What is a Sim Only phone contract

Most of us when buying a new phone sign up to a phone contract. You can get 12-month phone contracts, but they’ve increased over the years. Most contracts today are either 18 or 24 months.

The main reason we choose to enter into a phone contract is that you don’t need to pay for the phone upfront. This makes sense when you consider mobile phones can cost anything between £300 right up to £1,000+.

Having to pay for a phone outright is simply not an option for many of us. This makes a phone contract the only option. The downside is you’re then paying a higher price during the contract. This is because you’re paying for the actual contract and the cost of the phone.

If you do your maths you’ll generally find it’s cheaper to buy the phone outright. This is because you can get a really good sim only deal, and you always tend to pay a little more for the phone inside a contract. However, if this is not possible due to your budget. You’re left with the option of entering into a phone contract.

Once the phone contract as finished though. The phone belongs to you and you’re no longer tied to the network provider you signed the contract with. Many people choose to sign up to a new contract to get a new phone. However, a lot of people also choose to keep their phone.

If you keep your phone for another year or even two years. You can dramatically decrease your monthly cost going towards your phone contract. This is where a sim only deal is perfect.


Many years ago sim only contracts did not exist. You had two options and that was a monthly phone contract or pay as go (PAYG). PAYG still exists today but they are less common, as most people decide to choose a sim only contract instead.

When you buy a sim only contract. As the name suggests you’re still entering into a contract. The difference is you have a much wider choice of providers. Also, the contract term is usually a lot shorter.

The most common sim only contract is 30 days and 12 months. However, you can get sim only contracts, which are now longer than this. The one you choose will largely depend on your individual circumstances.

Sim only contracts are much cheaper than a monthly phone contract. This is because you’re only paying to use the network. You’re not having to pay for a phone as well.

It all depends on the type of contract you choose. However, it’s not unrealistic to go from paying £50 a month to paying as little as £15 a month or even less. The best thing is you can find sim only contracts that offer you a similar package to what you had with your monthly phone contract.


A thirty-day sim only contract is a good choice if you’ve just come out of a phone contract, but unsure what to do next. Instead of jumping straight back into another 24-month phone contract. Choosing a 30-day sim only contract will allow you to consider your options.

You may be unsure whether you want to stay with your current network provider. It’s also a good idea if a phone you want is not yet available and you don’t want to sign another 24-month contract until it is. Choosing a 30-day sim only contract will give you the flexibility to sit tight and wait for the phone of your dreams to be released.

30 day sim only phone contract
30 day contracts are great if you’re undecided

Another good reason for choosing a sim only contract is to check whether a network provider is right for you. This is a really good idea because the last thing you want to do is get tied into a 24-month contract; only to realise the network offers poor reception in your area.

The downside of a 30-day sim only contract is they are generally more expensive than a 12-month contract. So I’d only use a 30-day sim only contract if you’re waiting for a new phone to be released or to check whether a network provider is right for you.


A 12-month sim only contract offers great value for money. You’ll get a much better deal than you would with a 30-day contract. However, you need to remember it does mean you’re signing up to a 12-month contract.

So before doing this make sure you’re happy with the phone network. If you’ve used them before then you don’t need to worry. If you’ve never had any experience with them before. It’s possibly wise to check what they offer with a 30-day contract first.

You also need to be confident that your phone has 12 months left in it. If you’ve looked after your phone and the battery still performs well. Then getting another 12-month contract should be no problem.

If your phone does give up on you halfway through your contract. You’d still be liable to pay what is left on the contract. This would mean you’d either have to accept that or buy another phone outright to see out the rest of the contract.


You can now get sim only contracts, which are longer than 12 months. Although these may offer great deals. I’d be very careful because it’s very difficult to know if your current phone will last more than 12 months.

Also, sim only contract deals can change a lot. If you’ve signed up to a contract longer than 12 months. You’d be pretty annoyed if a few months later sim only contracts suddenly become a whole lot cheaper.

If you want excellent value for money and you’re more than confident your phone will last. Then opting for more than 12 months might be beneficial. I’d say for most people though. They’re possibly not the right solution.


Sim only contracts are great because they offer excellent value for money. The choice you now get when choosing a sim only contract is huge.

This is good to see because it means providers wanting your business need to offer competitive prices.

You should definitely do your homework though before signing up to a 12-month sim only contract. If you’ve not heard of the provider before. I’d definitely consider getting a 30-day contract first.

If you’ve just come out of a 24-month phone contract and your phone is still in good working order. Buying a sim only contract is a great way of reducing your monthly outgoings.