A SIM-only deal is a fantastic way to save money on your mobile. Sticking one in a phone you already own or bought outright is almost always better value than a pay-monthly contract, and it gives you a lot more choice and flexibility over your mobile plan.
However, if you don't shop around for your SIM, you could end up overspending - but luckily there are tons of deals available at cheap prices if you know where to look for them. Here's how you can find a cheap SIM deal to match your financial canny, thanks to CompareMyMobile.
How to compare cheap SIM-only deals
Take a look at all the SIM deals in our mobile comparison table. You can apply all kinds of filters in the sidebar, so you can see every deal that fits what you need. Then, to find the best value ones, sort the whole lot by cost. This will order them by price and show you the cheapest ones first.
Or, set a maximum budget using the cost details filter - this way you'll only see deals that charge below a certain price.
We recommend nabbing whichever deal gives you the allowance and features that you need at the lowest-priced tariff. And don't worry - even if you switch mobile networks, you can still keep your current phone number.
Tips for finding cheap SIM-only deals
The best way to find a cheap SIM deal is to follow the steps above using our comparison tool. It'll take into account things like special offers running right now, as well as the kind of plans you need - but there are a few other things you can do to guarantee a good deal.
Pay-monthly SIM deals are usually far better value than pay-as-you-go ones - especially if you use 4G mobile internet on your phone, which can get pretty expensive without a monthly allowance.
Our comparison tool lets you compare just those SIMs that are pay-monthly or at least function that way, so you can see how cheap they really are per month.
Choose a small network or MVNO
'Mobile virtual network operators' are mobile providers that piggyback on other networks to deliver their services. You get the same coverage as you would on the larger network - namely EE, O2, Three, or Vodafone - but with the specific benefits and prices of the 'virtual' one. And because the network has lower operating costs, prices for you are usually much, much lower.
For cheap SIM deals, look to these kinds of networks, such as:
Get a 12-month contract
Long-term contracts on SIMs are usually quite a bit cheaper than 30-day ones with the same allowance from the same network. If you don't mind committing for a full year or so, a 12-month contract can save you a bit of money even on larger, fancier, feature-packed networks.
Look out for existing customer deals
A number of providers offer special deals for loyal customers. Keep an eye out for these deals from your current mobile network, as there may be a cheaper SIM offer available that new users can't get.
Look out for SIM deals from your broadband or TV provider too. BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, and Virgin all have bonuses or special offers for customers who take out a mobile plan on top of their current subscription.
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.
Networks that let you set caps on your SIM include:
Get a smaller allowance
The lower the monthly allowance on your plan, the less your SIM will cost. A small compromise here could mean surprisingly big savings over the year.
However, make sure you still have enough to cover your usage - if you use up your allowance every month, you'll have to shell out more on add-ons.