Going for a contract phone can often seem like the easy option. However, buying a phone outright and getting a SIM-only deal can get you a better deal in the long run. A look at your budget and phone usage will generally determine which is the best option for you. If you are looking to cut down expenses to boost your budget, SIM only deals are the best way to get cheaper mobile phone bills, saving you some extra money. If you can afford to buy a brand new phone upfront, or you are close to the end of your present contract, a SIM only deal is a good option for you.
SIM only deals are quite different from your typical smartphone contracts that often extend to 24 months, as they are often shorter. In fact, most are usually 12-month contracts. You can also opt for rolling monthly contracts, usually at the same price or for just a little more, an ideal plan for those just touching down in the UK.
Opting for SIM only is becoming more popular in the UK phone industry as of late. This is because it gives customers a cheaper means of using their mobile once the contract on their phone has run down. They can offer texts, calls and data, but as the name implies, they do not include the phone package. As a result, the SIM deals are way cheaper than typical phone deals and can present customers with the flexibility they need should they want a new device or not.
Consider the fact that millions of customers spend a large amount on their phones once their contract is run down, in essence paying for what they already paid for over again. This is what makes SIM deals viable. They can offer you a money saving alternative to traditional phone deals if you combine a SIM only plan with a SIM-free smartphone. We take a look at a few things you should know when considering going SIM only.
A Better Option?
A SIM only deal can save you some money by combining a SIM-free phone with a SIM only plan. You can see this in the case of new flagship smartphones that enter the market at a particularly high price.
What If the Phone is Locked To a Network?
Gone are the days when smartphones are locked to a carrier – back then you had to find a backdoor service to unlock the phone. Now, it is the standard for carriers to allow you to use any SIM that you choose once you are done paying for your phone contract. You may also pay a fee to have it unlocked earlier. Networks like Three even have their handsets unlocked from the beginning.
How About The SIM Card Size?
Depending on the phone you have, there will be one of three SIM card sizes available. You need to check which one your phone is using. Recently, phones are deviating from the traditionally known standard SIM size, and are opting for Nano and micro SIMs instead.
Be sure to know the SIM card size you have before buying a new SIM. However, just to be safe, carriers often make a triple SIM in one, so you can choose the size that fits best.
Can I Keep My Old Number?
Who doesn’t love to keep their old number that is already known by family, friends, and co-workers? The answer is we all do, so luckily you can keep your old number from your old network without any qualms. This can be done by using the PAC codes (Porting Authorization Code), which is a set of digits you can request from your present carrier. They allow you to port over your current number to your new carrier.
Choosing The Ideal Contract Length
A SIM only deal is more flexible when it comes to choosing the contract length. Typical contract lengths are 18 months to 2 years, which is not the case for phone contract deals. The catch with SIM only deals is that you choose between a 12-month plan or a one-month rolling plan, which means you can change plans as you see fit every month. The contract length you pick will depend on your own circumstances. Take a look at your needs and opt for something that fits your usage and budget. In general, you’ll get a better deal when you opt for 1-year plan.
Average Monthly Data Consumption
If you are going for a monthly plan, this may not be as much of a concern, as you can switch plans depending on your monthly usage. However, if you feel a year plan is the right choice, then it is important for you to know just how much data you consume on average, so you can factor this in when choosing a plan. Check your mobile data usage on your phone over a one month period to see if you will likely go beyond your current data allowance (or below it).
Texting and Calling
We all want everything unlimited – it’s in our nature! But in this case, you have to decide if you really need unlimited calls and text as part of your package. Depending on the nature of your business, texting and calling requirements will vary greatly. However, if you are the type that can do with less minutes and texts each period, then you could save yourself some money.
Again, this will depend on how well you know your finances, and how you plan your spending accordingly. You can choose between various SIM only deals, as long as they fit into your budget and provide the services you are looking for. We categorize users based on their mobile phone usage of texts, calls and data, in order to give you an idea of the best plans out there.
Light users: Users in this category rarely consume much data, usually spreading their phone usage evenly over texts, calls, and data.
Moderate user: Users in this category consume more data than light users. They tend to focus a bit more on data over texting and calling.
Heavy users: Users in this category are heavyweights when it comes to data consumption, as well as texting and calling. The plan for heavy users will usually include unlimited data, unlimited minutes, and unlimited texts, for example, you can check out the SMARTY new unlimited plan to see if it’s a good fit for you.
As well as looking at what you need most out of these options, you have to decide where the SIM will be used. Is it going into a dongle, a smartphone (you might want more minutes or texts), a Wi-Fi Router or a tablet? It should be noted that many network operators won’t allow you to change the SIM in-between device or for tethering. However, some network operators like SMARTY don’t have this limitation.
Settling on which is the best SIM only deal can be tricky due to the large number of combinations you can pick from data, text and minutes. All of these are offered by various networks, vying for your custom. However, you are likely to fall into one of the three categories mentioned earlier. There are users that make a few calls and texts, and use their computer to surf the web instead of their mobile. Conversely, you have those that come online, use mobile apps, watch a couple of videos, then make some calls. In other words, light, moderate, and heavy users. Finding what’s right for you is simply a case of weighing up your particular needs and going with the option that fits the best.