Standard SIM only deals

Compare SIM only plans at uSwitch

  • Keep your phone and get a cheap SIM card only contract
  • Unlimited data SIM card only deals from just £17.00 per month
  • 4G SIM deals available on one month contracts

Compare the UK's best Standard SIM only deals

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Which SIM size do I need?

  • All networks

Deal allowance

Most contracts now offer unlimited texts and minutes. How much data you need depends on how you use your handset.

1GB per month: email, occasional web browsing and watching the odd YouTube video.

2GB per month: heavier web use, email regularly and occasional music and video streaming. For the average smartphone user, 2GB of usage should be just right.

3GB: Cloud-based photo services, streaming video, downloading music and regular email and social networks.

5GB or more: Regularly stream video and music, upload images to social networking sites and multi-player online games. Higher allowances let you make the most of your phone.

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Featured deals
Monthly cost

Contract length

One-month SIM only contracts give you the freedom to switch provider with just 30 days' notice if a better deal appears, while still providing more generous usage allowances than pay as you go deals. One month-sim only deals usually work on a rolling contract basis.

12-month SIM only contracts provide more generous usage allowances than one-month SIM only deals. However, because you're committing to a longer term deal, you haven't got the same freedom to switch if a better deal becomes available.

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Which SIM size do I need?

Only show 4G deals

4G deals

If you use the internet beyond occasional email and web surfing, you'll want 4G. It's faster than 3G, provides smoother online video and music streaming and lets you do more of whatever it is you like doing.

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Standard SIM Standard SIM
giffgaff
No

giffgaff
Standard SIM
No contract No credit checks - change your plan when it suits your needs

giffgaff
No
contract

500 minutes Unlimited texts 3GB data

£12.00
per month
No contract
£12.00
per month
giffgaff See deal
Standard SIM Standard SIM
The People's Operator
1 month

The People's Operator
Standard SIM
£3.49 for 2 months

The People's Operator
1 month
contract

Unlimited minutes Unlimited texts 6GB data

£14.99
per month
£3.49 for 2 months
£14.99
per month
The People's Operator See deal
Standard SIM Standard SIM
Virgin Media
12 month

Virgin Media
Standard SIM
Cheap deal

Virgin Media
12 month
contract

1000 minutes Unlimited texts 500MB data

£8.00
per month
Cheap deal
£8.00
per month
Virgin Mobile See deal
Standard SIM Standard SIM
BT Mobile
12 month
contract - 4G

BT Mobile
Standard SIM
Existing BT Broadband Customers only

BT Mobile
12 month
contract - 4G

500 minutes Unlimited texts 2GB data

£12.00
per month
Existing BT Broadband Customers only
£12.00
per month
BT Mobile See deal
Standard SIM Standard SIM
Mobile by Sainsbury's
No

Mobile by Sainsbury's
Standard SIM
Double Nectar Points No credit checks - change your plan when it suits your needs

Mobile by Sainsbury's
No
contract

500 minutes Unlimited texts 1GB data

£10.00
per month
Double Nectar Points
£10.00
per month
Mobile by Sainsbury's See deal
Standard SIM Standard SIM
giffgaff
No

giffgaff
Standard SIM
No contract No credit checks - change your plan when it suits your needs

giffgaff
No
contract

500 minutes Unlimited texts 1GB data

£10.00
per month
No contract
£10.00
per month
giffgaff See deal
Standard SIM Standard SIM
The People's Operator
1 month

The People's Operator
Standard SIM
1 month contract

The People's Operator
1 month
contract

1000 minutes 1000 texts 4GB data

£11.99
per month
1 month contract
£11.99
per month
The People's Operator See deal
Standard SIM Standard SIM
Mobile by Sainsbury's
No

Mobile by Sainsbury's
Standard SIM
Double Nectar Points No credit checks - change your plan when it suits your needs

Mobile by Sainsbury's
No
contract

300 minutes Unlimited texts 500MB data

£8.00
per month
Double Nectar Points
£8.00
per month
Mobile by Sainsbury's See deal
Standard SIM Standard SIM
BT Mobile
12 month
contract - 4G

BT Mobile
Standard SIM
Existing BT Broadband Customers only

BT Mobile
12 month
contract - 4G

200 minutes Unlimited texts 500MB data

£5.00
per month
Existing BT Broadband Customers only
£5.00
per month
BT Mobile See deal
Standard SIM Standard SIM
Three Mobile
12 month
contract - 4G

Three Mobile
Standard SIM
Use abroad at no extra cost

Three Mobile
12 month
contract - 4G

200 minutes Unlimited texts 500MB data

£8.00
per month
Use abroad at no extra cost
£8.00
per month
3 Direct See deal 0808 163 7341

I’ve found a good SIM only deal with my existing network. What happens now?

So you’ve chosen the SIM only deal you want and you’re certain you’ve fulfilled your contractual obligations. Good news.

All you need to do to now is phone up your network and tell them you’d like to switch to the SIM only deal you’ve selected.

You’ll then be transferred to your new SIM only deal 30 days after your current contract was due to end. It’s that simple.

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I want a SIM only deal with another network. What do I do?

The very first step is to check that you’re free to switch. The best way to do this to ring your network.

Once you’ve established that you are, pick a SIM only deal and network that suits you using the uSwitch comparison tables above and sign up for it. Your SIM card should arrive within two days.

In the meantime, ring or email your network to tell them you’d like to leave and ask them to unlock your phone.

You may find you're encouraged to stay by their customer retentions department. If you are it's important that you're firm with them and insist that you're determined to switch.

A charge may apply for unlocking your phone. But this will only be between £15-£20. Once the phone is unlocked you can insert your new SIM and you're all set.

If you want to keep your number, make sure you also ask your current network for a PAC code (Porting Authorisation Code) when you notify them you’d like to leave. We’ll look at how you use your PAC code more closely in the section below.

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How do I keep my number?

If you want to keep your number when you change networks, you'll need to ask for a PAC code from your current provider.

A PAC code is made up of three letters and six numbers and is provided free by your network.

To get your PAC code you can either phone or email your network or use a PAC code request form that you can fill on your network's website.

To begin the number transfter you need to ring or email the network you're joining and supply them with your PAC code. You must do this within 30 days of the PAC code being issued.

The transfer of the number is normally complete the next working day.

In the meantime, leave your old SIM in your phone. This means that apart from a very brief period when the transfer is actually underway, you’ll still be able to receive calls and texts on your phone.

To check if the transfer is complete, just insert your new SIM in your handset and see if your new number is registered on your new network. If you are, everything's gone according to plan.

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What do I do with my old SIM?

If you're worried that your SIM and the contacts, text messages and other personal information you've stored on it could fall into the wrong hands, you'll need to dispose of it carefully.

Just as you would with an old credit card, the safest thing to do is take the SIM and use scissors to cut it up.

While you're doing so, ensure you damage the gold foil so you make absolutely certain there's no way anyone can retrieve your personal information.

You're then free to throw the old SIM away.

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Will there be a credit check? What happens if I fail?

If you want to sign up for one-month rolling SIM only contact or 12-month SIM only contract with a new network, you'll have to pass credit check.

For one month, rolling contracts, the credit check isn't as stringent as for 12 months. So if you've been rejected for a 12-month contract before, there's no reason to believe you won't be accepted.

But if you fail your credit check, that doesn't mean you can't get a good SIM only deal.

Pay as you go deals with some networks now offer monthly allowances that aren't much less generous than SIM only contracts.

The only major difference is that you'll have to remember to top up to ensure you've got credit.

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Can I trust smaller, less well known networks? Is the service as good?

Although the likes of giffgaff and the people's operator aren't as instantly recognisable as high-street names such as Three, EE and Tesco, they're brands you can trust.

giffgaff, for instance, has won a slew of consumer awards, including Best Value for Money Pay Monthly from uSwitch.

In fact, many smaller networks offer market-leading call rates, so can work out cheaper.

You'll also find that there's no difference in call quality and mobile internet coverage with smaller providers.

That's because their service is based on larger providers' network infrastructure, which these smaller networks pay a fee to use.

Where you may find a difference compared with the larger networks is in customer support, however. In order to keep prices low, some smaller networks don't operate a call centre and offer online support only.

If you choose smaller networks you also shouldn't expect enticing customer incentives, such as O2's Freebies or movie downloads with EE.

But you may decide that you don't want or need those and that a good service and cheap rates are your priority.

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MicroSIM? NanoSIM? How can I be sure I'm getting the right SIM for my phone?

Not all SIMs work in all phones. Micro SIM are generally compatible with older phones, while newer models use Nano SIM.

The only sure way to tell them apart is size.

A microSIM measures around 0.6” long by 0.5” wide.

A NanoSIM is a little bit smaller at 0.5” long by 0.3” wide.

We haven't got the space to give you a definitive list of which handsets are compatible with which phones.

Smartphones that are compatible with Micro SIM include:

  • Apple iPhone 4/4S and Apple iPad

  • HTC One series (excluding the M8)

  • Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 & S5 and Galaxy Note 2, 3 and 4

  • Sony Xperia S & Z and Z2 series

Smartphones that are compatible with Nano SIM include:

  • Apple iPhone 5/5s/5c and iPhone 6 series

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha

  • Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact

  • HTC One M8, Desire 610 and Desire 816

  • Nokia Lumia 1520, Lumia 1320, Lumia 930

  • Motorola Moto X

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Will I lose service if I switch to a SIM only deal with another network?

The process of moving network has been designed to keep the time you're without a service down to a minimum.

Even after you've given the network you're joining your PAC code (see above for a more detailed explanation of PAC codes), so you'll still be able to take calls and receive texts during this time.

When the transfer to your new network is actually happening, your service will be down for a very short period.

To test when the transfer has been done, simply insert your new SIM in the phone and restart it. If you're got a service, you're good to go.

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SIM only deals

SIM only deals

Most mobile phone deals and offers are a combination of the perfect handset and the perfect tariff. For some people, the call and text package is the only important part of the mobile phone deal.

For those of us who already have the perfect handset and are simply looking for a great deal on calls and texts, the best mobile phone deal is a SIM-only deal or pay as you go SIM. A SIM-only mobile phone deal does exactly what is says on the tin, giving you a mobile phone SIM card without the handset.

SIM-only mobile deals are great if you already have a handset you love. Most UK mobile phone networks offer at least one pay as you go SIM phone deal.

Perhaps you have just come to the end of your contract and you are looking to get a new mobile phone deal. If you are happy with handset you have, then you can get a SIM card for the existing handset and carry on using it as before, only with your new number.

What is a SIM card?

A SIM card is a microchip around the size of a postage stamp holding all of a mobile phone's configuration information, for example the mobile phone number and call plan. Without a SIM card, a mobile phone will not work. SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module. Once a SIM card has been activated it is permanently locked to the particular network, though not locked to a particular phone. That means you can easily change mobile phone handsets but keep your phone number, your friends’ phone numbers and any saved messages or photos.

Why choose a SIM-only mobile phone deal?

Maybe you want to keep a couple of different mobile phones for different purposes? Perhaps you spend a lot of time outside hiking or playing extreme sports? With SIM only plans you can keep an inexpensive basic handset for when you're off on your adventures, and a nice top-of-the range handset to pull out of your pocket in business meetings.

Which networks offer SIM-only deals?

SIM-only plans are available from all the major mobile phone networks and companies including:

  • O2 SIM only
  • Three SIM only
  • Virgin SIM only
  • Vodafone SIM only
  • EE SIM only
  • Tesco SIM only
  • giffgaff SIM only
  • the people's operator SIM only

SIM-only pay as you go deals

If you already have a handset you can get a pay as you go SIM package for from one of the mobile phone networks and convert your old contract phone into a pay as you go phone.

Three also offers a pay as you go SIM-only mobile deal, from as little as £10 you can get a 3G pay as you go SIM card to put into any 3G phone.

Virgin offer a pay as you go SIM-only deal from as little as £5. They also offer the Liberty SIM, a deal offering SIM-only pay as you go customers the best of both worlds.

There are also competitive pay as you go, EE SIM only, Vodafone SIM only, and Tesco SIM only plans.

Which SIM do I need?
  • uSwitch SIM

    Standard SIM Card

    This SIM fits hundreds of different devices. Older handset models usually need this size of SIM card, and it is commonly compatible with non-smartphones.

  • uSwitch SIM uSwitch SIM

    Micro SIM

    This SIM fits most of the modern smartphones. It is smaller than the standard SIM, consuming less space.

    Which phones can I use this in?

    • Apple
      iPhone 4/4S and Apple iPad
    • HTC
      One series (excluding the M8)
    • Samsung
      Galaxy S3, S4 & S5 and Galaxy Note 2, 3 and 4
    • Sony
      Xperia S & Z and Z2 series
  • uSwitch SIM uSwitch SIM

    Nano SIM

    This SIM fits the most recent smartphones. It is smaller than the standard and micro SIM.

    Which phones can I use this in?

    • Apple
      iPhone 5/5s/5c and iPhone 6 series
    • Samsung
      Galaxy Alpha
    • Sony
      Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact
    • HTC
      One M8, Desire 610 and Desire 816
    • Nokia
      Lumia 1520, Lumia 1320, Lumia 930
    • Motorola
      Moto X