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What is a SIM only deal?

SIM-ply all you need to know...


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This article relates to products sold at Carphone Warehouse is part of Currys.

What is a SIM only deal?

A SIM only deal is exactly what it sounds like. Only a SIM! You buy a SIM card which comes with a monthly allowance of minutes, texts and data.

SIM only phone deals are similar to monthly mobile phone contracts, apart from the fact that you don’t get a mobile phone. You buy the SIM, and the SIM only.

Buying a SIM only plan means you can use the SIM card with a phone you already own and love (just as long as it's compatible and unlocked). Or you can pair up with a cheap SIM free phone. This can save you a lot of money each month, as you’re not paying for the cost of a mobile phone. You’re just paying for minutes, texts and data. Oh, and you also get to choose the network you want.

Unlimited SIM only

You might find that a set amount of monthly data is quite restrictive. Or maybe a cap on the minutes and texts you use is holding you back? Then an unlimited SIM only deal could be what you need. It lets you use your phone without restriction – giving you all the talk time, texting and data you need each month for a set price.

The cost of an unlimited SIM only deal might be a bit higher than a fixed allowance SIM, but that little extra cost gives you more freedom. If you’re a heavy data user but don’t always have access to Wi-Fi, then an unlimited data SIM only deal might be best for you. Remember - unlimited data SIM only deals keep you in data all month long, without expensive data fees.

Rolling SIM only contract

A rolling SIM only contract is one of the best SIM only deals because it gives you lots of flexibility. With a rolling plan, you’re not committed to a long-term contract of 12 or 24 months. You can leave your contract at any time, as long as you give 30 days’ notice. Then at the end of each month, your SIM only contract automatically renews for another month, unless you cancel.

Why choose SIM only?

There are some great reasons to go SIM only. Firstly, price. There are some really cheap SIM only plans available, you can shop around to find the best SIM only plan for you, and SIM only deals often work out cheaper than pay monthly contracts.

Another reason for choosing SIM only is that credit checks are less rigorous than long-term pay monthly mobile deals. Plus you can keep your phone number when switching, which avoids load of hassle.

SIM only contracts also give you lots of flexibility:

· You can buy a new SIM free phone, or use one you already own.

· You can choose the network provider that’s right for you.

· You can choose from a range of cheap mobile SIM only deals according to how much data, minutes and texts you want.

· You can choose from a range of prices to suit your budget.

Is SIM only a good choice for me?

If your pay monthly mobile phone contract is up and you’re looking for a better deal on minutes, texts and data then yes, a SIM only deal could be the right choice for you. Also, if you’re looking for real flexibility and a switch to another mobile network, then SIM only is the way to go.


When it comes to data limits, you might want to get a SIM only deal with a set amount of data each month. It’s a good way of keeping costs down. But if you’re a heavy data user and that feels a little restrictive, you should think about going for an unlimited data SIM only deals. Then you can stream away all month without any worries!

Texts and minutes

SIM only deals offer you a variety of choices when it comes to text and minute allowances, so you can easily get the amount you need each month.

Contract length

SIM only deals give you real flexibility when it comes to contract length. You don’t need to be tied into a long 24-month contract that you get with monthly phone plans. Instead, you can choose from rolling 1-month and 12-month SIM only deals. With rolling SIM only deals you’ve got the option of cancelling at any time, as long as you give a month’s notice to your network provider.

Roaming charges

Some SIM only deals (such as those offered by iD Mobile), offer great value roaming plans that let you enjoy your phone abroad without racking up huge charges. You simply use your monthly allowance of minutes, texts and data to call, text or connect to the ‘net while in other countries,

Best SIM only deals

We’ve got some great and cheap SIM only deals for you to choose from. Take a look…

Vodafone SIM only deals

All Vodafone SIM only plans, even the cheapest ones, include unlimited minutes and texts. The main thing to consider is how much data you want to use. There are plenty of options including 2GB, 6GB, 12GB, 25GB, 50GB and unlimited data. You can choose 12-month or 24-month SIM only contracts.

If you’re already a Vodafone customer and your current contract is ending, you can take advantage of a Vodafone SIM only upgrade to continue using the network at a cheaper rate. Not sure if you qualify for a Vodafone SIM only plan? Use our upgrade checker to find out.

iD Mobile SIM only deals

An iD Mobile SIM only deal is really easy to manage and comes packed with great benefits. Each iD Mobile SIM only plan includes EU roaming as standard (up to 30GB), meaning you can use your monthly allowances of data, texts and talk time just like you would at home in over 50 countries. Data rollover is in every package too, letting you roll any unused data into your next month’s allowance. iD Mobile SIM only deals also come as 1, 12 or 24-month contracts. Those super short 1-month rolling contracts give you all the flexibility and freedom you need.

SIM only FAQs

What is a Pay as you go SIM?

A Pay as you go SIM (or PAYG) lets you buy a bundle of allowances (texts, data and minutes) each month, meaning you don’t pay for each individual SMS/MMS, call or megabyte.

Once your month is up, you’ll need to buy more credit. Rolling contract SIMs work in this way, but your contract automatically refreshes at the end of each month and rolls into the next, avoiding any break in service for you. iD and VOXI SIM cards work in this way, meaning you set up a Direct Debit to pay your rolling monthly costs. This Direct Debit can be changed or cancelled at any time.

What is a data only SIM plan?

A data only SIM provides a monthly allowance of data, but not minutes or texts. This is great if you only use online apps like WhatsApp, Messenger or Skype to make calls. It’s also handy if you want to use the data only SIM card to power connectivity for a Mi-Fi (mobile WiFi router) or your laptop.

Can you upgrade to a SIM only plan?

If your network offers SIM only plans, it should give you the opportunity of upgrading to SIM only (with the exception of Pay as you go SIMs).

Do SIM only contracts do credit checks?

No credit checks are needed for Pay as you go SIMs and upgrade SIM only deals. This can be really helpful if your finances are tight, you’ve been rejected for a phone contract previously, or if you have no credit history. Other SIM only deals require financial checks, but they’re less strict than they would be if you were buying a handset at the same time.

Any more questions?

Is there anything else you’d like to know about choosing the best SIM only deal? If you want to talk to an expert, feel free to pop into one of our stores for a chat.

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