Our pick of the 12 best SIM only deals for December 2016

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 SIM-only contract with a free gift

BT

15GB 30GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£25.00 a month

£20.00 a month for existing BT homes

12 month contract

£80 Amazon/iTunes gift card

Get deal

Our selection if you fancy a deal with a freebie is with BT Mobile (www.BT.com). All of BT's SIM only plans come with free BT Sport via the BT Sport Lite app. 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. 

Remember that streaming TV and video on any device uses up internet bandwidth. If you're not connected to Wi-Fi then using the BT Sport app could use up a lot of your data allowance. We reckon streaming a 90 minute game would use up around 1GB of data, which is why we recommend this plan.

  

Best SIM on a budget

1.5GB data

250 minutes

5000 texts

£5.00 a month

1 month contract

Get deal

This deal from Carphone Warehouse's resident network, iD, has got a bit of everything: a nice chunk of 4G data, plenty of texts to see you through the month, and a bargain price tag. 30-day terms mean you can always switch your tariff around whenever you want, and because it's one of iD's 'Shockproof' plans, there's an automatic cap to stop you spending too much over your monthly allowance. 

 

Best all-round value SIM

Plusnet Mobile

2GB 4GB 4G data

1500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£10.00 a month

30 day plan

Get deal

Plusnet Mobile offers this perfectly balanced plan that gives you a decent bit of data each month, unlimited texts, and 1500 minutes for a great value price. It's perfect if you prefer to chat on the phone than use web-based services like WhatsApp. 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.

 

Top SIM deal for 4G mobile data

Three SIM only deal

Unlimited data

200 minutes

Unlimited texts

(Essential Plan)

3 months FREE!

£24.00 a 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 value for money

talkmobile

15GB data

2500 minutes

5000 texts

Now £15.00 a month

30 day plan

Get deal

Talkmobile is offering loads of data, at a value for money on its XLarge SIM-only plan   That's perfect if you're on a budget but still want to listen to Spotify on your commute. The great thing about Talkmobile is that you'll always get good value, and with a plan like this, it's straightforward and simple to understand. 


Most flexible SIM deal - 4G data on 1 month contract

candy

20GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts 

£28.00

£25.00 a month

1 month contract

FREE delivery

Get deal

Candy Telecom is a pretty new kid on the mobile block, and what it does best is 30-day SIM-only deals with unlimited calls and texts.

Because they only operate on a one-month basis, you can stop your plan or switch it for a higher data tariff whenever you like, so long as you give 30 days' notice. Plans range from having no inclusive data at all right up to 20GB per month. Right now, you can get the 20GB plan for almost £3 cheaper per month - only when you sign up through broadbandchoices.

 

Great SIM for fast 4G internet data

EE SIM

10GB of 4G data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£19.99 a month

12 month plan

 FREE six months of Apple Music 

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 value 4G SIM

FreedomPop

3GB 6GB of data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

Double Data included for first 6 months!

FREE  for the first month

£7.99 a month thereafter

One-time activation fee of £0.99

30 day plan

Get deal

There's nothing better than a nice bit of 4G at a low price. And for that, we like this SIM plan from FreedomPop that gets you unlimited texts, unlimited minutes, and 6GB of data… absolutely free for the first month. At only £7.99 a month, we'd recommend this plan for anyone who doesn't want to splash out too much, but still wants plenty of data to check Facebook and stream a bit of music on the go. 

 

Best SIM-only deal for streaming fans

vodafone

500MB data

500 minutes

Unlimited texts

broadbandchoices exclusive

£12.00 a month

12 month plan

£40 Amazon gift card

Get deal

With this SIM-only plan from Vodafone, you don't just get a big data allowance - you get something to use it for too. Along with your SIM, you'll also get an inclusive 2GB roaming data to use across 40 European destinations. 

 

Best SIM for loads of 4G data

O2 Mobile

20GB data (4G)

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£25.00 a 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 for value 3G

TalkTalk Mobile

700MB 2GB data

950 minutes

Unlimited texts

£15.50

£7.75 a month

Half price for 12 months

Existing TalkTalk customers only

 

Get deal

Half price deals are all well and good, but this TalkTalk plan goes one better by throwing in triple data too. That means 2.1GB data a month instead of 700MB, for just £7.75 a month. This great-value 12 month plan is only available to TalkTalk broadband customers, but hurry because it's only available for a limited time.

 

Best deal with free WhatsApp and Messenger

4GB data

2500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£15.00 a month

30 day plan

Get deal

The great thing about getting a SIM deal from Virgin Mobile is that whatever data tariff you choose, anything you send and receive through WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger doesn't come out of your monthly allowance. You'll also get inclusive access to Wi-Fi hotspots all over the country. And guess what - you don't even need to be an existing Virgin Media customer to get a Virgin Mobile plan. 

 

SIM-only deal with Clubcard points

1GB data

1000 minutes

5000 texts 

£10.00 a month

12 month contract 

Get deal

 

With any deal from Tesco Mobile, you get extra points on your Tesco Clubcard every time you pay your bill - as well as fantastic value in the first place, to be quite honest. We like this deal because of its nicely-sized data allowance and low price. Get it while it's hot! 

 

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

Asda Mobile SIM

2GB data

500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£12.00  a month

30 day plan

Get SIM

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.

 

Looking for the best SIM Only deals for an iPhone 6s? 

OK, so we picked out the best SIM-only deals for you, but thought those of you with an iPhone 6s might appreciate a bit of advice on what SIM card to get for your flashy handset. Here are the best SIM only deals to go with an iPhone 6s:

O2 SIM

10GB 4G data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£20.00 a month

12 month contract

FREE delivery

Get deal
BT Mobile

2GB 4GB 4G data

500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£15.00 a month

£10.00 for existing BT Broadband homes

12 month contract

Get deal

First up, the iPhone 6s requires a Nano SIM card size. Second, this beautiful piece of Apple technology is built to work amazingly well on fast internet. If you want to get the most out of what the iPhone 6s has to offer then we suggest going for a 4G plan. The phone has a large crystal clear display, perfect for enjoying online streaming services such as movies on Netflix and live sport from Sky and BT. For peace of mind, we suggest a heavy data allowance. Go for Three if you want lots of data, or go for BT Mobile if you want fast speed and FREE BT Sport via the BT Sport Lite app.

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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