What to do when your phone dies and you have a sim only contract

There are great benefits of being on a sim only contract. Firstly, you’ve got more choice when choosing a network provider. Secondly, you pay a whole lot less on a monthly basis compared to a monthly phone contract.

The only issue you’ll have when it comes to using sim only contracts is the phone. Most of us choose a sim only contract when we’ve just come out of a monthly phone contract.

You may have been paying £50+ every month for 24 months, so the idea of being in a situation to reduce this is very appealing. Also, a lot of phones can last longer than 24 months.

So instead of signing up to a new monthly phone contract. You can save money by keeping your phone for another one or even two years. During this time you can choose either a 30 day or 12-month sim only contract.

This is all great at the beginning. Your monthly outgoings on your phone bill have greatly reduced and your sim only plan offers you all the benefits of your monthly phone contract.

However, you will get to a stage where your phone is no longer fit for purpose. At this stage, you’re in a tricky position, as to what you should do next.


Although it’s great using an old phone for a couple of years to cut your monthly outgoings. You will get to a stage where you’ll need to say goodbye to your mobile phone.

There can be many reasons for this. The most common being the battery life. As soon as your phone only manages to hold enough charge for a couple of hours. It’s time to consider whether using your older phone is still worth it.

Another reason, which a lot of us overlook is the operating system your phone is using. A brand new phone should easily last four years without having to worry about the operating system being out of date.

When you should replace your old mobile phone
You can only get so much out of your old phone before it’s time to say goodbye

The risk starts to be a problem when you try and get another year from your phone. If your battery still performs well you may think you could easily get another 12-month sim only contract.

This is fine if your operating system is still secure. If you’re using a phone where updates to the operating system have stopped. Then you’re potentially at a higher risk of your phone being infected by viruses.

If this is the case it’s time to think about getting a new phone. So let’s take a look at the options you have available.


Many of us decide the best way of dealing with the situation is to sign up to a new monthly phone contract. This is fine if you’re after a brand new phone offering all the latest features.

The downside of course is you’ll have to get used to paying a lot more on a monthly basis. Monthly phone contracts are great because you don’t need to buy a phone upfront. However, this cost is then spread over the contract, so you’ll be paying a lot more than a sim only contract costs.

If you like the idea of getting the latest phone. Then this is possibly the best option for you. Alternatively, you could buy the same phone outright and buy a separate sim only contract. This is obviously going to be a very expensive option, but would most likely still work out a little cheaper than a monthly phone contract.

So if you’ve got the money. You may be better off buying the phone upfront and buying a separate sim only contract. You can easily do the maths to see if it does work out cheaper over the term.


Say you find a Samsung phone you want and find a monthly contract that suits your needs. It’s over a 24 month period and it will cost you £55 per month. Over the length of the contract, you’ll pay £1,320.00.

If you can buy the same phone for £799 outright, and find a sim only plan for £15 per month. You’d divide the phone price by 24 months, which is £33.29 per month. You then add £15, which gives a monthly total of £48.29. Over a period of 24 months, you’d pay £1,159.00.

How to work out whether a monthly phone plan or buying phone upfront will be cheaper
You can easily do the maths to find out what will be cheaper when buying a new phone

So in this example, you’d be saving £161 over the 24 month period if you buy the phone upfront and then choose a sim only contract.

However, I appreciate this is not an option for many of us. If you are unable to pay the cost upfront. You’d have to choose the monthly phone contract and accept the extra cost this would involve.


Not everyone is interested in having the latest flagship phone. Many manufacturers have started to realise this. This is great news because it means you can now get really decent phones at a much cheaper price.

You’d be surprised what you can pick up if you have a look around. Yes, the phone will not have all the latest tech, but they still offer good specs for the money. An example of this is the Samsung Galaxy S10. It’s still expensive for some of us, but much cheaper than a flagship.

If you do decide to buy a cheaper phone. You may be in a situation where you can buy it upfront. This would then allow you to choose a sim only plan rather than a monthly phone contract.

Even if buying a mid-range phone upfront is out of your budget. You could still get the same phone on a monthly phone contract at a much cheaper price than choosing a plan offering a flagship phone.


If you are really happy with having a sim only contract and the idea of getting a new monthly phone plan is not for you. Then the best option is to buy a much cheaper phone.

Even phones in the low-range price category can offer everything you’ll need. By doing this you’ll be making huge savings compared to a monthly phone plan with a flagship phone included.

The Samsung Galaxy A41 is a great example of a cheap phone with all the thrills. You can pick this up at a really affordable price, which most of us could cope with buying upfront.

This will then allow you to shop around for the best sim only deal. You’d be surprised how much you can save by doing this.


Do not get too concerned if your phone is about to die on you. You’ve got plenty of options available. A monthly phone plan may be right for some of us. If it isn’t buying a mid-range or budget phone and getting a separate sim only contract is a good alternative.

The thing to remember is your monthly outgoings. You need to weigh up whether having the latest phone is worth paying £55 per month. Compared to getting a cheaper phone and sim only contract, which would cost a lot less.

The best thing is that you do have choices. It’s down to you to decide, which is the right choice for you.