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SIM only or contract – What’s best for you?

You have the option of buying a phone without a contract. Do you go with SIM only or the contract route? We’ll highlight some options below.


The tricky question of whether a phone contract is better than a SIM only deal is one that doesn’t have a definitive answer. Like with most comparative decisions in the tech world it’s one of those things that depend on who you are and what you like: it’s not a one-size-fits all kind of a question.

Because there are so many contract and sim only contracts from we know it can be tough to make the right decision, and let’s be honest, comparing contracts and sifting through small print is not for everyone. So, we have compared some of the top questions you need to answer to find what’s best for you.

Do you want to avoid a big initial outlay?

The big plus of a contract is that you don’t have to fork out one big up-front fee for your phone. The joy of the contract is that you can spread the cost of the handset over the course of 18 or 24 months. That initial outlay can be a deal breaker. More phone in your hand and more cash in your pocket from day one explains why contracts are so popular.

While that may sound good on paper, figures show that on average, British people pay £92 more annually than their non-contract counterparts.

This then is the first big trade-off between Contract v SIM Only. With a contract you get the latest flagship model in your hand that day without paying out hundreds of pounds, but are then locked into that for the next 12 to 24 months.

What sort of a user are you?

In the first place though, choosing the right contract can itself be quite confusing. The trick is to know what sort of a user you are and to keep a clearly defined set of requirements in mind: there is no point paying for thousands of texts if you do all your messaging online. Packages that incorporate several phones into the one account can be perfect for families. They can also be a way around that credit-score issue for younger users.

Are you a techy?

If you love tech, gadgets and all the latest gear then going alone with a SIM Only may be what’s right for you as again, you have the flexibility and the option to sell and buy new handsets as much as you like.

Then again, if tech is not your thing and you just want an easy life a contract is the way to go. Knowing where you are week in and week out, and not having to duck and dive for the latest deal, can be worth its weight in gold. Not everyone wants to change phones every fortnight.

Are you in the family?

If you are part of a family it may be the case that you can enjoy the benefits of a family plan if you opt for a contract payment plan. Vodafone’s Red+ and EE’s shared Plans are great examples of deals that will give you better rates if several of you sign up on the same deal. They also come with the added benefit of just one account, one bill and one point of contact if anything needs sorting out.

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