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Best Sim only Deals

Pay £5mth for 1GB, 500 mins & unltd texts

Nick and Weleid | Edited by Steve N

Updated Weekly

best cheap sim only deals from £5We've rounded up the best Sim deals from £5/month whether you're a talker, texter or always online. If out of contract and free to switch, for most people, there's no point paying more than £10/mth as that'll get you plenty of mins, texts and data – plus we've lots more tips incl how to unlock your phone and keep your number.

Is Sim only right for you? Before you read this guide...

  • Are you happy with your current phone or able to buy a new one upfront? Sim only is probably a good bet. Read on...
  • Concerned about a credit check or want tighter control over your bill? Pay-as-you-go may be a better option.
  • Want a new phone but can't afford to buy it upfront? Traditional mobile contracts usually cost more – for other options, see Buying a new handset and our Cheap iPhone and Cheap Samsung guides.

Sim only is often cheapest

A Sim is the little chip that slots into your phone. A Sim-only deal covers just the mobile service, ie, it gives you a set monthly allowance of minutes, texts and data.

It's normally much cheaper than a traditional mobile contract, as Sim-only deals don't bundle in the cost of the phone itself. You'll have to have your own handset to put the Sim into already, or buy one separately.

Although you're not paying for a phone, you'll still have to sign up to a contract to get a Sim only deal – typically deals are offered on a 12-month contract, or on a rolling 30-day contract.

Things to watch out for

Prices can rise with inflation each year

You'll probably be credit-checked

Some deals are for new customers only

Check promo period end-dates

You can save more with cashback – though be warned...

    Sim only need-to-knows

    Here are the key points to understand when looking for a Sim only contract.

  • How to choose the correct data allowance - only pay for what you need

  • You'll need to have an unlocked phone – it's usually free to get it done

  • Check signal strength where you live/work

  • Switching from a contract? Serve your notice to leave ASAP

  • You can keep your number – here's how

Sim only top picks

Once you know which network(s) you're happy to go with and what allowance you need, find the best deal you can that fits with this. We've listed our top-pick deals below, sorted by value for money and levels of data allowance – up to 2GB, 4GB to 8GB and 10GB to 30GB.

In each category we've listed the best deal or deals we could find, but because for some signal is crucial, we've also listed the top alternatives for each of the other networks (or a network that piggybacks on it). All deals come with 4G data unless otherwise stated.

Can't find one that fits your criteria? Use a comparison site to see what else is out there – the most comprehensive and our favourite is MobilePhoneChecker*, or try newbie Ctrlio.

Up to 2GB

If you're usually connected to Wi-Fi everywhere you go, these are our top picks with enough data for everyday on-the-go use.

iD Mobile

1GB, 500 mins, unltd texts: £5/mth*

1MTH CONTRACT

Part of the Carphone Warehouse group, iD Mobile* has a great value deal without the need to commit to a long contract. It's available for anyone who isn't currently with iD Mobile.

It costs £5/mth and comes with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data on a one-month rolling contract. iD also allows you to roll over any unused data to next month, and limit your bill to no more than £5 over the tariff price to avoid bill shock.

Need-to-knows
  • One-month contract.
  • Runs off the Three network.
  • Includes data rollover – keep any unused data from one month to the next.
  • If you're switching from another network, here's how to port (ie, move) your number to iD
  • If you exceed your allowance, it's 10.24p/MB for data, 40p/min for calls to UK mobiles or landlines and 14p per text.
  • Tethering isn't allowed with this network.
  • Calls to UK mobiles, landlines and 0800/0808 are included – calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118 cost extra.
  • iD may increase the price annually in line with inflation.
  • You'll be credit-checked – see our Credit Scores guide.
Plusnet

1.5GB, 1,000 mins & 1,000 texts: £6/mth*

30-DAY CONTRACT

Until Thu 27 Sep, this Plusnet* deal for new customers offers 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 1.5GB of data for £6/mth. It's on a 30-day rolling contract so you're not tied in for long.

Plusnet allows you to set a limit on your bill from £2 up to £30 (initially set at £10) over the tariff price to avoid bill shock.

Need-to-knows
  • 30-day contract.
  • Runs off the EE network.
  • Monthly spending can be capped.
  • If you're switching from another network, here's how to port (ie, move) your number to Plusnet.
  • If you exceed your allowance, it's £1.50/day for data (capped at 250MB), 40p/min for calls to UK mobiles or landlines and 12.5p per text.
  • Tethering is allowed with this network.
  • Calls to UK mobiles, landlines and 0800/0808 numbers are included – calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118 cost extra.
  • Plusnet may increase the price annually in line with inflation.
  • You'll be credit-checked – see our Credit Scores guide.

Plusnet

2.5GB, 2,000 mins & 2,000 texts: £7/mth*

30-DAY CONTRACT

Until Wed 3 Oct, new customers to Plusnet* can get 2,000 minutes, 2,000 texts and 2.5GB of data for £7/mth. It's on a 30-day rolling contract so you're not tied in for long.

Plusnet allows you to set a limit on your bill from £2 up to £30 (initially set at £10) over the tariff price to avoid bill shock.

Need-to-knows
  • 30-day contract.
  • Runs off the EE network.
  • Monthly spending can be capped.
  • If you're switching from another network, here's how to port (ie, move) your number to Plusnet.
  • If you exceed your allowance, it's £1.50/day for data (capped at 250MB), 40p/min for calls to UK mobiles or landlines and 12.5p per text.
  • Tethering is allowed with this network.
  • Calls to UK mobiles, landlines and 0800/0808 numbers are included – calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118 cost extra.
  • Plusnet may increase the price annually in line with inflation.
  • You'll be credit-checked – see our Credit Scores guide.

The best of the rest...

  • Sky Mobile*: (piggybacks on O2) Existing Sky TV customers can get this deal for £6/mth with 2GB data, unlimited mins and texts on a 12-month contract. Warning: If you end your Sky TV subscription during this contract, the price will rise to £16/mth.
  • Vodafone*: 500MB data, unlimited mins and texts – £6/mth on a 12-month contract. Warning: This is a UK-only plan – roaming is not allowed; you can't make international calls or use your phone abroad (except emergency calls).
  • Giffgaff* (piggybacks on O2): 2GB data, 250 mins, unltd texts – £7.50/mth on a one-month bundle.

4GB to 8GB

If you're often online while on-the-go, these are our top picks with a good amount of data each month and a decent number of minutes.

Plusnet

4GB, 2,000 mins & 2,000 texts: £8.50/mth*

30-DAY CONTRACT

This Plusnet* Sim offers 2,000 minutes, 2,000 texts and 4GB of data for £8.50/mth, on a 30-day rolling contract. New customers to Plusnet can get it until Sun 30 Sep.

Plusnet also allows you to set a limit on your bill from £2 up to £30 (initially set at £10) over the tariff price to avoid bill shock.

Need-to-knows
  • 30-day contract.
  • Runs off the EE network.
  • Monthly spending can be capped.
  • If you're switching from another network, here's how to port (ie, move) your number to Plusnet.
  • If you exceed your allowance, it's £1.50/day for data (capped at 250MB), 40p/min for calls to UK mobiles or landlines and 12.5p per text.
  • Tethering is allowed with this network.
  • Calls to UK mobiles, landlines and 0800/0808 numbers are included – calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118 cost extra.
  • Plusnet may increase the price annually in line with inflation.
  • You'll be credit-checked – see our Credit Scores guide.
Three

4GB, unltd mins & texts: £9/mth

12MTH CONTRACT

This plan from Three* gives you unlimited minutes and texts plus 4GB of data for £9/mth over 12 months. It's available to new customers, and to existing Three customers who want a second line.

You can also use your inclusive data allowance in 71 destinations worldwide without charge, in addition to your minutes and texts back to the UK.

Need-to-knows
  • 12-month contract.
  • If you're switching from another network, here's how to port (ie, move) your number to Three.
  • If you exceed your allowance, data add-ons start from £2.50 for 250MB.
  • Tethering is permitted with this plan.
  • Calls to UK mobiles, landlines and 0800/0808 numbers are included – calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118 cost extra.
  • Three may increase the price annually in line with inflation.
  • You'll be credit-checked – see our Credit Scores guide.
iD Mobile

8GB, 500 mins, unltd texts: £11/mth*

1MTH CONTRACT

For newbies to the network, iD Mobile* – owned by Carphone Warehouse – offers a great value deal without the need to commit to a long contract. It's available to anyone who isn't currently with iD Mobile.

It costs £11/mth and comes with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and a generous 8GB of data on a one-month rolling contract. iD also allows you to roll over any unused data to the next month, and limits your bill to no more than £5 over the tariff price to avoid bill shock.

Need-to-knows
  • One-month contract.
  • Runs off the Three network.
  • Includes data rollover – keep any unused data from one month to the next.
  • If you're switching from another network, here's how to port (ie, move) your number to iD
  • If you exceed your allowance, it's 10.24p/MB for data, 40p/min for calls to UK mobiles or landlines and 14p per text.
  • Tethering isn't allowed with this network.
  • Calls to UK mobiles, landlines and 0800/0808 are included – calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118 cost extra.
  • iD may increase the price annually in line with inflation.
  • You'll be credit-checked – see our Credit Scores guide.
The best of the rest...
  • Vodafone*: 6GB of data, unltd mins & texts - £10/mth over a 12 month contract. Warning: This is a UK-only plan – roaming is not allowed; you can't make international calls or use your phone abroad (except emergency calls).
  • Giffgaff* (piggybacks on O2): 4GB of data, unltd mins, unltd texts – £12/mth on a one-month bundle.

10GB to 30GB

For the data fiends out there, these are our top picks with bundles of data each month, plus a healthy number of minutes.

iD Mobile

10GB, 500 mins, unltd texts: £12/mth*

1MTH CONTRACT

Available to newbies of iD Mobile* – owned by Carphone Warehouse – this deal offers good value without the need to commit to a long contract.

It costs £12/mth and comes with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and a decent 10GB of data on a one-month rolling contract. iD also allows you to roll over any unused data to the next month, and limits your bill to no more than £5 over the tariff price to avoid bill shock.

Need-to-knows
  • One-month contract.
  • Runs off the Three network.
  • Includes data rollover – keep any unused data from one month to the next.
  • If you're switching from another network, here's how to port (ie, move) your number to iD
  • If you exceed your allowance, it's 10.24p/MB for data, 40p/min for calls to UK mobiles or landlines and 14p per text.
  • Tethering isn't allowed with this network.
  • Calls to UK mobiles, landlines and 0800/0808 are included – calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118 cost extra.
  • iD may increase the price annually in line with inflation.
  • You'll be credit-checked – see our Credit Scores guide.
Vodafone

20GB, unltd mins & texts: '£13.34/mth'

12MTH CONTRACT

Newbies to the network can get a healthy 20GB of data with unlimited minutes & texts via this Vodafone link*.

It costs £20/mth but you're automatically sent a £80 cheque 30 days after signing up.

Over the 12-month contract you'll pay £240, yet if you factor in the cashback its £160, an equivalent £13.34/mth.

Need-to-knows
  • 12-month contract.
  • Vodafone newbies only.
  • If you exceed your allowance, it's £6.50 per 250MB for data, 55p/min for calls to UK mobiles or landlines and 35p per text.
  • If you're switching network, here's how to port (ie, move) your number to Vodafone*.
  • Tethering is allowed with this network.
  • Calls to UK mobiles, landlines and 0800/0808 are included – calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118 cost extra.
  • Vodafone may increase the price annually in line with inflation.
  • You'll be credit-checked – see our Credit Scores guide.

The best of the rest...

  • Three*: 30GB of data, unlimited mins & texts – £17/month on a 12-month contract.
  • Tesco Mobile* (piggybacks on O2): 20GB of data, 5,000 mins and 5,000 texts – £18/month on a 12-month contract.
  • O2*: 20GB of data, unlimited mins & texts – £20/mth on a 12-month contract.

How to complain about your network

The mobile industry doesn't have the best customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include limited network coverage, slow data speeds, unexpected charges and more. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not then…

Free tool if you're having a problem

resolver complaints toolThis tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will escalate it to the free Ombudsman Services (or CISAS if you're complaining about Virgin Mobile).

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, let us know by emailing voucherhelp@moneysavingexpert.com instead as that's usually quicker.

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