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SIM free mobile phones

Buying a mobile phone without a SIM card gives you the freedom of not having to sign a contract or committing to a particular network. Here’s what you need to know…

Buying a mobile phone without a SIM card gives you the freedom of not having to sign a contract or committing to a particular network. Here’s what you need to know…

Holly Niblett
From the Digital team
minute read
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Posted 26 JUNE 2020

What is a SIM free mobile phone?

A SIM free - or handset only – deal means you can buy the mobile phone of your choice without a SIM card in the package, so there’s no contract or commitment to a specific network.   

SIM free phones come unlocked, so you can decide which SIM card to use in them.    

Most contract and Pay as you go (PAYG) SIMs will work in SIM free handsets.

Please note that you can’t compare SIM free mobile phones with Compare the Market.

Why would I want a SIM free mobile phone?

It would be crazy to stump up money for a mobile phone when mobile networks give you one for free with a contract, right?  

But, in reality, the handsets aren’t free – the networks need to recoup their ‘gift’ of the handset by committing users to lengthy contracts, which can be expensive. 

What are the other benefits of a SIM free deal?

The main benefit of a SIM free (handset only) deal is you’re not tied into a contract, so you have the freedom to decide:

  • how you pay for your service
  • who you pay for your service.

Having the option of 'pay as you go' or SIM only will mean that your monthly payments could be cheaper than with a phone contract
Many SIM only deals are for just one month, which makes it quick and easy to change network providers. So, if you’re going abroad, simply choose a SIM only deal that offers international roaming.

Can I switch phones with a SIM free deal?

Yes. With SIM free mobile phones, you can buy yourself a new phone whenever you want, with no buy-out fee or remaining contract payments. 

You can even sell, recycle or trade in your old one to recoup some cash.

This can be handy if you like having the latest phone and find it frustrating when you want the new release, but you’re only halfway through your current contract.

How could a SIM free deal be good if I’m in a contract?

If you’re in a phone contract and you break or lose your phone, you could buy a cheap SIM-free mobile phone and put your contract SIM in it. 

It might save you a replacement fee if you’re not insured, and there are plenty of unlocked SIM free mobile phones out there. 

It shouldn't be a problem to find a deal that’s right for you. You can then bide your time until the end of your contract and decide on your next mobile phone deal then.

Is SIM free a good option if I have a bad credit score?

Yes. If you've had difficulty with credit in the past, you may have trouble getting a phone contract.  

But this doesn't mean you can't have a mobile. You could choose one of the cheap SIM free mobile phones and use a pay as you go (PAYG) SIM, until you’ve improved your credit score enough to be considered for a contract.

Whatever the reason, if you’re interested in owning your phone outright and not being tied to a network, there are plenty of phones to choose from. 

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