Should I get a 30-day SIM-only plan?

ByKim Staples
SIM cards

Want the good value and generous allowances of a contract phone plan, but with all the flexibility of pay-as-you-go? Sounds like you might be in the market for a 30-day SIM-only deal…

Some SIM-only plans - mobile contracts that consist of just a SIM that you can put in your own phone - last a year, but you can get some that are only for a month. Some are labelled '30 days', while others say 'one month', but they're essentially the same thing.

Most are rolling contracts, meaning that they continue after the month ends, so you'll barely notice that you're on shorter terms.

Why get a 30-day SIM-only plan?

The best part of a 30-day plan is the flexibility it gives you. You're not tied in to a year-long commitment, so you're free to stop, start, or change the tariffs on your plan whenever you want - with no penalty whatsoever. That makes it ideal if you want to try out different allowances, or get a plan to use short-term. You might not even need a credit check to get one.

The only drawback is that you'll need to already own a handset, or buy a new one outright. And, if you're concerned about costs, 12-month SIM-only plans tend to ultimately be better value - even with identical tariffs, a month on a 12-month plan is usually a bit cheaper.

Recommended 30-day SIM-only deals

All-rounder with 4G and £5 cap iD Mobile

1GB data

250 minutes

5000 texts

£5.00 a month

See deal
Completely free FreedomPop

16GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£9.99 a month

16GB for 3 months, 4GB thereafter


See deal
Socially conscious SIM The People's Operator

2GB data

600 minutes

Unlimited texts

£6.99 a month See deal
No contract SIM Talkmobile

1.5GB  3G data

600 minutes

Unlimited texts

£10.00 a month See deal
Amazing value Plusnet Mobile

1GB 2GB data (4G)

1000 minutes

Unlimited texts

broadbandchoices exclusive

£7.50 a month

See deal

Big data


12GB data

5000 minutes

5000 texts

£12.00 a month


See deal
Value 3G data EE

2GB data

950 minutes

Unlimited texts

Was £15.50

£7.75 a month

See deal
Unlimited data Three

Unlimited data

600 minutes

Unlimited texts

£30.00 a month See deal
Best all-rounder Vodafone

5GB data

500 minutes

Unlimited texts

£19.00 a month See deal
For O2 perks and benefits O2

2GB data

Unlimited minutes

Unlimited texts

£18.00 a month


See deal
Best 30 day SIM plan giffgaff

4GB data

1000 minutes

Unlimited texts

£15.00 a month See deal
Most flexible plan virgin

20GB data

5000 minutes

Unlmited texts

£25.00 a month

Get deal


Which providers offer 30-day SIM-only plans?

Asda Mobile offers good value deals from our favourite good value supermarket. All its SIMs are pay-as-you-go, but you can buy rolling 30-day allowances of calls, texts, and data - which is pretty much the same as any other 30-day SIM.

EE is the UK's biggest mobile network with the fastest 4G. It costs more than some providers, but with a 30-day plan from EE you'll get amazing coverage, speeds, and flexibility.

FreedomPop has the cheapest SIM-only deals around… because its basic tariff is absolutely free. If that allowance (200MB data, 200 minutes, 200 texts) isn't enough, you can go up to a premium tariff whenever you want - it's only a 30-day plan, after all.

iD , Carphone Warehouse's resident network, is pretty good on the value front too. Tariffs are low-price, 4G is included, and it's not half bad for roaming abroad either - even on just a 30-day plan.

Using mobile abroad

O2 offers 30-day SIM plans with a ton of extras and perks. There's Priority for tickets to gigs and events, discounts for high street shops, and free use of O2 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.

Plusnet Mobile  is another excellent value network with 30-day plans. It's got a small selection of straightforward tariffs to choose from with little difference in price, and with each plan you can add a 'smart cap' so you don't spend too much outside of your allowance.

Talkmobile doesn't have many extras attached to its 30-day SIMs, but that means no extra costs either. It's a fantastic choice for simple, straightforward and reliable value that doesn't even come close to breaking the bank.

TalkTalk Mobile SIMs are only available for existing TalkTalk customers, but if that's you, it's a good chance to snap up a nicely priced deal. You'll get double the data allowance if you sign up online, too.

Three is one of the very few networks to offer plans with unlimited data - even on a 30-day basis. Your choice of tariffs with Three is pretty extensive, and with the Feel At Home scheme you can use your allowance in 42 countries worldwide.

TPO Mobile  (aka The People's Operator) offers some of the more socially conscious 30-day SIMs. 10% of what you pay each month goes to a charity of your choice, and costs are low on top of that. And it uses EE's network, so coverage is great.

Virgin Mobile has a 'flexible freestyle' scheme that makes things super flexible when you take out a plan on its network. You can switch your plan up at will, and there are tariffs available that include loads of data. You can even rollover your unused data allowance to the next month.

Vodafone 's 30-day plans aren't the cheapest, but there's a nice wide choice of tariffs - you'll almost certainly find the exact right plan for you. If you're not sure what that is, you can always try the network's Data Test Drive - unlimited data for two months, to work out what you use.


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