Cut your mobile phone bill

Published by Rachel Lacey on 10 May 2010.
Last updated on 23 August 2011

Do you fancy reducing your mobile phone bill to just £10 a month? If so, then a SIM-only mobile tariff could be the answer.

SIM-only deals do as the name suggests; provide you with just a SIM card and you have to provide the handset yourself.

The SIM card is the small card inside your mobile phone which stores data such as a customer’s mobile phone number and address book contact information.

SIM cards allow users to easily transport their phone numbers and contacts to new phones simply by removing the card from the old phone and inserting it in the new one.

Traditionally mobile phone firms offer contracts that include a handset and a set number of call minutes and texts each month for a monthly fee. Handsets are the expensive part of the deal for networks so by offering SIM-only deals they can offer much cheaper tariffs.

Another advantage of SIM-only deals is that in some cases you only have to commit to a minimum of a month rather than the 12 or 18 month minimum required by most pay-monthly deals.

According to price comparison site, mobile users can save up to £150 a year by switching to a SIM-only deal. looked at an example of a consumer on a 75 minutes and 200 texts package paying £24 per month.

By switching at the end of their contract to a SIM-only package with the same provider offering 300 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited calls to landlines, they could cut their bill to £11.55 a month, saving £12.45 a month (or around £150 a year).

Best buy SIM-only deals at the moment include Virgin Mobile which offers 200 minutes and 200 texts for £10 a month and O2 which offers 100 minutes and unlimited texts also for £10 a month.

Heavier users can get 300 minutes and unlimited texts for £18 a month with Virgin Mobile or 200 minutes and unlimited texts for £15 a month with Orange.

Depending on your view the only downside to SIM-only deals is that you do have to provide the phone.  However it can be a good choice if your existing phone works perfectly well or you want a specific phone that isn’t available as an upgrade with your existing provider. 

You’ll also need to make sure the handset is not locked on to a particular network. If it is – and you want to use a SIM card from a different network –you'll have to contact your mobile phone provider who will be able to unlock it for you.

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