Tesco Mobile have recently launched their SIM only offering - and although it runs on the EE network, it is actually a lot cheaper than EE currently. The same is also true bizarrely for Plusnet Mobile SIM only, which runs on the same network. The reason is simple - all of these companies are owned by EE anyway, so they use the same network at little to no extra cost to them. And most people stick with EE as it has a brand cachet - not realising it's much cheaper to use one of these sub-brands.
It isn't 100% the same though, the lesser sub-networks get a lower priority when it comes to things like 5G. But 99% of people will never even notice this. And anyway the list of arguments for getting a new phone can be quite long - the latest models are often very popular as well, but there are many people who value their slightly older, trusty phone and don't feel the need to get the latest bells and whistles iPhone or Samsung Galaxy model every year.
Business users may also value the idea of a SIM Only contract - particularly if your employer provides you with the phone itself but you need to pay for its use every month, then a SIM Only contract would be ideal.
Another ideal candidate for SIM only may be younger users, who are in University or some other form of education and don't really want the hassle of owning the pricey latest iPhone that will likely just get lost, damaged or stolen on campus. And with mobile phone insurance costs rising particularly for students lately, going SIM only with a cheaper handset seems to be the sensible choice. Buying the handset outright is also generally cheaper, and then paying for a SIM only contract for it - although with the increasing cost of phones this is often only an option for those who are good at budgeting.
Generally, SIM Only deals are available year round at great prices - but oneCompare's research suggests that the very best time to buy is just before a new model launches. For example with the upcoming iPhone 11 due in a few weeks, a number of users will be waiting to get their hands on that, so networks are offering some great deals right now on SIM Only contracts before it launches in the hope to tempt you now.
If you're not looking to buy an iPhone 11 any time soon then why not take advantage of the extra special benefits from the networks that now come bundled with most Sim Only offers?
The more expensive the phone, the more expensive the contract - thankfully that doesn't apply to SIM Only as there is obviously no handset available; you should already own it.
Therefore let's consider the true cost of buying a SIM Only deal versus taking out an expensive contract on the iPhone Xs - the cheapest deal for this model is currently £29.99 a month and with an upfront fee of £450. This means you'll end up paying about £1430 for the phone and contract in total. It has an RRP of £999.99 (for this particular colour/size model), so you're effectively paying about £429 for the contract itself. And that's a lot! If you were to go SIM Only this would cost about £120 only, meaning you'd be saving about £300 by going SIM Only.
Depending on the provider and offer you will also receive all the documents of your contract by post. The SIM card is usually delivered in three parts. In other words, firstly you will receive a card and can cut/press it from the template to receive and use a mini, micro or even nano SIM card. If necessary, it can also be joined together again. For example, you can switch between an old and a new smartphone.
It is often asked if a SIM Only deal requires a credit check. It depends on the provider - most 1-month rolling SIM Only contracts do NOT require a credit check. But be sure to check this first if you are concerned about it.
It's much the same process as if you were comparing our normal contract deals - using the table above, drag the sliders to adjust the monthly cost, and of course there is no upfront cost with SIM Only (woohoo!) - just keep playing aroung until you find the optimum deal for you.
Please note that oneCompare does not sell SIM Only contracts directly, you purchase them through our partner network. We simply compare prices on 1000s of deals to bring you the cheapest costs possible.