Free Sim Cards: Some basic information
Over the past 5 years, Mobile Phone companies have been locking us into our contracts for longer and longer terms. Mobile phone contracts used to lock their customers in for a maximum of 12 months before allowing us renegotiate our deal and of course get an upgrade for our now dated phones. Now days it is difficult to find a mobile contract that locks you in for less than 2 years which is a very long time to wait between upgrades especially when paying for a premium contract just to get the latest phone in the first place. If like me you prefer to purchase your mobile phones separately from a mobile phone contract, you can save yourself a bundle by using free Pay As You Go sim cards. Most of the major networks offer free sim cards for Pay as you Go customers and the purpose of this review is to find out which free sim card provides the best service and value without being tied down to a long term contract.
For those who love to text but do not make a lot of phone calls, the best sim card for you would be the Text Plan from T-Mobile. This will give you unlimited texts for just £10 per month (with fair use policy so don't go over the top) however call charges will be quite high. The £5 Giff Gaff Goodybag sim card might also be worth considering as they offer unlimited texts with a £5 top up.
If you are not interested in texting or internet usage then you may be interested in a number of tarrifs. Networks are a bit sneaky by offering special rates for calling other mobiles on their networks. If you have a number of friends / family on the same network you may want to check out the Vodafone and O2 sim cards who offer free minutes to other phones on the same network. As our friends and family are often spread across a number of networks, I don't think these deals are as good as they are on paper so I would opt for either the Tesco Mobile sim card with 750 free minutes (plus 5k texts) or go for the straight forward Racoon tariff from Orange which offers the lowest rate calls of all the other sim cards.
Most people have smartphones these days, and with smartphones comes internet access. Some PAYG providers charge quite a bit per megabyte of internet usage so if you intend to read a lot of emails or browse the web on your phone you are going to need an internet tariff. The Giff Gaff £12 Goodybag gives you unlimited texts as well as unlimited internet usage for just £12 while the Three network offer a similar package with 300 free minutes, 3k texts and All-you-can-eat data for £15 per month. On paper, the Three plan is a much better deal than Giff Gaff's however I personally have a problem with the Three network as I have always found it difficult to get a decent reception so I would still pick the Giff Gaff deal (they use O2's network) over Three's just for better reception.
For International Callers
For those with friends and family abroad, most mobile networks have catered to you too. For me the International sim by O2 provides the best deal by offering great rates for international minutes and unlimited UK calls and texts to O2 with every £15 top up. Vodafone have a similar deal offering 60 free international minutes with every £10 top-up. Orange have a similar tariff called Camel which provides 60 free minutes with just a £10 top up but works out slightly more expensive than the O2 & Vodafone sims.
For A Bit Of Everything
So you like to text your mates every now and then, make a few phone calls and browse the web when you really need to. For those who do just a bit of everything the Sim Only deal from Three Mobile would be the best with 100 minutes of talk time, 3k texts and 500mb worth of data for £10/month. If I happen to live in one of those areas where the Three network is not strong then I would opt for the Vodafone Freedom Free Sim Card which offers 100 minutes, 300 texts & 50mb internet usage in return for £10/month.
Most mobile networks offer a variety of free sims depending on the customers tastes. For instance, there are PAYG Sim cards specially designed for people who text a lot while other tariffs are catered towards smart phone users with free internet bundled in. International callers are also catered for by a number of networks who give away free international calls minutes for every top up you make. Ultimately the best free sim card for you to chose will depend on what you intend to use it for.