The best SIM deals of December 2017

We find and compare the best SIM deals and Data SIM deals for smartphone and tablet users in the UK in December 2017. Cheap SIM-only contracts.

We find the best SIM deals and Data SIM deals for smartphone and tablet users in the UK in 2017. Cheap SIM-only contracts

By | 37 mins ago

Monthly contracts are great, letting you take home a high-end smartphone without handing over any cash.

But if you stop to work out just how much you are paying over the lifespan of the contract, you’ll probably find you could save a lot of money buying the phone upfront and getting a SIM-only deal. Here we look at the best SIM-only deals and best Data SIM deals in the UK this month. It’s worth pointing out that changing your SIM deal does not need to mean losing your number[2].

Compare all SIM deals

Here, you can use our SIM deals comparison tool to help you find a contract that suits you.

Use the sliders and drop down menus to adjust your preferences and see which networks offer a contract that’ll suit you and your budget. If you’re looking for more advice on how to choose a contract, or want to see some of the top contracts picked out by our editors for light users, moderate users, heavy users and tablet users, click here[3].

How to choose the best SIM deal for you

Unlike smartphone contracts, which typically stretch to 24 months, SIM-only deals are much shorter. Most SIM-only deals come with 12-month contracts, but you can also get rolling monthly contracts – sometimes at the same price or just a few pounds more expensive – that are ideal for visitors to the UK.

The price you pay per month will largely depend on how many minutes and texts you need, and how much data you require. Plus, you’ll need to decide whether you need 3G or 4G data and whether your SIM is to go in a tablet (in which case you’ll only need data) or a smartphone (in which case you’ll want minutes, texts and data). It’s worth noting that most operators don’t allow you to simply take your SIM out of your smartphone in a tablet.

They also often frown upon tethering. While 4G is much faster than 3G connectivity, 4G data[4] is sometimes more expensive than 3G data. However, just because your phone or tablet might support 4G, it doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of that connectivity if it can save you money not to.

Some carriers charge the same amount for 3G and 4G data, though. Pinning down what is the best SIM-only smartphone deal is tricky due to the huge number of combinations of minutes, texts and data available. However, most people will fall into one of three camps that we’ll focus on here: those who simply want to make the odd call or text, and use their PC to go online; those who make calls and texts, go online, check emails, use apps and perhaps watch the odd video; and those who are permanently glued to their smartphone.

Or, to put that more simply, light-, moderate- and heavy users.

SIM deals for light use

There are plans available for just GBP5 per month if you plan on using your SIM for light use. We’d recommend considering iD, which is Carphone Warehouse’s mobile network. It offers a capped SIM for just GBP5 on its ShockProof plan type, which offers 500 minutes, 5,000 texts and 1GB data on a one-month rolling contract.

This SIM is designed to cut you off if you go over your minutes, texts or data to make sure you don’t have any nasty surprises when you get the bill through at the end of the month. You will also get Data Rollover that will save unused data for you to use in the next month.

SIM deals for moderate use

For moderate users, the best deals tend to be around the GBP10 mark for SIM-only plans. Three offers a really good moderate SIM-only deal.

For GBP10 per month you can get 4GB data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts on a 4G for 12 months.

  • 4GB data, unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 4G – GBP10 per month. View deal here[6].

iD is a also a good option for moderate users. One of the best is the GBP10 per month rolling contract that offers 500 minutes, 5,000 texts and 3GB of 4G data.

Matching iD’s deal is Giffgaff’s GBP10 goodybag:

  • Giffgaff: 3GB data, 500 minutes, unlimited texts, 4G – GBP10 per month. View deal here[8].

This is a one-month contract that you can set to auto-renew, but with Giffgaff you also get the flexibility to swap to a different Goodybag if you feel like you need more minutes, data or texts, or if you need less.

SIM deals for heavy use

For anyone who wants the freedom to text and use the internet as much as they like, our favourite deal is Three’s 30GB data, unlimited texts and unlimited minutes contract, which is a very reasonable GBP20 per month.

  • 30GB data, unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 4G – GBP20 per month. View deal here[9].

Three also offers a 12GB option for GBP15. View deal here[10].

Tablet plans (Data SIMs)

You can’t simply take the SIM out of your phone and stick it in your tablet. You need to get a SIM that uses a data-only plan (and don’t forget that not all tablets offer SIM-card slots, in which case you’ll only be able to connect to WiFi).

How much data you need will very much depend on the activities you intend to enjoy on your tablet, plus whether you spend any of your time within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot.

If you want a SIM just to cover you on the odd occasion that you use your tablet away from home and need to continue to access your email, you certainly don’t need to pay out extra for a 4G plan.

Some of the best SIM-only deals for tablets come from Three, which offers 1GB for GBP7.50 per month, 2GB for GBP8 per month, 20GB for GBP15 per month. You can view those deals here[11].


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