The best SIM only deals in the UK: November 2015

Keep your phone and get yourself a great SIM-only deal

sim only deals

It's not much of a secret that a big part of your monthly mobile bill is down to the cost of your handset. While operators will often offer you a 'free' phone, what they really do is spread the cost out over the period of your contract. So if your phone costs the operator £500 to buy, then over 24 months you might be paying back £20 per month just to cover your handset. Add on the provider's calls, texts and data and you can see how some tariffs cost £40 or £50 per month. The best way to save money and get a cheap tariff is to forgo a new phone, use your old one if it's still decent, and get a SIM only deal.

Choose the best SIM only deal for you:

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deals on iD

Our favourite SIM-only deal:

Here's our chance to tell you about the deal we think is best overall. This might not be the cheapest, but it's the one we see as offering the best value for money.

three deals

Three | 12-month contract | 200 minutes | Unlimited texts & data | £17pm
This is our favourite SIM only deal because it's the cheapest way to get an unlimited data contract in the UK. For £17 per month you get unlimited data - which brings with it a tremendous sense of reassurance - as well as all-you-can-eat texts and 200 minutes of voice calls. If you need more minutes you can get Three's "unlimited everything" contract for an extra £3 per month - we've linked to it underneath.

Get this deal: direct from Three

Get the deal with unlimited everything: direct from Three

deals on iD

Looking for a SIM-only deal with lots of data?

Sometimes taking a phone is cheaper

One last piece of counterintuitive advice. When we put together our list of deals for specific phones like the iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 we note that very new phones can sometimes be a lot cheaper to take on a tariff than if you bought them outright and took the same tariff separately. If you want the latest phone, a fixed deal might actually be a good deal for you.

If you ever want to check, we put the total 24-month cost on all our deals. This gives you a way to see how much you'll be paying over the two years – compare that to the cash price of a phone, plus a SIM-only deal, and see which is better.

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Let's run down the best deals for each network, including those virtual networks like GiffGaff and Virgin Mobile.

deals on iD

Best SIM-only deal from Three

three deals

Always up there with some of the best deals

Three has some of the very best SIM-only deals available. Why? Because the network offers 4G at no extra cost, so all its SIM-only deals are automatically compatible with Three's super-fast 4G network. You can also get unlimited data for a very reasonable price, making Three possibly the best, if not the absolute cheapest, SIM-only network.

The cheapest deal on Three is:

12-month contract | 200 minutes | unlimited texts | 500mb data | £8pm
This is the cheapest deal Three offers. You need to agree to 12 months and the data limit is a little tight, even for light users, but for this kind of money it's a bargain. It's worth mentioning though that £3 more gets you 2GB of data – just saying. Total cost over 12 months: £96.

Get this deal: direct from Three

deals on iD

Best SIM-only deal from GiffGaff

giffgaff deals

Probably the cheapest SIM-only deals in the UK

GiffGaff is very hard to beat on price – if you want to grab a cheap SIM card deal, this could be your best option. You can't argue with £5 a month. The cheap deals don't give you much of an allowance to play with, but if you just want to keep your phone going and available to use for calls and texts with the occasional bit of internet use outside of your home WiFi, GiffGaff is a strong offering.

The cheapest deal on GiffGaff is:

One-month contract | 100 minutes | 300 texts | 100MB of data | £5pm
It would be impossible to get a tariff much cheaper than this, and while there's not a huge amount included it would suit a light user. The data allowance is low too, but if you use your phone on Wi-Fi or just don't want the internet on your handset it's ideal. Total cost over 12 months would be £60.

Get this deal: direct from GiffGaff

deals on iD

Best SIM-only deal on TalkTalk Mobile

talktalk sim only deals

Often has half-price deals once you click through!

TalkTalk is a telecoms company that also offers home phone, broadband and TV packages, so the best deals can be had if you sign up for more than one service. However, at the time of writing the cheapest deal is actually £3.50 per month – that's the £7.90 deal below, which is currently half-price once you click through.

The cheapest deal on TalkTalk Mobile is:

12-month contract | 250 minutes | 250 texts | 450MB of data | £7.90pm
Although here you're tied into 12 months the cost isn't much higher than GiffGaff's above, and you get the luxury of much more data and increased calls and texts. Total cost over 12 months is £90

Get this deal: direct from TalkTalk Mobile

deals on iD

Best SIM-only deal on the iD network

ID sim only deals

Cheap SIM-only deals all on one-month contracts

As mentioned above, iD is a good option if bargain basement prices are what you covet. If all you want is to keep your current phone going so you can receive calls and texts from family and friends and make the occasional call yourself, those sub-£10 deals at the top of the page should be adequate.

The cheapest deal on iD is:

One-month contract | 250 minutes | 5000 texts | 500MB of data | £7.50pm
This is a nice deal. What draws us to it is that it's offering 4G along with 500MB of included data. Not a huge amount, but you'll see some fast speeds which is always nice, even if you are a light user. The text allowance is insane too. Total cost over 12 months would be £90

Get this deal: direct from

sim only deals from O2 ee iD Vodafone and T Mobile

Best SIM-only deal on O2


A reliable network with great coverage

We've browsed all of the SIM-only deals available on the O2 network, and it's a mixed bag. Some of the really cheap deals are pretty good – if you want to bag a dirt-cheap SIM-only deal for £8.50 per month, you can. However, when you start adding minutes and data to your deals, you notice that O2's SIM-only prices increase rapidly. This is probably not a good network to go for it you want to get more than 1GB of data.

The cheapest deal on O2 is:

12-month contract | 100 minutes | unlimited texts | 100MB of data | £8.50pm
O2 is one of the good companies that offers 4G on its lower-cost tariffs. Here you can have 100MB of it, which at full 4G speeds won't last all that long. This deal will suit only light data users, but for those people it does represent good value. Total cost over 12 months is £102

Get this deal: direct from

sim only deals from O2 ee iD Vodafone and T Mobile

Best SIM-only deal on Vodafone


A solid network with some decent deals

As with O2 above, Vodafone doesn't offer the very best SIM only deals. It would rather sell you a phone and charge you £30 per month, but if you're after a cheapo deal and you don't need heaps of data or loads of minutes, Vodafone could be a good option for you. Do be aware that some of these deals are on one-month rolling contracts, while with others you have to sign up for 12 months. You can tell which ones are which under the logo which states the contract length.

The cheapest deal on Vodafone is:

12-month contract | unlimited minutes | unlimited texts | 1GB of data | £7.30pm
This is a fantastic deal. No more of those titchy data restrictions, we're up to 1GB here, which is pretty decent for a deal that costs just £7.30 per month. Total cost over 12 months is £87.60

Get this deal: from Mobile Phones Direct

sim only deals from O2 ee iD Vodafone and T Mobile

Best SIM-only deal on Virgin Mobile

virgin mobile sim only deals

An oldie but a goodie, offering one-month deals galore

Virgin Mobile has been going for a long time, and some of its SIM-only deals are particularly attractive. They're all one-month rolling contracts, so you can stop paying at any time if you so wish, giving you flexibility if you want to change your plan or go for a phone-inclusive deal down the line.

The cheapest deal on Virgin Mobile is:

One-month contract | 125 minutes | 2500 texts | 250MB of data | £7pm
This is a nice, flexible tariff. You can move after just one month, and you get a massive number of text messages. Data is a bit limited, so smartphone users might need to be aware of that, but if the tariff doesn't work out for you, you can switch it. Total cost over 12 months would be £84

Get this deal: direct from

sim only deals from O2 ee iD Vodafone and T Mobile

Best SIM-only deal on EE Extra 4G

ee htc one m8 deals

EE's SIM-only deals come with double-speed 4G

If you want a cheap SIM-only deal, EE is most certainly not the network to go for. But don't discount it entirely, because if you already own a good smartphone and you want to pair it with the fastest network in the UK with a SIM-only deal, you can do that. EE's SIM-only deals all come with EE Extra 4G, which means they work with EE's super-fast double-speed 4G network, rather than with its single-speed 4G network.

The cheapest deal on EE is:

12-month contract | 250 minutes | unlimited texts | 250MB of data | £5.99
EE's network is very fast indeed for data users, and with unlimited texts this deal offers plenty for the money. Just be aware that on EE's network you'll blow though this 250MB quite quickly. Total cost over 12 months is £71.88

Get this deal: from Mobile Phones Direct

All the SIM-only deals on this page are checked every day to make sure they're still available and up to date!

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