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Getting the best SIM only deal
What is a SIM only deal?
A SIM only deal offers a package of minutes, texts and data for a monthly cost, much the same as a traditional mobile phone contract. The difference, however, is that you won't be paying additional money for a new phone. This allows you to potentially save hundreds of pounds per year. We have a range of SIM only deals ranging from 1 month - 24 months, all offering great value.
Remember if you purchase a 12 or 24 month SIM only contract you will be expected to pay for the duration of that contract, just as you would a mobile phone contract.
Pros and cons of a SIM only deal
As with all things in life there are pros and cons to each purchase we make. Purchasing a SIM only deal is no different.
- Lower montly costs - SIM only deals are ideal if your happy with your current phone. A large percentage of your monthly bill will actually go towards the cost of the phone anyway. So it makes sense that if you're only paying for minutes, texts and data your monthly bill will be far cheaper. A the top range handset plus a monthly plan of UNLIMITED minutes, text and data can set you back about £108.00 per month over 2 years. If you keep your existing phone you can get the same minutes, texts and data for £34.00 per month, saving you a whopping £64.00 per month.
- Choose any provider - All mobile phone providers offer SIM only deals. You're not trapped for up to 2 years, allowing you to move provider more frequently. Giving you the best opportunity to get the best deals. SIM only deals also come with a whole host of provider freebies. Vodafone's Red Entertainment SIM only Plans offer you a choice of entertainment packs including; Amazon Prime, Now TV, Sky Sports or Spotify. EE's Smart SIM only Plan offer Swappable Benifts including Amazon Prime and BT Sports and on the odd occasion Apple Music for 6 months. So shop around to get the best deal.
- More flexible contracts - You don't have to commit to 24 month contracts. A 24 month contract is the 'norm' when purchasing a new mobile phone contract as it can take that long for you to pay for the handsets plus the services you use during that period. You'll be able to change your plan more often, making sure you get the minutes, texts and data you actually need.
- Unlocking your phone - When you purchased you current moblie phone contract, the chances are that your phone is locked to that particular network. Mobile providers have different policies and processes for unlocking phones. For example, some will only unlock your mobile phone after a certain period of time has passed and will charge a fee, while some will unlock your phone at any time for free. If you are on a pay monthly contract and are outside your minimum contract period, most providers will unlock your phone for free. Details of your provider’s handset unlocking procedure will usually be available on their website.
- No new phone - If all you want, want you really really want is the latest phone, then a SIM only deal may not be for you, but to be honest are there really any major technology breakthroughs between versions of a phone. Yes sometimes there may be a better camera or it's a little more powerful, but surely you can wait for another 12 or 24 months? And save hundreds of pounds in the meantime.
Can I keep my current phone number?
Yes. There are just a couple of steps you have to complete first.
- Make sure you can switch network - Check with your existing network to make sure there are no cancellation charges if you switch network. These cancellation charges will usually apply if you are still within the contract time length of your current contract.
- Choose your new SIM only deal - Keeping your existing mobile phone and taking out a SIM only contract is a great way of saving money, in some cases it could half your current monthly cost. We have hundreds of SIM only deals for you to choose from, from all the leading networks and retailers in the UK.
- Get a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC code) - Once you have decided to leave your exisitng network and choosen your new SIM only deal, you need to call your existing network and ask them for a PAC Code. If you phone your existing network up, Ofcom have insisted that they have to give you your PAC Code immedialety. At this stage your network may try to tempt you to stay with them, offering you a better deal.
- Give your PAC code to your new network - If your existing network has been unable to tempt you to stay with them, call up your new network and give them the PAC Code you got from your exisitng network, once you have given your new network the PAC Code, it usually take 24 hours for your mobile phone number to be switched to your new network.
Will I be credit checked for a SIM only deal?
If you are looking for a SIM only deal with your current network, they already have all your details so a credit check is highly unlikely.
You'll have to pass credit check if your looking for a monthly rolling contract or a 12 or 24 month SIM only contract with another network. If you fail a credit check there are some great Pay As You Go SIM only deals on the market, the only possible disadvantage with this, is you have to regularly top up.
Remember if you fail the credit check it will go on your credit report and may affect your credit rating.
Should I choose a well know company?
Not necessarily. Welcome to the world of Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). When one company uses another company's network, they are known as MVNOs. For example giffgaff and Tesco are MVNOs of O2, Virgin and Asda are MVNOs of EE although Virgin is moving to Vodafone in 2021. MVNOs pay the providers money to use their networks.
So all the lesser known SIM only providers will not reduce the quality of your phone signal as between them they will all use one of the big 4 provider's (EE/BT, Vodafone, O2, Three) networks.
So it should be more about the SIM only deal you're getting rather than the name of the company you choose. Just be aware that some newly formed providers come and go, so you may get left high and dry, so please do some checks (how long have they been in business, how many customers do they have etc...) prior to taking a SIM only deal from a lesser known company.
Which SIM Card do I need?
It really depends on the type of phone you currently have. It's best to know which you need before ordering your new SIM. There are three different SIM card sizes: Standard, Micro and Nano.
- Standard SIM - The Standard SIM card is the oldest SIM on the block, and was born around 1996/7. How old is old, well the iPhone 3GS (released June 2009) used it but it’s rarely used in phones today. It is the largest of the three SIM types, measuring 25x15mm.
- Micro SIM - All the manufactruers attempted to make the next mobile phone smaller then the previous version. In order to acheive this they needed a smaller SIM. Hence the invention of the Micro SIM (released in 2010). They are still used in some newer phones but not many. It measures 15x12mm
- Nano SIM - Nano SIM cards are the smallet of all 3 measuring 12.3x8.8mm. They are the most widely used today. If you're buying a new phone it’s will almost certainly one of these SIM cards.
There are several ways to find the type of SIM Card your mobile phones uses; you can use our SIM Card Finder, look on the packaging your phone came in or the internet (Google) for specifications on your mobile phone.
However, most providers will now send you a 'Multi SIM Card' this SIM Card contains all 3 sizes and you just pop out the size you need for your phone.
Introducing the Mulit SIM card
A Multi SIM card is a three in one SIM card which can be used in every type of smartphone or tablet. Most networks now provide Multi SIM cards. The size of the SIM card is definded by the plastic around it. The Multi SIM card contains a Standard, Micro and Nano SIM card within it. It makes financial sense to the networks, why pay manufacturers the cost of making 3 different types of SIM card when you can pay for one SIM card that contains all three.
If your mobile phone requires a Standard SIM card you can just pop the SIM card you recieve from your network straight in to your mobile phone.
If your mobile phone requires a Micro SIM card, just pop or cut the SIM card you recieve along the outer dashed/dotted line.
If your mobile phone requires a Nano SIM card, just cut or pop the SIM card you recieve along the inner dashed/dotted line.
Do you have the best SIM only deals?
We like to thinks so, we have all the leading networks and all the largest online retailers, giving you hundreds of SIM only deals to choose from, for mobile phones, tablets and wifi. Below is a current list of our existing Network SIM only deal providers.
SIM cards, SIM types & how they work
SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module. A sim card is like a computer only much much smaller. Your sim card tells your phone which network to use when calling, sending text messages, browsing the inernet, using apps, send pictures or videos etc...
Each sim card contains an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) Number and authentification key. When you turn your phone on it gets your IMSI number from the sim card and sends this number to your network. Your network then checks to see if the IMSI number belongs to them. If it does, it can then monitor your use and bill you for the correct amount or check your texts, calls and data use against your allowances.
Different parts of a SIM Card
You'll see that a SIM Card is split into multiple areas. Each individual area is called a Pin and each pin has it's own job.
- Pin 1 - is for connecting to the phone’s power supply
- Pin 2 - is to reset the SIM if required
- Pin 3 - provides the SIM with a clock signal for its processor
- Pins 4 and 8 - are reserved for future uses
- Pin 5 - is to ground the chip
- Pin 6 - can be used to communicate with an NFC enabled mobile phone
- Pin 7 - controls the interaction between the phone and the SIM