Buyer's Guide To Sim Only Contracts
To be honest, I am not one of those people who idolises their phone and constantly playing with it throughout the day. I have had my iPhone now for just over 2 years so my contractual obligation with O2 is now at an end and I am looking for new representation. I was thinking of renewing my contract with O2 and get myself a shiny new iPhone 5, but that would cost me £230 plus the £26 per month I already pay for minutes and texts I rarely use. Although my old iPhone is a little slow these days, there is life in the old phone yet so instead of breaking the bank on an expensive 2 year contract plus £230 for the phone upgrade, I have decided to keep my old phone and find a new contract on a SIM only basis. Not only should this save me money on a monthly basis, but it also allows me the flexibility to leave if an offer that is too good to refuse comes in for me to upgrade my phone.
All the major networks offer Sim Only Contracts so there are plenty of options to choose from. Some contracts are designed for those who love to browse the Internet while others are tailored more towards texters or those who prefer more extra minutes than they do bandwidth. I currently pay £34 for 1,000 free minutes, 5,000 texts and the subsidy for my old iPhone 4s. If I am going to move to a sim only contract I do not want to pay more than £15 so I don't mind sacrificing minutes or texts as I very rarely use them up anyway.
Vodafone - Pay Monthly Sim
The pay monthly sim from Vodafone gives you 600 free minutes and unlimited standard UK texts for just £15.50 per month. I have used Vodafone a few times before in the past and was always happy with their coverage, unlike Three mobile which I have terrible trouble getting reception in my own home. In addition to the free minutes and texts you also get free calls to other Vodafone mobiles but this is only a real benefit if your friends and family are also on Vodafone. The biggest drawback for me was that you are locked into this contract for 12 months and it only includes 500 MB of UK internet. This does not sound too expensive but I am used to free data usage with O2 so I better watch out for these extra charges.
Three Mobile - 12 Months Three Sim Only
To be honest, Three better have a blooming good deal if I am even to consider them as my mobile network due to the sometimes poor coverage they have around the UK. Like the Vodafone deal, you get 5,000 free texts with this contract as well as 600 free minutes talk time. With Three you get All-you-can-eat data free per month (which you cannot get on Vodafone) as well as an extra PAYG SIM card for a friend. Overall a better package than Vodafone but still not enough for me to warrant all the swearing and frustration I go through when I cannot pickup a decent reception.
O2 - 30 Days O2 SIM Only Contracts
It is safe to say I am already used to O2 after spending the past two years on their network so let's see what their SIM Only deals are like. For the text lovers, O2 seem to be the best package with unlimited texts and 300 free minutes talk time for £15.50 per month. When it comes to selecting your plan with O2 you can add features such as Data Allowance to the deal which costs £3 for 100mb of data or £10 for 1gb so it's very similar to the other two in terms of data prices. The best thing about this O2 contract is you are not tied down and can cancel at any time which makes this a perfect option for me when I find a decent deal for an upgrade. If you decide to go for the annual option, they will even give you a £50 M&S voucher which is a very nice touch.
Orange - Canary Sim Only
For some reason Orange have decided to call their contracts weird names so the comparable Sim Only package I could find from Orange is called Canary and it comes in both 12 month and 30 day contracts. If you go for the monthly contract (so you can cancel at any time) you will get 300 free minutes plus unlimited texts for £15.50. If you for the 12 month option your free minutes treble to 600 minutes for the same price of £15.50 per month. In terms of data pricing, they are again comparable to the others charging £1 a day for data usage.
After going though the top networks to see what they have to offer, it looks like I am staying with O2 after all by cutting my monthly bill in half. There is little difference between Orange and O2 in terms of pricing and features but due to my phone being locked to O2, it is easier for me to stay with the same network than it will be to unlock my phone for Orange. But this is only down to my personal circumstances. Had I not been with O2 I would most certainly look into the Orange contract more on their monthly contract.