracts, but there are many rolling monthly contracts – sometimes at the same price – that are ideal for visitors to the UK or for anyone who doesn’t want to be tied in.
The price you pay per month will largely depend on how many minutes and texts you need, and how much data you require.
Pinning down the best SIM-only contract is tricky due to the huge number of combinations of minutes, texts and data available. Some providers also offer deals with cashback redemption – which means that you won’t be billed the amount advertised, but you can claim your refunds from the provider.
Most people will fall into one of three camps that we’ll focus on here: those who simply want to make the odd call or text, and use their PC to go online; those who make calls and texts, go online, check emails, use apps and perhaps watch the odd video; and those who are permanently glued to their smartphone.
Or, to put that more simply, light, moderate and heavy users.
SIM deals for light use
There are plans available from not much more than £5 per month if you plan on using your SIM for light use:
All of iD’s contracts offer bill capping, data rollover and Roam like at Home making it an even more appealing option with no nasty surprises. You can get 3GB data with unlimited minutes and texts for just £6 per month on a rolling contract, along with five months worth of Apple Music, Apple Arcade or Apple News+ completely for free. View deal here.
Lebara also offers some great light plans, such as the 2GB rolling plan for £5 per month. With this you also get 100 minutes to 41 international countries – great if you need to call family abroad. You also get 1000 UK minutes and 1000 texts. View deal here.
Giffgaff is currently offering more data on all of its goodybags, including the golden goodybag which is growing from 10GB to 15GB for just £10 per month. This also includes unlimited texts and calls, plus 5G connectivity. View deal here.
SIM deals for moderate use
If you use 20GB or above, it’s worth considering a moderate use SIM plan. Here’s some of the most competitive right now:
For moderate use, and also for teenagers, the best deal is from Voxi, which is powered by Vodafone. It’s an interesting one, because social media usage is unlimited and won’t eat into your data. Currently, you can grab 15GB data, unlimited social media, unlimited calls and texts and 5G, all for £15 per month on a monthly rolling contract. View deal here.
You can also get a very cheap deal from iD via Mobiles.co.uk, which includes 36GB data, unlimited calls and texts and 5G all for £7.50 per month for 12 months, with £54 cash by redemption. In addition, any unused data will be rolled over to the next month. View deal here.
Tesco Mobile also has a decent offer for Black Friday for Clubcard members. It’s free to sign up for a Clubcard, and you can also get discounts on your shopping and more perks. Grab 60GB data, unlimited minutes, texts and 5G, all for £15 for 12 months. View deal here.
SIM deals for heavy use
For anyone who wants the freedom to text and use the internet as much as they like, our favourite deal is Three’s unlimited SIM for £10 for the first six months. However, there are other options to consider:
O2 throws in perks on some of its biggest data plans. The 150GB for £20 per month on a 24 month plan includes six months worth of Disney+ for streaming, plus free minutes, texts and 5G. View deal here.
Superdrug also has great flexible option which includes unlimited data, unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 4G and extra card points for Superdrug members. All of this costs £20 per month, and is available as a monthly rolling contract. View deal here
This cashback Vodafone deal from mobiles.co.uk includes unlimited data, unlimited minutes, texts, 5G and unlimited download speeds for £14.50 per month for 12 months. Once you’ve purchased, you can save £114 by redemption. Vodafone is also currently offering another cashback deal, with 100GB for £9.50 per month. View deals here.
Tablet plans (Data SIMs)
If you’re looking for a SIM for your tablet, then you can’t simply take the SIM out of your phone and stick it in another device. You need to get a SIM that uses a data-only plan (and don’t forget that not all tablets offer SIM-card slots, in which case you’ll only be able to connect to WiFi).
How much data you need will very much depend on the activities you intend to enjoy on your tablet, plus whether you spend any of your time within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. If you want a SIM just to cover you on the odd occasion that you use your tablet away from home and need to continue to access your email, you certainly don’t need to pay out extra for a 4G plan.
Some of the best SIM-only deals for tablets come from Three, which offers numerous plans including 15GB for £14 per month and 40GB for £18 per month. You can view those deals here.
When is Black Friday 2021? – Should you wait for a better deal?
Black Friday arrives on Friday 26 November this year, followed by Cyber Monday on 29 November, which leads to the question: should you wait until then for a better deal?
Yes, and no. In the past, the biggest and best Black Friday deals were typically reserved for the big day, but now Black Friday deals appear all through November. If you see dramatic Black Friday discounts before 26 November, just go for it!
Mobile SIM providers have already started to drop the price of plans, and we’ll highlight some of the best options right here in this article – with new updates as soon as big deals release.
Some retailers that hold pre-Black Fridays sales also promise that prices won’t go any lower on Black Friday itself and offer to refund customers back the difference if it does. We’re answering all your Black Friday-related questions here.
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