Just like a regular mobile contract, a SIM-only deal comes with an allowance of minutes, data and texts. The key difference is you do not get - and therefore do not pay for - a phone as part of your plan. So, if you already have a phone and want to keep using it, or you’ve just bought one outright, a SIM deal could be for you.
Read on to discover more about 12-month SIM-only deals, the networks which offer them, the networks that provide big data allowances, and the benefits of opting for a 12-month SIM-only deal.
Which networks offer 12-month SIM-only deals?
As the price of premium smartphones jumps each year, SIM deals have become very popular - particularly as they tend to work out cheaper than long-term mobile contracts. The good news is there’s an excellent selection of 12-month SIM deals available from a range of mobile networks.
Three, O2, EE, Vodafone, Tesco Mobile and Plusnet all offer 12-month SIM-deals. You’ll find a good selection of plans, with decent minutes, texts - and perhaps most importantly - data allowances up to 3-4 GB a month, for less than a tenner.
Before you decide on a mobile provider, it’s worthwhile comparing networks to see what you can get in the way of perks, as well as considering each provider’s network coverage and customer service.
Can I get a 12-month SIM-only deal with unlimited data?
While you won’t find many networks offering SIM deals with unlimited data , there are plenty of big data deals available.
The way we see it, even if you’re a compulsive gamer, a social media addict and download a huge amount of music and video to your phone each month, you’ll still get by on a data allowance of 20GB or so. So, the question you need to consider: do you really need unlimited data?
You may find a high data plan will do you just fine.
What are the cheapest 12-month SIM-only plans?
There are some very cheap 12-month SIM plans on the market. But as these deals include a range of allowances, it’s important you pick the right plan for you.
Consider the following factors when trying to find the cheapest 12-month SIM plan:
- Allowance - lower allowances of course cost less than higher ones overall - but always make sure you have enough (in particular, data) for what you use so you don't have to pay extra for bolt-ons later.
- Network - the smaller networks, such as Tesco Mobile and Plusnet, with fewer overheads offer cheaper SIM deals. They don't come with as many bonuses or features as larger networks, but prices are noticeably lower.
- Existing customer deals - keep an eye out for these. You may be able to find a special upgrade deal from your current network, or even from your broadband or TV provider - such as BT, Sky, or Virgin.
Set a monthly spending cap - some networks let you set a cap on your plan, which ensures you'll never spend above a certain amount each month. It's a handy way to eliminate bill shock and keep your spending under budget, especially if you're prone to buying add-ons or making international calls.
What are the benefits of 12-month SIM plans?
There are some real plus points to opting for a 12-month SIM plan.
Consider the following advantages:
- Cost - SIM deals tend to be cheaper than regular mobile phone contracts. Whether you're paying a monthly fee or pay-as-you go, you're not paying for a brand new handset, so straight away (in most cases) your costs are lower.
- Flexibility - while 30-day SIM deals are the most flexible, 12-month SIM deals still give you more freedom than many mobile phone contracts, which can lock you in for 24 or 36 months.
- Credit check - It's easier to pass a credit check for a SIM-only deal. If you've ever struggled to pass a credit check for a mobile phone contract, then a SIM plan could be for you. As the network provider isn't including an expensive mobile handset in your contract (just a relatively inexpensive microchip) - you're deemed to be a lower-risk customer.
- Keep your old phone - as you're only getting a new SIM card, you get to keep your tried and tested old handset.