A buyer’s guide to sim only contracts

Sim only contracts continue to grow in popularity, particular as the financial crisis has seen purse strings tighter than ever. The sim only contract market is also becoming increasingly crowded, as hundreds of providers jostle to be the provider of consumer choice. In this guide we walk you through the benefits of sim only contracts, and how you can get the best deals on the market.

The benefits of sim only contracts

Sim only contracts offer both a cheaper alternative to full contracts, as well as the convenience of using your own handset.

Sim only contracts allow for flexible payment options, and are welcome news to a market that has suffered from phone contracts that are now 24 months as standard. SIM only contract deals offer 30days, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months plans. These contract lengths will dictate how many minutes, data and text messages you have for free on a monthly basis.

How to get the best sim only contract deal

Shopping around the sim only contract market can be confusing, so you need to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. The following advice will help you choose a package that is right for you.

Use comparison websites

Comparison websites will help you make the right choice of sim only contract. In particular they help you compare packages side by side with similar offerings. You should however take care to fully understand what each package offers, and how long the contract terms are for. Whilst these websites provide a great overview, checking out the full details is not to be overlooked.

Know your usage

Whilst it may be tempting to plump for the contract with thousands of free texts (or a package that offers plenty of free minutes) it will be of little use if your usage doesn’t suit you, so take your time to work out what it is exactly that you use most of.

Consider internet data

Considering how often you browse the internet is vital if you’re to keep your costs down. Smart phones in particular are known for being high data users, as they automatically download updates, sometimes with the user’s explicit permission.

High data usage is well known for incurring highly expensive charges, so ensuring you know what you have used, as compared to your limit, is vital.

Your next handset

When choosing the length of contract you’re looking for, bear in mind that one day you’ll need a new handset. If you’ve opted into a 24 month sim only contract you’ll have no option but to purchase a handset outright (rather than being able to choose a handset and sim contract, which may be handy if you’re facing a tough financial time).

Recommended deals


One of the most affordable contracts currently on the market is with Three. They will give you unlimited minutes and texts, 8 GB data at just £8 per month. This is a 12-month contract and 5G is included at no extra cost. 


For just £4.95 per month with Lebara you will get a flexible contract which can be changed or cancelled anytime. Unlimited texts, 1000 minutes and 2 GB data are included in your monthly plan.


Giffgaff offer a great range of bundles and one of them is for £10 per month - you will get unlimited minutes and texts, 6GB data and the right to cancel the contract anytime. 

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