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The Essential Guide to SIM Only Plans

Introduction

In 2017, you don’t need to have an expensive mobile phone contract where you pay £30-£50 a month. It is possible to have a top of the range smartphone and not suffer a dent in your bank account on a monthly basis. You can get a ‘SIM only’ deal and still experience all the same benefits.

These deals will give you the freedom of changing provider if you want to further down the line and they are generally much cheaper too! Shopping around for the best SIM only deal is easy because of the range of different deals available, including different call minutes, texts and data. There are a couple of things you need to be clued up on first, so that you can choose the right SIM only deal for you.

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What you should be looking for

This varies from person to person depending on how much you use your phone, what you can afford to pay and so on. Some basic things you should be thinking about when shopping for a SIM only deal include the following:

  • How many minutes/texts you want
  • How much data allowance you need
  • If you want a shorter or longer contract (they usually range from 30 days – 12 months)
  • How you want to pay (direct debit or pay as you go)

Once you know what you want from your phone, you can tell the provider what your needs are.

What coverage is best?

SIM only deals are offered by a number of UK phone providers so you do have a lot of choice when doing your research. All providers are different and depending on where you live in the UK, there is going to be better coverage with some companies than others. If you are not sure about the reputation of a certain company, I recommend going for a shorter contract with them (i.e. 30 days). If you find coverage to be bad with this company, it’s then easy for you to move to another one as soon as your month-by-month contract is up. It’s actually possible to check the coverage in your area with different providers online through their individual websites.

The different SIMs

You might think all SIM cards are the same but that isn’t true. There are actually 4 different type of SIM cards and they are; nano SIM, combi SIM, micro SIM and mini SIM. They are all different sizes and some are not compatible with certain phones. Make sure you do your research as to what SIM card will work best with your device. The combi SIM seems to be the most popular at the moment because it’s actually 2 SIMs in one! Combi SIM is a standard SIM card with a micro SIM. The entire SIM card can be used on older phones but if you have a newer phone like an iPhone 6, you can pop out the mini SIM and use this on your device.

What are the cost of SIM only deals?

The various phone companies will offer you different prices for their SIM only deals but they will all be quite similar. There are actually a couple of sites online where you can compare the contracts to see which is most affordable for you, depending on your minutes, texts and data needs. Keep in mind however, price shouldn’t be the only decision maker for you. If you find a better company that you know has a good reputation, it might be worth paying that few pound extra just to guarantee a faultless service.

3G and 4G

The broadband network on your phone will either run on 3G or 4G, both of which are ideal for using on the go. 3G is the most popular and many people agree that it is the most effective for always keeping you connected. At this moment in time, the most reliable 4G networks in terms of coverage. is EE and O2 with 98%. These are closely followed by Three with 97% and Vodafone at 96%.

About locked handsets

If you have a current contract, you are locked to a certain provider until your contract ends. Your unlocked device will need to be unlocked if you are going for a SIM only contract with a different provider. It’s completely legal to unlock phones here in the UK, so this is not an issue at all and not something you need to worry about. You should keep in mind that although it’s free to unlock some phones, some will need to be done by a professional which will cost around £20.

Unlocking your phone is safe as long as you do it via the legit method, using the code provided rather than through a third person company. Please be aware however that unlocking your phone might automatically void any warranty you currently have. Once your phone of choice is unlocked, you can use it with any SIM deal that appeals to you. An unlocked phone generally gives you much more opportunities than one that is tied to a certain provider.

Conclusion

SIM only deals are perfect for those of you who don’t want to spend a huge amount of money to spend on a long contract. These set ups have a multitude of options and are very handy for people who are always on the go or who change their phone regularly. SIM only contracts are not as basic as they used to be. They are rising in popularity and that’s largely due to the fact that people are seeing how handy they are. Now that you have a little more information about SIM only plans, it should help you make the right decision for you.