SIM-free means the iPhone will come without a SIM. There are two types of SIM-free phones – locked to a specific network, and unlocked. It's much better to have an unlocked SIM-free phone because you’re free to use any SIM from any network.
A SIM-only deal is a package of minutes, texts and data for a monthly cost. The difference to a traditional bundled mobile contract is that you don’t pay for your device as part of the plan, you have a SIM-free phone and get the SIM… only, from the network. Here we look at why SIM-only is smarter and how to do it as cheaply as possible.
First and foremost, it’s cheaper. The average person in the UK uses less than 2GB of data per month according to the Ofcom Communications Market report 2018. However the networks make us think that we need considerably more – their bundled SIM and phone contracts typically include 30-60GB per month, and upselling to 100GB or unlimited plans is common. By ‘decoupling’ the SIM and device you’re free to choose from a wide variety of great SIM-only deals that suit your actual usage needs.
Secondly, it’s more flexible. With a SIM-only contract you don't get locked into lengthy contracts. A lot can change in 24 months, and the price of data has been falling consistently over the last few years. SIM-only plans are typically either monthly rolling or 12 months. This frees you up to switch both networks or deals if a better option comes up.
Even those already embracing the benefits of SIM-only often have very little idea how much data they use each month, and the networks use this to their advantage.
If you have an iPhone you can follow these simple steps to work out your average monthly data usage.
Here are a few examples of what you could be paying depending on your usage.
If you’re worried about going through your monthly limit now and again, you can leave yourself a little headroom… but new legislation allows consumers to set a monthly bill cap (your network must offer this) so you won’t get bill shock and you can decide if you need to top-up mid month.
If you’ve been on a network website lately you’ll probably agree that it’s information overload. You might also notice that the best deals are not always on the networks’ own website (crazy we know) but instead on a third party website. To get a sensible independent view we recommend checking out MoneySavingExpert’s Best SIM-Only deals section.
The networks make it sound like switching and keeping your number is a lot of hassle. It’s not. Simply ask for your current network provider for your “PAC” (porting authorisation code), which must be provided to you immediately over the phone or within two hours by text. Once you have a PAC, it is valid for 30 days. When you provide it to your new network, they will contact your current provider to advise them of the change. This should take no more than one business day, and once the process is complete your old network contract will be cancelled automatically. Just remember that you may have to pay early termination charges.
So there you have it – we hope you can save money and enjoy the flexibility of being SIM-only. If you’re SIM-only and ready for a new SIM-free phone, join Raylo for the best iPhone contract deal for a smarter way to get the next iPhone this September.
In a world where we may have reached ‘maximum iPhone’, what does the future look like for Apple and its flagship product?
Dubious 0% APR claims are yet another dodgy tactic from the phone networks that hurt the consumer. But, that doesn’t mean you have to go along with it.