What does ‘rolling SIM contract’ mean? Ask Our Expert

Rolling contract SIM

I hear people talk about ‘rolling contact’ SIMs a lot. Is that the same as a one-month contract SIM? Are they rolling contracts a good idea, or will I get a worse deal than a long-term contract? Jim, Basingstoke

It’s a fair question, Jim. There’s a lot to be said for rolling contracts. Not least that they’re so flexible. But before we get into that, let’s define exactly what’s meant by ‘rolling contract’.

What is a rolling SIM contract?

As you correctly surmise, a rolling contract SIM is just another way of saying ‘one-month SIM’ or ’30-day SIM’.

As with any other kind of SIM only deal, a rolling SIM contract gets you an allowance of data, calls and texts for a monthly fee.

The difference is that while standard SIM only contracts require you to commit to a 12-month minimum contract, rolling contract SIMs allow you to cancel at any time, with 30 days’ notice.

In the event that you don’t cancel, your contract will automatically refresh and roll over to the next month.

Compare rolling SIM contracts

What’s good about rolling SIM contracts?

  • You’re free to switch to a better deal if one comes along
  • It’s easy to cancel if you’re not happy with your service or you’re paying for allowances you don’t need
  • There’s no financial penalty to pay if you decide to leave
  • They’re a good way to try out a network before committing to a longer-term contract
  • They’re a good option if you’re waiting for a new phone to be released before signing another long-term contract

What’s less good about rolling SIM contracts?

Sometimes rolling SIM contracts are a bit more expensive than a 12-month deal that offers comparable monthly allowances.

Not by much, though. The difference is likely to be about £3-£5 per month.

Do rolling contract SIMs still include networks’ customer benefits?

network logos

For the most part, yes. But the most attractive freebies and incentives tend to be reserved for 12-month SIMs and 18-month contract SIMs.

For instance, O2 one-month SIMs include its highly rated Priority customer benefits scheme and use of its network of WiFi hotspots.

But you won’t get the sweetener of six months free Amazon Prime Video or inclusive worldwide roaming that comes with O2’s longer term SIM contracts.

It’s a similar situation on Vodafone, which reserves the customer incentive of a free 12-month subscription to Spotify and Now TV for select 12-month and 18-month subscriptions

What are the best rolling SIM contracts?

Provider Data Amount Contract Length Monthly Costs
GiffGaff sim only 80GB data 1 month £20.00
SMARTY sim only 30GB data 1 month £10.00
  • GiffGaff sim only
    • 80GB of 4G data
    • Unlimited minutes
    • Unlimited texts
    • £20.00 per month
    1 month contract From giffgaff
  • SMARTY sim only
    • 30GB of 4G data
    • Unlimited minutes
    • Unlimited texts
    • £10.00 per month
    1 month contract From SMARTY

You’ll find our pick of the best 30-day SIMs above, factoring in signal quality, price, freebies and allowances.