Best SIM only deals for April 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. 

Best contract SIM-only deals

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 value for mid-tier data

Vodafone

5GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts 

£10.00a 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 wallet-friendly deal

Tesco

8GB data

5000 minutes

5000 texts

£13.50 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 SIM for loads of 4G data

25GB data 

Unlimited minutes 

Unlimited texts 

£25.00per 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 SIM-only contract with a voucher

 
bt

6GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts 

£17.00  per month

£22.00 per month for non BT customers

12 month contract

£80 BT reward card! 

 Get deal


Our selection if you fancy a deal with a freebie is with BT Mobile (www.BT.com). BT's top-end SIM only plans come with free BT Sport via the BT Sport app, which is a fantastic extra. Considering how much premium sports channels can cost, this really is a great offer - it's one of the cheapest way to get BT Sport, in fact. OK, so you don't get it on your TV, but with the app available on both iOS and Android, you can stream and watch live sport on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. 

 

Best 30 day SIM-only deals

A 30 day SIM-only plan is great if you want maximum flexibility. You're not locked into anything, so you can change your data, add more minutes or even switch networks at any time. Here are some of the best:

Best 30 day SIM for social media addicts

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 30 day SIM deal with plenty of data and texts

giffgaff

6GB data

 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), unlimited 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 socially-conscious 30 day SIM

 5GB data

600 minutes 

Unlimited texts

£11.00 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 Three, a low-priced SIM plan, and a choice of causes to give to.

 

Best 30 day SIM value data

4GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts  

Discount on unused data!

£10.00a 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 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 cheap SIM-only deals

Low cost doesn't mean low quality. These plans are a great way to get a generous helping of minutes, texts and data without putting undue strain on your bank account:

A perfectly balanced SIM-only plan

3GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts 

£8.00 a month

12 month contract

Get deal 

This affordable Vodafone plan features a lovely 3GB data a month, making it perfect for people who like to watch videos and listen to music on the move. 

 

Best unlimited and big data SIM-only deals

The more you do online, the more mobile data you'll need in your plan. Video is particularly data-hungry, so if you want to watch the likes of iPlayer and Netflix on the go, you'll need an unlimited or big data plan. Like this one: 

Top SIM deal for heavy users

 

100GB data 

Unlimited minutes 

Unlimited texts 

Roaming included!

£25.00per 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 data-only SIM deals

Looking for a SIM for your tablet or dongle? Plenty of networks offer data-only SIM plans. Here's our pick of the best this month:

2GB data

 £11.00 per month

12 month contract

Get deal 

 

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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