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Last updated: 07 July 2023
If you’re looking to save money on your mobile contract and are happy with your current handset, a 12-month SIM only deal could be for you.
With a 12-month SIM only plan, you just pay for the minutes, texts, and data that you use each month. And because you’re not spreading the cost of increasingly expensive handsets each time you upgrade, 12-month SIM only deals are considerably cheaper than traditional mobile phone contracts
Best 12-month SIM only deals in 2023
The best 12-month SIM only deals currently on the market include:
Which networks offers 12-month SIM deals?
Most networks providers in the UK offer SIM only deals on 12-month contracts, including:
O2 offers a number of 12-month SIM only deals, ranging from 1GB of data per month to unlimited plans. As well as being the only major UK network to no reintroduce roaming charges in the EU, O2 offers a number of perks with certain deals, including gift cards and up to 3 months of Apple Music for free.
O2 12-month SIM only deals
Three’s 12-month SIM only deals also range from 1GB of data per month to unlimited. All of Three’s 12-month SIMs are also 5G-ready, which is great for those with the latest smartphones, while you’ll also get a £5 monthly discount for paying via direct debit.
Three 12-month SIM only deals
Vodafone offers a range of 12-month SIM only plans, from 1GB per month all the way up to unlimited. Some of their SIMs also come with a wide range of perks, including your choice of a YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime Video, or Spotify subscription on Vodafone’s Entertainment plans, or inclusive roaming and data boosts when you opt for Vodafone Xtra benefits.
Vodafone 12-month SIM only deals
A few of EE’s SIM only deals are available on 12-month contracts. Benefits include the fastest 5G connections in the UK, and Smart Benefits which include your choice of Netflix, Apple Music, BT Sport, and more.
EE 12-month SIM only deals
BT Mobile’s 12-month SIM only deals range from 4GB to 100GB of data per month, so you should be able to find a plan that fits your needs. All of BT’s SIMs are 5G-ready, while plans with 20GB of data per month or more come with the BT Sport app included.
BT Mobile 12-month SIM only deals
Sky Mobile offers a number of 12-month SIM only deals, ranging from 2GB to 50GB of data per month. Benefits include data rollovers, widespread coverage, and some very competitively priced plans.
Sky Mobile 12-month SIM only deals
What to look out for in a 12-month SIM only deal
When deciding if a 12-month SIM only plan is right for you, as opposed to other types of mobile deal, it’s important to consider what exactly you need out of your plans. Some of the main things to consider include:
With most 12-month SIM only plans coming with unlimited texts and minutes, the main difference you’ll notice between deals is the data allowance. It’s important to get this right, as getting too little could mean you’re cut off or have to pay for expensive data add-ons, while getting too much will mean you’re paying for a service you’re not using. For more advice, check out our page on how much mobile data you need.
While all 12-month SIM only plans will obviously last for a year, it’s important to weigh up whether this is the right contract length for you. Alternatives include rolling, monthly contracts which give you the flexibility to leave whenever you like, and lengthier 24-month contracts, which typically come with lower monthly costs.
While this may seem obvious, it’s important to get a 12-month SIM only deal that you can afford. Monthly costs will typically increase the more data you get, but you should take the time to consider a range of different networks – as huge savings can be found. Prices start at just £5 per month on the cheapest deals, while you could be paying for £30+ each month on others.
Perks & extras
Another thing to look out for that could also soften the blow of the monthly cost, are certain perks and benefits that many network providers offer. These can vary from pre-paid reward cards, to free subscriptions to services like BT Sport, Apple Music, or Amazon Prime Video. While you shouldn’t base your decision solely on these extras, they can often be a deal breaker, turning a good deal into a great one.
Finally, you should consider the mobile network you want to go for. While the Big Four – EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone – have the bigger reputations, and often the widest choice of deals, they often come with a premium. You should also consider smaller MVNOs and the perks they offer, while you also be sure to check network coverage in your area before signing up to any contract.
Should you get a 12-month SIM plan?
To help you make the decision whether a 12-month SIM only deal is right for you, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons compared to other types of mobile deal:
|Cheaper than traditional mobile phone contracts, rolling SIM only deals, and PAYG plans
||You don’t get a new handset
|Can use them SIM in any handset
||Not as flexible as rolling, monthly SIM only deals
|Easier topass the credit check compared to mobile phone contracts
||More expensive than 24-month SIM only deals