Tesco Mobile SIM-only deals explained
We all have that one mobile phone we fall in love with. We carry our faithful friend around with us until the contract ends… and then what? Well, if you want to keep the relationship alive, why not switch to a SIM-only deal?
The good news is that there are plenty of SIM-only plans available from Tesco Mobile, designed to appeal to all types of users. In this guide, we'll tell you how to find a great deal that meets your needs, and answer some common questions.
How do I compare Tesco Mobile SIM-only deals?
The grid at the top of this page shows you loads of SIM only deals from your network. As standard, it displays everything from budget plans for the lightest of users, to mega-data options for those who soak up the gigabytes like sponges - but you can use the filters at the side to find SIM-only plans that better suit you.
Some of the filters you can choose are:
- Maximum monthly cost
- Data allowance
- Number of inclusive minutes
- Number of inclusive texts
- SIM type
- Contract length
Use these filters to build a grid that only shows the deals that hit your specific requirements. Then, when you find a deal you like the look of, click through and we'll send you to the provider's website where you can buy it or find out more.
Alternatively, we highlight some of the best deals around each month. Take a look at our guide:
Should I get a Tesco Mobile SIM-only deal?
Get a SIM-only deal if:
- You already have a handset you love, or…
- You'd prefer to buy a mobile phone outright rather than as part of a contract
- You want the lowest possible monthly bills
- You want the widest choice of plans and networks
- You don't want to be locked into a contract for up to 24 months
Are Tesco Mobile SIM-only plans cheaper than their phone contracts?
Typically, yes. Unlike a phone contract deal, you don't have to pay off the cost of the handset over the course of the contract, meaning your monthly bill and overall cost typically work out considerably less.
Another bonus is that contracts tend to be shorter. Pick up a new iPhone contract, and you're probably locked in for a good 24 months. SIM-only deals, however, tend to be just 12 months or 30 days, leading to a much lower overall cost.
What are the cheapest Tesco Mobile SIM-only deals?
One of the great things about SIM-only deals is that there's a lot of competition. That means providers climb over each other to cut prices and throw out better special offers than their main rivals.
Deals change all the time, so the cheapest option really depends on when you're looking. To see what it is right now, simply sort the grid above by total or monthly cost - the lowest prices will then appear first.
Alternatively, check out our main SIM-only page to compare loads more cheap SIM-only deals:
Can I upgrade a Tesco Mobile SIM-only deal?
Some networks will be happy to let you upgrade a SIM-only deal or take advantage of an existing customer mobile deal, while others make it a little more difficult. To find out if you can upgrade, we recommend phoning them via your mobile (it's usually free to call your own network), and see if they can help you out.
Choosing a 30-day plan gives you much greater flexibility. Because you're not making any long-term commitments, you can chop and change plans as much as you like. If, for example, you want more data one month, or want to up your minutes on a whim, you can upgrade to a different deal or even switch to a different network.
Can I keep my number if I switch to a Tesco Mobile SIM-only deal?
Yes - it's almost always possible to keep your current phone number when you switch to a new network.
1) Choose a new SIM-only plan - compare deals and sign up to one that you like the look of. Your SIM will be sent through the post to you. While you're waiting…
2) Contact your current provider and request your PAC (porting authorisation code) - you can request your code in a few ways - online, via text and even by post if you're really old-school. If you phone, they may try to talk you into sticking with them, but stick to your guns if this happens. They'll send you the PAC as a text message within two hours.
3) Give the PAC to your new network - when your new SIM arrives, it will have a new number. To change it to the old one, contact your network and give them the PAC code. They'll take care of porting the number over. It could be as fast as one working day before the old number's transferred, but be aware that on occasion it can take a little more time.
It may sound complicated, but it's very simple in practice. If you want a bit more detail, check out our full guide to keeping your phone number:
What size SIM card do I need?
There are three SIM card sizes you can get:
- Standard SIM card - 15mm x 25mm, commonly used in older feature phones
- Micro SIM card - 12mm x 15mm, used in some smartphones, primarily older models
- Nano SIM card - 8.8m x 12.3mm, used in most modern phones, including popular handsets like the iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy S8
Don't worry if you have no idea which size your phone takes. Most networks will send you a 3-in-1 SIM, designed to fit into any handset. It'll come encased in plastic, and you can pop it out into the size you want.
In other words, don't stress about SIM size when comparing deals. Whichever you choose, the SIM card will fit in your phone.
What contract length is best for a Tesco Mobile SIM-only plan?
- Contracts - usually around 12 months. These typically work out cheaper over that period than a rolling monthly plan, so if you're willing to commit, it's likely the most affordable option. The downside is that you're locked in for a while, so you won't be able to switch to a better deal if one becomes available. You can compare more contract SIM deals here.
- 30 day SIM - these tend to roll monthly, meaning you can cancel or change them at any time. If you want maximum flexibility, or your needs change month to month, this type of contract will suit you to the ground. It will probably work out more expensive than a contract over 12 months though, so it may not be the best option if you're on a budget. You can compare 30-day SIM-only deals here.
Does my phone have to be unlocked to use a Tesco Mobile SIM?
Some phones are locked onto a particular network, and will need to be unlocked before you can use another company's SIM. Fortunately, this is really easy to do. To find out if your phone is locked, pop in a friend's SIM card - they'll need to be on another network obviously. If it works, then your phone is good to go - otherwise, you'll need to contact your current operator and ask them to unlock it.
Different networks have different rules on unlocking. Some examples are:
- Three - all handsets are unlocked out of the box.
- O2 - phones are locked, but O2 will unlock them for free when you're out of contract. Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) customers will have to pay though.
- Vodafone - phones are locked, but Vodafone will unlock for free.
- EE - phones are locked, but EE will unlock for free - so long as you're out of contract. PAYG customers must wait 12 months after purchasing to unlock.
Those are just the major networks. To find out more about unlocking your mobile, check our full guide:
Can I get an unlimited data Tesco Mobile SIM?
For some people, their mobile phone has become an extension of themselves. They spend most of the day staring at the screen and feeding on data - messaging friends, checking email, streaming music, browsing the web, watching Netflix…. they're more phone than human now. If you're one of those people, you're probably interested in a plan with unlimited data.
Unfortunately, Tesco Mobile doesn't offer unlimited data plans, but it does have some reasonably large data options that might suit your needs. Use the filters at the top of the page to select a minimum amount of data and see what deals are available. If none appear, or your chosen mobile operator doesn't offer enough GB to sate you, check out this page for more options:
More SIM-only deals
Take a look at the SIM deals you can get from other providers too:
- Asda Mobile SIM-only deals
- EE SIM-only deals
- giffgaff SIM-only deals
- iD Mobile SIM-only deals
- Lebara Mobile SIM-only deals
- O2 SIM-only deals
- Plusnet Mobile SIM-only deals
- Sky Mobile SIM-only deals
- Smarty SIM-only deals
- Three SIM-only deals
- TPO Mobile SIM-only deals
- Virgin Mobile SIM-only deals
- Vodafone SIM-only deals
- VOXI SIM-only deals