Cheap SIM only deals are everywhere these days. But while prices might be temptingly low, are they really all they’re cracked up to be?
From severely lacking support to negligible allowances, here are the reasons we reckon you should avoid budget SIM only contracts at all costs.
1 No customer support
By and large, mobile networks in the UK are extremely solid. But there are times you experience dropped calls and flaky data coverage, times when you need to give your network a ring and get things sorted out.
With cheap SIM only deals from MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), you’ll often find that customer support is online only and that when you can call, they're not much help.
A good reason to stick with big name networks if ever there was one.
2 Low data allowance
Data and calls for just £6 a month? Great. But before you sign up, consider how much data you’re actually getting.
In today’s connected world, anything less than 2GB isn’t going to get you very far at all. 500MB will let you either stream 100 songs or watch no more than one hour of video.
Throw in web browsing and flicking through social media and those numbers drop further still.
Even if you use your phone sparingly you’re likely to burn through your allowance in a matter of days.
3 False economy
This all means that paying that little is a false economy, especially if your data isn’t capped and you end up paying by the megabyte for data.
The same goes with calls. All of a sudden those long chats on the bus are going to start sending your bill soaring.
Better by far then to go for a more generous package and work your way backwards.
Many deals now allow you to rollover data and minutes, which for our money is a smarter bet financially.
4 No extras
Mobile networks love handing out sweeteners to customers. Witness EE’s offer of free Apple Music and BT Sport streaming access for six months.
But the fact is that cheap deals don’t come with any of these handy extras.
Three’s Essential Plans, while budget friendly, don’t offer personal hotspot access or use of its Feel At Home service.
The latter means you're likely to get stung by high roaming charges, while users of Three’s Advanced deals can roam with impunity.
Pay a bit more and the stuff that makes signing up worthwhile is there for the taking.
5 Slow speeds
Scour the web for budget SIM only deals and you’ll be inundated with offers.
But dig into the small print and you’ll notice that these deals are cheap because many only offer 3G rather than 4G access.
That’s a deal breaker, especially if you’re used to quick web access and want to stream or watch video without staring at a buffering screen.
4G is standard now, so it follows that even these budget deals should offer it. If the iD network can offer it, everyone can.