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SIM Free (Handset Only) Deals

Here at MoneySuperMarket we know that not everyone is looking for a phone contract. Some people just want to buy a handset instead.

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There are plenty of phones to pick from on handset-only deals, including the latest models from Apple and Samsung, plus older, more affordable handsets. You can buy phone-only deals from various retailers too, so you know you’re getting the best deal around.

Prices vary depending on how advanced the phone is, so bear this in mind, and buy a phone that’s best suited to your needs. If you only need a phone mainly for calling and texting people, then opting for one of the lower-end models will save you money. However, if you’re on your phone constantly, downloading apps, sending emails or taking photos, one of the flagship options would probably be best.

Ultimately, you shouldn’t spend more than necessary to get a phone that’s perfect for you.

Can I get a mobile phone without a contract?

You can, but we don’t offer these deals. If you buy a phone without a contract, you’ll need to pay for the handset upfront, which is a big expense. However, it can save you money in the long run, as you can then take a SIM-only deal which only charges for data, texts and minutes.

Lots of these deals are available on a rolling 30-day basis, letting you cancel and switch to a better deal without having to wait out a lengthy contract.

Can I buy a phone only whilst on a plan?

You have two choices when it comes to buying a phone – buy it outright (with one of the handset-only deals) or on a pay monthly plan.

The former means paying for the phone upfront, which can involve spending hundreds of pounds (or even £1,000+, depending on the handset) in one go. The latter involves paying for the phone in monthly instalments, usually over 12, 24, 36 or 48 months.

If you buy a phone on contract, then once your plan ends, the phone is yours to do with it as you see fit. You can upgrade to a new model, or switch to a SIM-only deal (which is cheaper than a phone contract, as you only pay a set amount each month for data, calls and texts).

Some phones are locked to a particular network, so you may need to have it unlocked if you’re switching to another provider.

What are the disadvantages of pay-as-you-go phones?

  • No handset included: Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) deals often only cover the data, calls and texts, not the cost of the handset, so you’ll need to provide one yourself
  • Pricier handsets: If a PAYG deal does include a handset, it’ll cost more, as networks usually discount the phones they sell on contract
  • Higher charges: The price of calls and texts is usually higher for PAYG deals
  • No-credit cut off: No credit? Then you can’t use your phone for calls, texts or data, except to call the emergency services. So you’ll have to make sure you stay topped up. People will still be able to call and message you – you just won’t be able to call back or reply

Can I get an iPhone without a contract?

You can – but it’ll mean paying for it upfront, which could cost over £1,000 depending on the model.

Another option is to buy an iPhone on contract – then you pay for the handset (along with an allowance of data, call minutes and texts) in monthly instalments. Combine this with a small upfront fee, and you can buy the iPhone 14 for as little as £28.99 a month and the iPhone 13 for £26.99 a month.

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