Need a data only Sim deal for your tablet, phone or MiFi? Read on and we’ll talk you through what’s on offer and what you can expect for your outlay.
Our best data only SIM deals this week
What is a data only SIM?
Designed principally for tablets, a data-only SIM, sometimes called a ‘data SIM', gets you a monthly allowance of data in return for a fee.
Unlike more familiar, standard SIM only deals designed for smartphone users, what you don’t with get a data-only SIM are monthly allowances for texts and call minutes.
You can sign up for a data-only SIM on a one-month, rolling contract. Or a longer-term contract, which typically run to 12 months or 24 months.
Which networks offer data only SIMs?
You can get data only sims from the likes of BT Mobile, Smarty, Vodafone, EE, Three, iD Mobile and more. All of which have different selling points.
Pick a data-only SIM BT Mobile, for instance, and you’ll get really good coverage and speeds. If you’re on a budget and price is your priority, take a look at Three or iD Mobile.
You’ll find tips to help you choose a plan below…
What to look for in data-only SIM plans
With calls and text allowances out of the question, your chief considerations when shopping for a data-only sim are freebies and contract length.
And, of course, data allowance too. Here’s what you need to know…
When streaming movies on your tablet and downloading games, it’s easy to get through a fair bit of data.
If you’re not sure how much data you’re going to need, we’d suggest you initially sign up to a one-month data-only SIM and see how you get on.
That way you avoid paying a 12-month contract for a hefty allowance that you may not need.
5G and freebies
Some data only SIMs offer a 5G service in areas where it’s available and for no extra cost. Be mindful, though, you’ll need a 5G-compatible device to get it.
It’s also worth looking out for freebies. O2’s data only plans, for example, entitle you to membership of its O2 Priority customer rewards scheme.
If you’re not sure you need a data-only SIM for more than a few months, you might want to sign up to a rolling-contract, one-month deal.
That way you can cancel when you like, with just 30 days’ notice.
Conversely, if you think you’re going need one for a longer period (for example, you know you’re going to be commuting a few hours on the same route for a year), take a look at 12-month plans.
These typically work out a few pounds cheaper per month for comparable allowances.
Pros and cons of data only SIMs
- Small savings to be made because you’re not paying for calls and texts
- Option to use your data only SIM in a MiFi or laptop, if you need to
- A data only SIMs might be overkill if you only really use your tablet at home
- Savings are minimal compared with standard SIMs with calls and text allowances
Alternative SIM only plans
- 12-month SIM deals
- Pay as you go SIM deals
- Bad credit SIM only deals
- Cheap SIM only deals
- 30-day SIM only deals
- Unlimited data SIM only deals
How much data does the average person use?
The average Briton gets through about 3GB of data per month on their smartphone, according to Ofcom. But when it comes to data-only SIM deals for tablets, the amount of data you’ll need depends on how you’ll be using the internet.
If you’re planning to watch hours and hours of streaming services every day on your commute, we’d suggest you go for 10Gb or above.
Is there a data only SIM that doesn’t expire?
No, all data only SIMs expire eventually if you don’t use the allowance you’ve paid for. Although some networks allow you longer periods to use your data than others.
Three, for instance, gives you 24 months to use up 24GB on its Pay as You Go 24 data SIM plan. But other networks apply time limits of as short as one month or three months.
Can you use a data-only SIM in a smartphone?
You can. There’s nothing to stop you and the SIM card will work in your smartphone. But if you want to make calls you’ll need to make them over the internet with an app, such as WhatsApp, Skype or Viber.
Which gadgets are compatible with a data-only SIM?
You can use your data-only SIM in these devices:
- Dongles and MiFis