30 day SIM only deals
If you’re after a short-term, flexible mobile contract then the best option for you could be a 30-day SIM deal. You may want to keep your old phone or save money by buying a new phone that’s not attached to a lengthy contract. 30-day SIM deals may also provide a cheaper option than normal PAYG SIMs. Read our useful guide to find out more about 30-day rolling SIM deals.
What is a 30-day SIM only contract?
Traditional pay as you go deals require you to buy credit so that you pay for your calls, texts and data as you use them. You aren’t tied to any contract or commitment and can therefore change your mobile deal whenever you like.
With a 30-day SIM only rolling contract, you can leave with just 30 days’ notice. They operate the same as longer contracts, in that you pay monthly for a certain allowance of calls, texts and data, only they are more flexible.
The other option, which can be better value, is to purchase a pay as you go ‘bundle’. This is usually a one-month contract with a monthly allowance of calls, texts and data. However, rather than paying monthly you buy the credit first. You will then either use your allowance or it will expire at the end of the month and you can either change or renew your deal. Prepaid pay as you go SIMs are a flexible and cheap option for your mobile use.
How does a pay as you go SIM work?
When you get a pay as you go SIM card, it will most often come with an allowance of 30 days’ worth of calls, texts and data, ready to be activated. The SIM will renew every month, but you are only tied into the SIM plan for a single month, meaning that it is flexible and can be changed or cancelled at any time, at no extra cost. The allowance of calls, texts and data, as well as how much you pay for the SIM deal, will differ depending on which tariff and mobile network provider you choose. Many 30 day SIM only deals even come with unlimited calls and texts, so the only thing you need to top up is your data allowance.
A 30-day SIM works out much cheaper than a traditional pay as you go deal, and also avoids the long contracts you are tied into for the usual mobile contracts.
Here are some useful tips that you should consider before you take out a 30-day SIM only deal:
- Allowance amount – make sure you don’t buy an allowance that is overgenerous and has far more calls, texts and data than you would ever use in 30 days. It is likely you could get a cheaper tariff with the right allowance for your needs. Alternatively, make sure you buy one that covers your usage effectively – it can be annoying to run out of call time or data right when you’re in the middle of doing something.
- Unlocked phones – if your existing handset was bought with a traditional mobile phone contract then it may be locked to the network provider. If the contract has ended it is easy and free to unlock the phone so you can use it with a different deal. Unlocking can take up to 10 days depending on your situation so keep this in mind.
- Keeping your number – if you are switching deals then it is possible to keep the same mobile number. Just make sure that you request your PAC (porting authorisation code) from your old provider before you leave. You can then give the PAC to your new provider within 30 days of your new deal and they will switch your number within one working days.
- Read the terms and conditions – some SIM deals will offer an introductory price for your first month and then increase the monthly rate, so be sure to check the policy before you sign up.
Best SIM deals for occasional use
It can be frustrating to lose your phone, or even to use your phone for things where you aren’t comfortable giving out your number. It can therefore be useful to have a backup SIM that you keep for emergency use, or for very occasional use.
In this case it is better to use a traditional pay as you go deal instead of a 30-day SIM. This way you won’t be paying for an allowance that you don’t use. Some of the cheaper pay as you go providers are 1pMobile and ASDA (who both use EE’s network), and Three (who offer 30 day SIM plans with unlimited data) and Lebara Mobile (who use Vodafone’s network).
1pMobile are the cheapest of these providers as texts are only 1p, calls are 1p per minute and data is 1p per MB! The only stipulation of this deal is that you have to top up £10 every four months to stay connected.
Make sure to compare mobile phone deals in order to find the cheapest one for you.
What is the best pay as you go deal for roaming abroad?
In all European Union countries, you are allowed to use your UK allowance of minutes, texts and data until 31 December 2020. However, some countries outside of the EU charge large amounts to use their networks so it can be important to plan ahead. Three has potentially the best pay as you go SIM deal when it comes to roaming, allowing you to use your allowance in 71 destinations, including the USA and Australia. You should also check the overseas bundle of your current network as sometimes there will be add-ons available to your deal.
Which networks offer 30-day SIM only deals?
Networks that offer pay as you go SIM deals include but are not limited to:
Last reviewed: 13 July 2022
Next review: 13 August 2022