The Best SIM Only Deals in the UK for 2016

The Best SIM Only Deals in the UK for 2016

31 May 2016

You may not have realised this, but it is possible to save money on your mobile phone costs after the end of your network provider’s initial contract period, simply by keeping hold of your current phone (or by buying a newer unlocked model) and switching over to a SIM Only deal. A SIM Only deal is a mobile phone contract without the ‘free’ or heavily subsidised mobile phone added on to it.

This means that you will no longer have to pay for a portion of the total cost of the mobile telephone handset you use along with your regular monthly payment for line rental, texts, data and inclusive minutes. In fact, you will only have to pay for the calls, texts and minutes that you need. This means you could end up paying significantly less for your mobile phone contract per month, overall.

If you are satisfied with the performance of your current mobile phone handset, or if you have bought a newer one, or even been gifted am used but serviceable mobile phone handset from a friend or a relative, then a SIM Only deal can save you a great deal of money.

It is surprising how many customers, after they come to the conclusion of their initial eighteen month or two year contract period, continue to pay their mobile phone network the same amount of money every single month, despite the contractual term having finished, and them being completely free to go elsewhere or select a different deal. And you will not necessarily have to move over to a new network, and go through the hassle of changing or porting across your telephone number: SIM Only deals can save you money even if you stick with the same provider.

SIM only deals are great value for money, and almost always offer more ‘bang for your buck’ than simply switching to Pay As You Go (PAYG) or continuing with your current contract. They are available in a whole range of contract lengths, which can range from just a single month (so you only need to give around 30 days notice to switch provider or deal) to longer (and cheaper) one or two year term plans. Here are some of the top deals on the market today, so you can start to find out for yourself.

Best SIM Only Deal without a call time limit

LIFE Mobile SIM 6GB data
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts

£13.45

a month

30 day plan

Get Sim



The ‘Maxi Plan’ from LIFE mobile grants you unlimited minutes and texts, along with a reasonably sized 3G mobile data allowance. If you predominantly use traditional phone and text services (as opposed to data hungry alternatives such as Skype or WhatsApp messenger) then this deal will offer you great value for money. The only slight downside with LIFe’s deal is that it only offers you slower (but still reasonable) 3G data speeds, and not the newer and faster 4G technology - but when it is this cheap who is going to complain?

Best all-round value SIM

iD Mobile SIM 4GB data
500 minutes
5000 texts

£10.00

a month

1 month contract

Get Sim



A new challenger in the highly competitive mobile phone market, iD from The Carphone Warehouse, offer a mixture of 4G data, a bundle of text messages and a great value price to boot. It operates on a 30 day rolling contract, which will allow you to switch your tariff at short notice, should the need arise. And because of their unique ‘Shockproof’ feature, the total cost of your monthly bills will be automatically subject to a cap - so you do not accidentally overspend on your monthly mobile phone bill by more than a certain, preset amount.

Best 4G SIM Only Deal

Three SIM Unlimited data
200 minutes
Unlimited texts

£20.00

a month

12 month contract

Get Sim



Three are a network who always offer some of the best value deals on mobile data, and their SIM only offering is no different. If you enjoy streaming data - using services such as Netflix or Spotify to access your music and movies, then their ‘All You Can Eat’ data plan will let you download data and apps to your heart’s content with totally unlimited data usage, all for a single fixed monthly fee.

Best SIM-Only Deal with a Free Gift

BT Sim 2GB data
500 minutes
Unlimited texts

£10.00

a month

Free for 2 months
£15.00 a month for
non-BT customers
and 2 months at £5

Get Sim



BT Mobile generously offer you a BT Sport subscription with their SIM only contracts, through their BT Sport Lite app. This is a great way to access premium sports on a budget - and although it may not make it onto your big screen TV, you will be able enjoy live sport on your iOS or Android device on the go. Be careful with the amount of data that you choose, though, as watching a full football match could easily use up a gigabyte or more of your precious data allowance, so it is recommended that you go for at least 2GB of data per month if you are planning on using this feature on a regular basis.

Best Media Streaming Deal

Vodafone Sim 4GB data
Unlimited minutes and texts
6 months FREE
Now TV, Spotify,
or Sky Sports Mobile TV

£22.00

a month

Get Sim



Vodaphone don’t just offer a generous allowance of mobile data, they also add in a six month contract with a streaming service of your choice: Spotify, Now TV or Sky Sports Mobile TV. These three services can individually cost you up to ten pounds per month, so you might be able to make a massive saving if you already subscribe to one of the services, or if you are wanting to try one out for yourself.

Fast 4G Data SIM

EE Sim 1GB of 4G data
1000 minutes
Unlimited texts

£14.99

a month

12 month plan

Get Sim



EE can boast the biggest and fastest network in all of the UK - and coupled with their award winning reliability they are a force to be reckoned with. Their 4G SIMs offer fast internet speeds, whether you want to stream sports, enjoy entertainment on demand or just post on Facebook and Twitter.

Best Value 4G SIM Only Deal

FreedomPop Sim 2.25GB of data
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts

FREE

for the first month

£6.99 a month thereafter
One-time activation fee of £0.99
30 day plan

Get Sim



FreedomPop may not be a familiar name to you, but not for long with deals like this: How does getting your first month totally free, with 1250 minutes, 1250 texts and 1.25GB of data sound? Plus an extra 500MB of free data just for signing up? And all at the price of only £4.99 per month? This challenger certainly looks like they are ready to compete with the big boys.

Most Flexible SIM deal - with a Social Conscience

The Peoples Operator Sim 1GB 4G data
600 minutes
Unlimited texts

£8.99

a month

1 month contract

Get Sim



The People’s Operator offer a unique twist: 10% of everything you spend is directly donated to a charity or good cause, which is chosen by you when you sign up. So you aren’t just getting a great deal, you are doing your bit for society by helping others too. With great value plans including a 1GB data allowance on their one month rolling contract, everyone is a winner!

Best Value For Money SIM Only Deal

Talk Mobile 4GB data (3G)
3000 minutes
5000 texts

£10.00

a month

12 month contract

Get Sim



The Large SIM only plan from Talkmobile benefits from a ‘double data’ offer, which is now available for a limited time only. Doubling your data means that you get a generous 2GB of mobile data allowance for the price they normally charge for just a single gigabyte. That’s a great big slice of data for a pocket friendly price. Talkmobile always offer good value, and their deals are simple to understand.

Best value 3G SIM

ASDA Sim 1.5GB data (3G)
600 minutes
Unlimited texts

£10.00

a month

30 day plan

Get Sim



Asda the supermarket believe in smart prices, and their mobile phone network is no different. Yes, it’s only 3G and not the latest 4G technology, but with a generous smattering of minutes (600 in total), completely unlimited texts and 1.5GB of mobile data this is a really good deal if internet speed is not of the essence. It is all powered by EE - which means that you will benefit from their market leading network coverage and reliability - and if you decide it is not for you, there is no need to worry as the contract term is only for a rolling 30 days.

Best Deal for Lots of 3G Data

Virgin Mobile Sim 10GB data
5000 minutes
Unlimited texts

£23.00

a month

30 day plan

Get Sim



Virgin Mobile are able to offer data gluttons a great big data allowance for a very fine price. This is in addition to totally unlimited calls and text messages. Another ‘virtual network’ that is powered by EE, their flexible tariffs allow you to switch to a better deal whenever you want and they offer an exclusive app called ‘WiFi Buddy’ which means that you can benefit from a huge number of WiFi hotspots around the country, so you may not even find that you can use all of the mobile data every month.

Best all-rounder SIM Only Deal

Giff Gaff 2GB data
500 minutes
Unlimited texts

£12.00

a month

30 day plan

Get Sim



When you take everything into consideration: the amount of data that is used by the average mobile phone user, combined with the average number of calls and text messages that they ues each month, then there is one network which stands out as the market leader for overall all-round best value. That network is giffgaff - who are powered by O2. They offer a very competitive data allowance - at ultra fast 4G speeds - combined with a large number of inclusive minutes (and free calls to other phones on the same network) and a completely unlimited text message allowance.

What Type of SIM Card is Required?

If you have got one of the very latest generation of mobile phone handsets (such as the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus - or one of the older but equally capable 5S or 5C models) then your mobile phone will use the newest type of SIM card, which is known as a ‘nano SIM’. It is not just Apple’s mobile phones that use this tiny SIM card - you will also find Nano SIMs in use in a variety of handsets from other manufacturers, such as the HTC One (M9), or Sony’s top of the range models the Xperia Z3 and the Z3 compact.

If you have a mobile phone that was introduced earlier, such as the iPhone 4S or almost any Samsung model, then you will most likely find that your telephone handset requires a ‘Micro SIM’. Sometimes the Micro SIM comes separately, or sometimes you will find it is included along with a nano SIM, and you simply push out the size that you require. This means that only one SIM is required for many different handsets, and makes it easier for the end user.

If you use an older,basic non-smartphone, or have a Blackberry model, then you may well have a ‘standard’ SIM card - only the Q and Z series from Blackberry take the Micro SIM, whereas the passport takes a Nano SIM.

To keep things simple, a lot of networks now supply a 3-way combi SIM, which contains all three SIM card sizes together, and you simply punch out the part you need to fit in whatever phone you might have.

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