A SIM only deal offers a package of minutes, texts and mobile data for a monthly cost, much the same as a traditional mobile phone contract. The difference, however, is that you don’t get a new handset; you get the SIM… only!
So why should you opt for a SIM only contract?
Well firstly, SIM only deals tend to be cheaper, as with traditional contracts you’re paying a premium each month within your contract to pay off the actual cost of your phone. So, with a SIM only deal (i.e. without getting a new phone) you’ll save money each month. On top of the savings, going SIM only means than that you can focus on getting the best deal to suit your usage needs - rather than just dealing with the tariffs available to ensure you get the handset you want.
Above all, SIM only deals are good for those who want flexibility. Rather than signing up for a 24 month contract, as with most mobile phone deals, with a SIM only contract you can make a commitment for as little as one month. This is a great advantage for those who might not know how many minutes, texts or megabytes of data they typically use each month.
Alternatively, you may choose to go SIM only if you’ve come to the end of your current phone contract and don’t fancy upgrading just yet as perhaps you’d rather wait until the next iPhone or Samsung hits the shelves in this scenario SIM only is a great interim solution.
The Advantages of SIM Only
SIM only deals are fast becoming one of the most popular options when getting a new phone contract. Compared to traditional mobile phone contracts, SIM only deals have many advantages.
First of all, they tend to be more flexible, and don’t require you to sign up to a two year contract, as with deals which come with mobile phone handsets.
Next, SIM only deals tend to be cheaper. New handsets are expensive and as you’re not forking out for a handset with your contract, networks don’t need to charge you as much for their services, which brings your monthly payments down.
Another advantage of going SIM only is that it’s easier to pass the credit check. If you’ve ever been turned down for a phone contract in the past, opting for a SIM only contract might be the best solution for getting the phone and tariff that you want. Again, because mobile phone networks aren’t ‘renting’ you a mobile phone handset, it not only brings down the price of your contract, but it also makes you a low risk candidate.
How does SIM only work?
SIM only deals are simple: select the right package of minutes, texts and data that suits your needs, insert the SIM card into your phone, and you’re good to go.
Users also have one of two options when going for a SIM only deal. Content with your existing handset? Because you’re only paying for a SIM card, you can simply pop your new SIM into your current mobile and immediately start saving the pennies! Alternatively, you can purchase the phone of your choice SIM-free, which is great for users who find it tricky getting past the credit check.
And did you know that you can still keep your phone number with a SIM only contract, even if you switch networks? Simply ask for your PAC code from your current network and transfer this over to your new provider.
Which SIM card should I buy?
There are three main types and sizes of SIM card available, which fit specific devices. These are:
- Standard SIM card (15mm x 25mm)
- Micro SIM card (12mm x 15mm)
- Nano SIM card (8.8m x 12.3mm)
But don’t panic if you’re not sure what size to go for, as most networks and operators will send a 3-in-1 SIM card, which allows you to select the SIM size that fits your phone or tablet. Sometimes called a Multi-SIM or Combi-SIM, these allow you to pop out the SIM from a plastic template, meaning that your network or operator only needs to send you one SIM regardless of your device.
This means that when you compare SIM cards with MoneySuperMarket, you won’t need to specify the SIM type as all the SIM cards that we have available will be sent to you as a 3-in-1, allowing you to make the adjustment when it arrives.
For reference, the iPhone 5 and onwards use Nano-SIM cards, whereas those of you looking to replace the older iPhone 4 or 4s SIM cards will need to opt for a slightly bigger Micro-SIM.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 uses a Micro SIM card, while the S6 and S6 Edge and upwards use Nano-SIMs.
How do I change my SIM Card?
SIM cards are incredibly easy, but also incredibly fiddly things to change. With the Nano SIM around the size of a fingernail, the chances of dropping one are quite high, trust us, we’ve been there plenty of times.
Almost all new handsets will ship with a small pin, which acts as a device to pop out your SIM card tray, which should easily slide out. If you can’t find the pin, fear not, as a paper clip of the pointed end of an earring normally does the trick. Although we can’t take any blame should your earring break during this process.
Place your SIM chip-side down on the tray and slide it back in to the handset. The phone should recognise this as a new SIM and prompt you to set it up.