How do SIM-only deals work?
A SIM only deal is exactly what it sounds like – it only includes a SIM card, so you need to have an existing handset in which to put it. SIM only deals can be just as varied as other deals – you'll still get a package of texts, data and call minutes just as you would if you were looking for a traditional phone contract, and you'll still have a broad range of options to choose from.
SIM-only deals can be a lot more affordable than other phone contracts, but you need to make sure you choose the one that suits your needs, as well as the handset you're planning to use with the SIM.
The most obvious saving with a SIM only deal is on the handset itself. If you already have a handset that you're happy with, there's no need to spend hundreds on a new one when all you really need is a new SIM. Even if you don't have a handset ready and waiting, a SIM-only deal can still save you money – it may well be possible to buy a handset more affordably than you could in the type of package deal that includes both phone and SIM. For instance, you might want to buy a second-hand phone, look at an older or very basic model, or find a refurbished phone that has been used but has been checked over and repaired to be used again.
Once the question of a handset is settled, there's also some variation between SIM only deals. Some of them cost as little as a few pounds a month, but the very cheapest deals will often have very small usage allowances and might charge excessively if you exceed the limits, so make sure you choose a deal that matches how much you're likely to use the phone. If you have an existing phone that lets you see how much data and how many minutes and texts you use, take a look at your usage over the last year or so and see if it tends to stay the same from month to month. If it does, then use that as a guideline when you're choosing a deal. There's no point paying extra for 10GB of data if you only tend to use 2GB in a month! For information on 3 sim only deal checkout 3g sim plans or if you want one on the high street try Tesco
Your choice of data plan will depend a lot on how you use your phone. If you like to use your phone to stream music and video when you're out and about, if you regularly find yourself having to top up your data before the month rolls over, or if you need constant internet access throughout the day, an unlimited plan might be for you. If you spend most of your day on the office WiFi and only use your data between work and home, you probably don't need all that much data.
Bear in mind that unlimited plans tend to cost significantly more than plans with more modest data allowances – an unlimited plan could cost around twice as much as a plan that offers 10GB of data. Make sure that you're using a large enough amount of data to make an unlimited plan worthwhile.
It's also worth knowing that some unlimited plans still have restrictions on exactly how you can use your data. For example, some deals may apply speed limits after you have used a certain amount, or they might impose restrictions on tethering, so that you can't share your data with friends who have less than you. Make sure to check carefully exactly what you're getting before you make a choice. For full information read our guide on unlimited data and find out if you need it.
If you travel internationally, think about what you use your phone for most. Do you mostly use it for calls, or do you tend to use it to check your social media? If the answer is a mix of both, make sure you look out for deals that include roaming data as well as international texts and minutes.
If you're going on a longer trip and staying in a variety of places, this is one situation where an unlimited data plan might be a good idea. Travel is a lot less stressful if you don't have to worry about finding access to WiFi wherever you go. If your trip is only a few months, it might be worth looking into pay-as-you-go deals rather than committing to a longer contract that you don't necessarily need.
What's the Difference Between Pay-as-you-go and Pay Monthly SIM Deals?
With a pay-as-you-go SIM deal, you only pay for the texts, minutes and data you actually use, and you can stop any time as there's no contract. You just buy what you need, when you need it. Some providers will allow you to buy bundles of texts, minutes and data, so if you have a rough idea of what you use each month, you can just buy the appropriate bundle and not worry about it until it's time to top up. While it's very flexible, pay-as-you-go might work out more expensive than a monthly deal if you use your phone a lot.
A pay monthly deal is just what it sounds like – you'll pay each month for a fixed amount of texts, minutes and data. Contracts are often shorter than for deals that include handsets – 12-month deals are typical, as are rolling contracts that can be cancelled at any time as long as you give a month's notice. This is great if you need flexibility or if you're not sure how long you'll need to use the SIM.
What Size of SIM Card Should I Get For My Phone?
There are three main types of SIM cards – standard, micro and nano. Older handset models tend to use standard SIMs, while phones made in the last few years tend to use micro SIMs. Nano SIM cards are fairly new and are used in the most up-to-date phones. Which one you need depends entirely on which handset you have. If you're not sure, search for the phone's specifications online, or if the handset you plan to use has an existing SIM card, take it out and have a look. A standard SIM measures about 25x15mm, while a micro SIM is around 15x12mm. Nano SIMs are even tinier, at 12.3x8.8mm.
What Type of SIM Can I Use in My Tablet?
The answer to this question will depend on what type of tablet you have. Not all tablets are set up to accept mobile data, so first check your tablet to see whether it even has a slot for a SIM card. Many newer tablets will have one, but if your tablet is older or not specifically designed for using mobile data, it may be missing.
Once you have confirmed that your tablet can work with a SIM card, find out what model it is. Once you have that information, to see exactly which type of SIM you need.
What sim card size does my tablet take?
Brand Model Sim Card Size
Apple iPad micro-sim
Apple iPad 2 micro-sim
Apple iPad (3rd generation) micro-sim
Apple iPad (4rd generation) micro-sim
Apple Ipad Air nano-sim
Apple iPad Air 2 nano-sim
Apple iPad 9.7 nano-sim + eSIM
Apple iPad 9.7 (2017) nano-sim + eSIM
Apple iPad 9.7 (2018) nano-sim
Apple iPad Mini nano-sim
Apple iPad 3 mini nano-sim
Apple iPad 4 mini nano-sim
Apple Ipad Mini Retina nano-sim
Apple iPad Pro nano-sim
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 (2017) nano-sim + eSIM
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) nano-sim + eSIM
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 3G P7500 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE I905 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v P7100 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 I705 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 P3100 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 V micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 4G micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8 micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G LTE mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus P6200 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE I815 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 P6800 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G P7320T mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE I957 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 P7300 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab A & S Pen micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2016) nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 4G micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0 (2016) nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2017) nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7 micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 8 micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab CDMA P100 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab E 8.0 nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.6 micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000 mini-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 4G micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 4G micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 4G micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 4G micro-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8 4G nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 4G nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7 nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 10.5 nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy View nano-sim
Samsung Galaxy View 4G nano-sim
Samsung Note 9 4G micro-sim
Samsung Note 10.1 4G micro-sim
Samsung Tab3 7 4G micro-sim
Samsung Tabs4 4G micro-sim
How Do I Connect My iPad to My iPhone to Use the Internet?
Tethering your iPad to your iPhone so that you can use your phone's mobile data is fairly simple. Go into your iPhone's Settings menu and turn on your Personal Hotspot. Make sure you create a password so that only you can use it. Then, go to the Settings menu on your iPad, select WiFi, choose your iPhone, and connect just like you would to any other network, putting in the password you created when prompted.
Sim only deals are an excellent way to save money as long as you have the handset or tablet you are happy with.
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