Not all SIM plans need calling minutes and texts. When you want to use mobile broadband - perhaps on your Android tablet or iPad, via a dongle or mobile broadband device, or even just on your smartphone - all you need is a SIM with a data allowance.
And you're in luck. Tons of networks offer SIMs that just include data, whether you need a little or a lot, and most of them will work in any mobile broadband gadget - such as your Android tablet or iPad. You can use data-only SIMs in a mobile phone, but on some networks it's against the terms and conditions of use. These deals are largely designed for mobile broadband.
Who offers data-only SIM deals?
You can get data-only plans from these networks like these:
How to choose a deal
To pick a deal on a data-only tablet SIM, use our comparison tool to find what you want and compare prices. When you find one you like the look of, just click through and sign up. Easy.
Remember to adjust the filters to fit what you need from your SIM. Some things to think about are…
Allowances on data-only SIMs can vary massively - you can get anything from 500MB a month for light use, all the way up to 30GB or so if you want something more heavy-duty. Sadly you can't get unlimited data on data-only tariffs right now… though 30GB is still quite a lot.
When you're choosing your data, think about what you want to use mobile broadband for, and how often you'll use it. Simple web browsing, social media, and email doesn't use much data at all (around 10-25MB per hour), but streaming video can use anything up to 2GB per hour.
Take a look at our internet data usage guide to help you figure out how much data you might need.
Some networks have wider coverage than others, but what matters most is which ones will cover you in the areas you'll be using your SIM. We recommend using networks' coverage checkers before you commit to a deal with one.
SIM card type
You'll also need to check what size SIM card - standard, micro, or nano - your device needs, and look for deals available on SIMs that size. Many networks offer 'combi SIMs' that you can snap to whichever size you need. That makes life a lot easier.
Most SIM deals are offered on contracts that last either one month or 12 months, though some last longer. SIMs on one-month contracts give you more flexibility - you can stop or start a contract at any time, and change your data allowance month-by-month to one that suits you better.
Contracts that last 12 months and beyond, on the other hand, will generally give you a lower monthly cost. They're definitely worth it if you know you'll be using your SIM a lot.
Perks and extras
If you're lucky, you may be able to snag a deal on a network that offers a little something extra. Some EE plans include roaming data, for instance, and other networks may offer free gifts. O2 plans, meanwhile, give you free access to public Wi-Fi hotspots - a very useful thing to have if you're concerned about going over your download limit.
Some deals have nice low prices. Others are a bit more expensive, but you get more for your money - like wider coverage, faster 4G speeds, perks like the ones above, or more flexibility. If you don't need any of that, go budget; though if you can stretch to a little extra, you'll get a little more.