Best SIM only deals for February 2018

ByDuncan Heaney
SIM card

Keep your phone, get the minutes and data you need, and pay less overall. These are three main benefits of choosing a SIM only plan. We’ve compared deals across the best UK networks and rounded up the top plans.

If you're happy with the phone you've currently got, or have inherited one from a friend or relative, then you could be much better off choosing a SIM-only plan. Plenty of UK customers get a 24 month phone contract and then keep paying the same monthly cost long after that initial term has finished. Is that you? Then good news - there's a fair chance you could save by switching to a SIM-only plan, even if you stay with the same network.

We like these pay-monthly SIM-only deals, because they're great value and give you more for your money than a pay-as-you-go plan. There are 1-month, 12-month, and 24-month plans - and even more over on our mobile site. But first let's take a look at the best of the best. 

The top 12 best value SIM-Only plans in the UK

Best value data

2GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts  

Discount on unused data!

£7.50a month

30 day contract  

Get deal 

The amazing thing about getting a SIM deal from Smarty - powered by Three - is that if you don't use up all your data for the month, the network will buy it right back from you. That's money off your next bill, and you know for sure that you're never being overcharged. 

 

 Best wallet-friendly deal

Tesco

6GB data

3000 minutes

5000 texts

£16.50 a month

12 month contract

Get deal

Tesco Mobile is a network that almost always comes with good value, and this deal gives you that in spades. You can claim Clubcard points for every £1 you spend too, and lots of perks - especially if more members of your household are added to the same plan.

You can also set monthly spending caps on your SIM, and even download the Xtras app to get an additional discount each month.

 

Best all-round value SIM

4GB data

1500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£10.00 a month

30 day contract 

Get deal

Plusnet Mobile has this fantastically well-balanced offer that gives you a hearty 4GB data, along with 1500 minutes and unlimited texts. Plus, you'll get access to extra discounts if you've already got Plusnet broadband at home, not to mention the provider's award-winning customer service. 

 

Best socially-conscious SIM

 5GB data

1000 minutes 

Unlimited texts

£9.99 per month

30 day contract 

Get deal

We like TPO Mobile (The People's Operator), because it doesn't just offer excellent value plans. It also donates 10% of what you pay each month straight to charity - as well as a quarter of its overall profits.

Sign up to this deal, and you'll get great coverage courtesy of EE, a low-priced SIM plan, and a choice of causes to give to.

 

Top SIM deal for 4G mobile data

 

12GB data 

Unlimited minutes 

Unlimited texts 

Roaming included!

£14.00 per month 

12 month contract

Get deal 

Three's data plan is probably the best deal you'll find if you regularly watch videos, stream music, play online games, or donwload apps whilst you're out and about. Besides, we're fans of Three - it's got good network reliability and speedy 4G included at no extra cost. 

 

Best SIM for loads of 4G data

VOXI

2GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

Endless social data!

£10.00 a month

30 day contract

Get deal

Aged 25 or under? You qualify for this excellent deal from VOXI. It's got unlimited calls and texts, along with a nice bit of 4G data. This is the data allowance you get, buuuut... you can also use Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Viber, and WhatsApp as much as you like - any usage of those apps won't come out of your allowance. Plus, there are more goodies available to loyal customers.

 

Best all-round SIM deal with plenty of data and texts

giffgaff

6GB data

1000 minutes

Unlimited texts

£15.00  a month

30 day contract

Get deal

We've researched the amount of monthly data, minutes and texts the average UK customer uses and searched through the networks for the cheapest way to get it. The overall best value SIM deal has to be with giffgaff. You get a decent allowance of internet data (4G), ample minutes, and unlimited texts. 

If you don't want this deal but you like the sound of giffgaff, you can click here to order a free SIM card.

 

Best SIM for messaging

4GB data

1500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£9.00 per month

12 month contract 

Get deal

With a SIM plan from Virgin Mobile, you get more than just your allowance. This one will give you a huge chunk of data, some calling minutes, and unlimited texting - and free use of messaging on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter, which won't affect your monthly data. And it has a bargain price attached.

 

Best SIM for loads of 4G data

20GB data 

Unlimited minutes 

Unlimited texts 

£20.00 per month

12 month contract 

 Get deal

 

O2's latest deal is fantastic for heavy users. This 12-month contract also includes unlimited minutes and texts, so you can communicate with friends and family with no restrictions. Factor in the fact that it's a 4G plan, and O2 has great coverage, and you have one heck of a bargain. 

Best for international calling

Lebara

4GB data

Unlimited UK minutes + 100 international minutes

100 texts

£13.00

£8.00 a month

30 day contract 

Get deal

Lebara Mobile offers some of the cheapest calls to countries abroad, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China. This one's a particularly good deal - but you can switch it and sign up for a different plan whenever you like. Each plan lasts up to 30 days, and they can either be renewed at the end of the month or changed for another one. 

 

Best reward with big data

5GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts 

£10.00 a month

12 month contract

Get deal 

This Vodafone plan features a lovely 5GB data a month, making it perfect for people who like to watch videos and listen to music on the move. 

 

Best plan for fast 4G data... and lots of it!

ee mobile

20GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts 

 £25.00a month

12 month contract

BT Sport app for 3 months!

Get deal

This EE SIM only plan is a great choice if you want to keep your phone but get a 4G data SIM. EE's network is bigger and faster than any other in UK, and has even won awards for its reliability. By getting this 4G data SIM with EE, you'll benefit from faster internet speeds - perfect for streaming music, watching videos, playing games and uploading photos to Facebook and Twitter.

 

 Best SIM with flexible data

Sky

1GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£20.00 per month for non existing customers 

£10.00 a month

12 month contract

Get deal

The fantastic thing about this deal from Sky Mobile is that whatever data allowance you pick, you can change it whenever you want - whether you find you need 1GB, 3GB, or 5GB. Texts and calling minutes will cost extra, but you can get an unlimited allowance added on at no extra charge if you've got Sky TV.


 

SIM deals on each network

Still not sure if there's a SIM only deal that's right for you? You can compare all SIM only plans by using the broadbandchoices SIM only comparison tools.

Compare O2 SIM Only deals - Join O2 to get 4G SIM deals and benefits such as exclusive offers on big High Street brands.

Compare EE SIM Only deals - EE has the fastest network in the UK and gives customers extras like EE TV and discounts on Fibre Broadband.

Compare Three SIM Only deals - With Three you can get unlimited internet data and free roaming abroad.

Compare Vodafone SIM Only deals - Vodafone's network gives unlimited data for 3 months to new SIM only customers with a 12 month contract. You can also get NOW TV, Spotify and Sky Sports Mobile app subscriptions included on selected 4G plans.

Compare BT Mobile SIM plans - BT has great discounts for existing BT Broadband customers and gives all SIM Only customers free access to the BT Sport app.

Compare all SIM Only deals

What kind of SIM card do I need?

Not sure if you need a Micro, Nano or Standard SIM for your phone? You can get a comprehensive list of handsets and their respective SIM card size on our SIM Only comparison calculator. Here's a quick overview:

Got a new phone?  If you've got one of the latest phones (like an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5C or 5S) then you will need a Nano SIM. Among many other handsets, Nano SIMs are also used in the HTC One (M9) and the Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact.

Got an iPhone 4S or a Samsung phone? For the older iPhones you will need a Micro SIM. Almost all Samsung phones take the Micro SIM card too. Micro SIM cards can come on their own, or as part of a Combi-SIM - either is fine. A Combi (or combination SIM) is simply a Micro SIM card that can be popped out of a Standard SIM card template, so that the SIM card can be used for phones that take either Standard or Micro SIM card sizes.

Got a Blackberry, an old smartphone or a non-smartphone? Most of the older Blackberry handsets use the standard SIM card size. Only the Blackberry Z and Q series use a Micro SIM and the Blackberry Passport uses a Nano. Old dumb-phones take the standard SIM card size, such as the basic Samsung and Huawei handsets.

Combi and 3-way SIMs: To make things simpler, some networks now offer Combi and 3-way SIM cards. A Combi SIM is a Standard SIM card with a Micro SIM card inside. You either use it as it comes, for a standard phone, or punch out the Micro SIM if you want to use the card for a phone that takes Micro SIM cards. A 3-way SIM does the same, but also incorporates the Nano SIM card size too, meaning you can use a 3-way SIM card for any type of phone. We got there in the end!

If you're still unsure what SIM card size you need then check on our SIM Only comparison calculator that we've linked to above.

I'm ready to switch networks

Thinking about switching networks, but not sure on the next step? Check out our handy guide on switching your mobile network and keeping your number, and we'll guide you through the surprisingly simple process.

Got a question or suggestion? Post a comment below!

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