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If you decide to enter into a SIM-only contract you will be provided with the best mobile phone tariffs on the market, with some tariffs being as cheap as £10.00 per month and including generous text and talk time. You will need to provide your own mobile phone handset as all you are getting is the SIM-card.

A SIM-card is the small microchip containing all the information you need to make your mobile phone work.

With competition high between mobile phone service providers you can get a free mobile phone as part of some SIM-only deals. A SIM-only contract has all the benefits of a standard contract but is about half the cost.

With many monthly and pay-as-you-go mobile phone deals you are subsidising the cost of the handset. So with a SIM-only deal you will generally get cheaper voice, text and internet services along with cheaper inclusive bundles.

SIM-only deals mean you can keep your own number. You will need to contact your old mobile phone network and ask for your PAC (Port Authorisation Code) number, then contact your new provider and give them your PAC number within 30 days. You are not tied into any lengthy contracts, with a typical SIM-only contract having a minimum term of just 30 days. You will need to give one month’s notice to cancel the deal if you want to end the service or switch to another provider. There are longer SIM-only deals which can range from 12 – 18 months but there may be a penalty if you end the service early.

SIM-only deals are available from all the major networks. O2 were the originators of SIM-only deals and have since been adopted by all other networks including:

  • GiffGaff SIM only
  • O2 SIM only
  • Three SIM only
  • iD SIM only
  • Virgin SIM only
  • Vodafone SIM only
  • EE SIM only
  • Tesco SIM only
  • Talk Mobile SIM Only

If you want the latest handset, you are probably better off getting a contract which includes the price of the phone, as buying a new handset without a contract can be very expensive.

However if you already have a phone that you are happy to carry on using or you don’t want to be tied into a long contract then a SIM-only deal is your answer, with cheaper calls, texts and other phone services. You can call other networks at a flat rate, no premium call charges and you can sometimes call people on the same network as yourself for free. There are often extras such as internet access or access to social network sites as part of your monthly fee.