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SIM Only

SIM only contract or SIMO is where your contract only involves a SIM card and not a phone, you receive minutes, texts and data as part of the contract.

A SIM only contract offers you a lot more flexibility than a standard contract because you are not tied into 2 or 3 year contracts. A SIM only contract is typically 1 month to 12 months and will be cheaper than a standard phone contract too.

If you are happy with your existing handset or you have bought a new handset outright then a SIM only contracts gives you everything you need and added flexibility. Because you are not paying off the handset cost as part of your contract the monthly cost is considerably reduced for the same minutes, texts and data.

If you already have the handset you want to use, all you need is to know what size SIM you need so that it will fit in the SIM reader and you are good to go, however, a lot of providers will offer a combi-SIM which contains a few sizes so you just snap the sim out to the size you need.

SIM only is great if you want to keep your existing handset because you are no longer paying the handset charge of the contract so you get the same benefits but at a greatly reduced rate.

Who do you compare?

In contrast to traditional phone contracts with a handset the smaller companies are more well known in the SIM only world, they offer very competitive pricing and have built their business around handset free deals. We still compare all of the largest mobile phone operators but we will focus on the smaller brands for our explanations.


This is probably the best known of the short term contract providers, giffgaff don’t do long term contracts, every contract is a rolling 30 day contract. You are sent a Pas As You Go (PAYG) SIM card that you add a GoodyBag to create a 30 day rolling contract that includes data, minutes and texts. giffgaff offer an unlimited GoodyBag that gives you unlimited data so you have no restrictions at all. Also, because these only last 30 days, you can switch up the GoodyBag each month depending on your needs.

It uses the O2 network for coverage so you can be confident of great signal too.


VOXI is the new kid on the block and is a sim only offering from Vodafone so you have great reception over the country. They only have a small selection of tariffs, but they are great if you love social media because certain apps are wont contribute to your monthly data usage.

The apps that are included in the deal are Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Pintrest, Snapchat, Twitter, Viber and WhatsApp.

iD Mobile

Maybe not a familiar name, but when we tell you it is run by Carphone Warehouse you can ease any worries that you have. Running the Three network you can be confident that the coverage is strong and their prices are some of the lowest tariffs in the market.

iD Mobile pride themselves on simplicity and competitive pricing and therefore you don’t get any rewards or incentives like other networks but what you do get is jargon free explanations and honest pricing. You are also not tied for them with a long commitment as all of their contracts are 1 month rolling contracts.


SMARTY is again on the three network and believe in being different and a bit smart, they don’t want you to pay for things that you don’t need so all of their plans have unlimited UK standard calls and texts and then you pick how much data you want from 3 different amounts. You can also select a tariff that allows you to sell back your unused data each month. There is no credit check with this provider.


Lebara offer rolling 30 day SIM only plans that auto renew, they are best known for their generous international minutes so if you have friends and family abroad that you call often then Lebara’s tariffs should eb compared.

Lebara’s international minutes cover 41 countries including India, Australia, USA, Spain, China and Poland

Tesco mobile

The supermarket giants, entered the mobile world a long time ago and have a robust network running on the O2 network, they have 12 month contracts with very generous data allowance for the monthly cost.

You can also get your Tesco Clubcard points too and if you have the Tesco Clubcard Plus, then you also receive double data on selected plans.

SIM only Frequently asked questions

Because you are not receiving a new handset as part of the contract. When you take a traditional contract with a new handset the handset cost is split over the term of the contract which is why you pay different amounts for the same contract with different handsets. If you are happy with your handset you should change to SIM only because your existing contract will likely remain the same price even though you have paid off the phone so you are wasting money.

No, as part of the contract the SIM card and delivery is free to you, all you pay for is the selected contract.

Yes, you will need a PAC (porting authority code) which you can get from texting ‘PAC’ to 65075 and you will receive a text message back with your code. It is best to do this before your current contract ends and then when you receive your new SIM card contact your new supplier and give them the code and your existing telephone number and they will do everything for you.

Yes, as 5G becomes more common networks are releasing 5G SIM cards so look out for these deals.

Yes, you are still contracted as normal to a network so they will offer a variety of benefits to you, it is usually best to download their app to know exactly what is offer that month.

SIM only gives a flexibility on the contract length that you don’t get with a handset deal, you can get a deal from 30 days to 12 months and in some cases 24 months but we wouldn’t recommend this in case anything happens to your handset.

If you don’t want a new handset or you prefer to purchase them outright then 100% SIM only is a great deal for you, or if your contract has expired and the new phone you want is 4 months from release then it is a great way to reduce your bill for these months and then switch to a new contract when the new phone is out that you want.

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