How SIM Only Plans Work

The SIM only contract is a deal where you purchase a SIM card and hence are able to access network operator's mobile services. To use these services, you need a mobile handset. More often than not, the SIM card is bought separately from the mobile handset.

A contract phone plan, on the other hand, is a deal where you get mobile phone services by the mobile phone handsets companies. Usually, you buy a mobile phone handset plus the services offered where the services get charged at the set rate by the provider.

SIM only contracts have the following advantages over a contract phone plan;

The different types of SIM cards

There is an array of SIM cards in the market based on their sizes:

Types of SIM only plans

SIM only bundles offers minutes, texts and data bundles that you can use with the handset you already have. One major advantage of this deal is that you don't get into lengthy contracts as with contract phones and thus it is very convenient if you ever need to change service providers. When choosing a SIM only plan there are a few considerations worth noting: Network coverage, Price, which SIM card size you need, locked handsets and whether you want 4G or just 3G.

There are three types of SIM only plan; Monthly, 12 Month contract and Rolling.

Pay Monthly SIM: With this plan type you will get to sign a contract for 30 days. In this type of plan, you pay an amount of money for either talking minutes, texts or bundles to use for one month. The prices range depending on the tariff chose, and the company is providing the services.

12 Month Contract: This is a plan where you sign a contract to use a Mobile provider's services for a 12 month period. You pay a lump sum amount that will cover the contract period signed. This plan is usually cheaper than a Pay Monthly plan.

Pay As You Go: Not strictly a SIM only plan, this involves topping up your SIM card with credit and paying for the calls, texts and data that you use. This is not always the most cost effective method and is more hassle than a rolling contract.

Allowances of minutes, texts and download limits for mobile data

The number of texts, minutes and the download limits for mobile data differs across mobile service providers and it is dependent on the tariff one is on. For instance, you could pick a tariff with 250 mb of data, 4G, unlimited texts, and 250 minutes for as low as £5 per month.

Therefore, one would choose a tariff that best suits them according to the minutes, texts or mobile data they require.

Frequently Asked Questions

what does sim only tariff mean?

With a SIM only deal you can keep the mobile you love and get yourself a plan that is suitable for your calling and internet browsing needs. As has been noted in statistics and recent reports in newspapers, more people are switching to the SIM only tariff from the mobile handset plan as buying a phone outright is often a lot cheaper than having to pay instalments for a period of 3 years where the customer is charged almost three times the amount that the phone may cost in the market at that moment.

A SIM only tariff, which is a legally bound contract between the service provider and the consumer charges a monthly payment for the bundle you choose for mobile data, calling minutes and text messages. While you can get unlimited text messages and calling minutes from most service providers, it is important that you do not get duped while selecting the mobile data bundle as mobile internet has become the limiting factor. However, this is not to say that most people have given up on a phone contract.

It is therefore best to move from your handset contract to a SIM only contract. This means that you have to pay much less and you can retain the phone for which you had been paying monthly instalments. While entering into a mobile handset contract means that you can pay off the handset amount in monthly instalments, you can switch to the SIM only tariff which is not only cheap but also flexible. There are many SIM only tariff mobile service providers these days which provide deal at as low as £5. Buying a handset outright is generally the best possible deal. For starters, the handset will be unlocked so you won't have to pay that extra bit to get it unlocked. SIM only contracts aren't only cheaper; they're generally also a shorter commitment, with smaller time periods for which you are 'locked in'. It is a good idea though to be able to do some research before you zero in on the tariff plan as mobile service providers might lure into a bundle that might not even fit your bill.

What happens when SIM only contract ends?

At the end of the SIM only contract, you can either extend the contract to 3, 6 or a 12 month period, depending on the initial contract and the network provider. Alternatively you can cancel the contract and switch to a different mobile service provider who may be offering SIM only contract deals at a cheaper rate or with some lucrative bundles on offer.

Usually, if you do not cancel the contract at the end of the contract period, the SIM only contract, the contract turns into a rolling monthly contract, often with any special discounts removed. Even before you enter into SIM only contract with a mobile service provider, it is important that you understand the cancellation procedures or the steps you are required to take after the end of the contract. Sometimes, tariffs increase after the end of the contract and you might not want to use the same mobile service provider if especially you have suffered poor coverage and zero mobile data usage. You should be aware as to when your contract is ending with your mobile service provider and take the necessary step to either cancel the contract or enter into a fresh one with a new bundle that might be suitable as per your requirements.

If you decide to end the contract before the culmination of your contract, you might have to notify your mobile service provider at least 30 days prior to your decision to withdraw and might have to pay some charges. Likewise, at the end of the SIM only contract, if you are willing to buy a new phone then you could switch your SIM only contract to a mobile contract and pay for both the data usage and the phone in monthly instalments. In case you are unsure of which contract you wish to enter into or are not too sure of techy terms you could chat online with customer representatives of mobile service providers or simply visit their store.