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The best SIM only deals in 2024, based on the results our mobile network customer survey and our full reviews

A Voxi, Smarty and iD Mobile SIM card on a wooden table

We’ve rounded up the best SIM only deals from the finest mobile networks, based on our in-depth reviews and survey of thousands of customers

The best SIM only deals can be tricky to find: mobile networks like to bombard potential customers, or returning ones, with attention-grabbing discounts and freebies. Plus, how do you know you’ll be getting good value for money? That’s where I come in.

Below, I’ve used my years of experience as a deals-hunter to collect all of the best SIM offers in one place. There’s something for every budget and type of user here – from TikTok addicts and speed demons to those who just need a fuss-free plan that won’t cost the earth.

And you can rest assured that you’ll be getting a good service: I’ve used our wide range of in-depth mobile network reviews and the results of our annual Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards, in which we surveyed over 4,000 members of the public, as a guide. If a mobile network hasn’t received a positive write-up from us, I won’t recommend its SIM only deal.

If you’re not sure where to start, scroll down to my buying guide at the bottom of the page, where I’ve put together a list of questions you should ask yourself before taking the plunge. You’ll also find more details on how I hunt down the best deals further down the page.

Featured deal

Award-winning Voxi is serving up 35GB (was 30GB) of 5G data for £15/mth on a rolling, one-month contract – plus unlimited use of social media, video and music apps.

View deal at Voxi


Best SIM only deals: At a glance

Best overall dealVoxiView deal at Voxi
Best cheap dealiD MobileView deal at iD Mobile
Best unlimited dealSmartyView deal at Smarty
Fastest dealEEView deal at EE
Best for customer serviceTesco MobileView deal at Tesco Mobile

The best SIM only deals you can sign up for in 2024

1. Voxi: The best SIM only deal overall

Price: £15/mth | View deal at Voxi

Data35GB (was 30GB), plus unlimited use of social media, video and music apps
Price per gigabyte43p
Unlimited calls/textsYes
Plan length30 days
Percentage of existing customers who would recommend Voxi*92%
Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsNovember 2023
Mid-contract price increasesNo

*According to the results of the Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards 2023 survey

Pros

Voxi is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses Vodafone’s network and it’s fair to say I’m a big fan. Not only did we give it five stars out of five and a rare Best Buy award in our full Voxi review, but the thousands of respondents to our latest Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards survey crowned it as the overall winner.

Our reviewer Stuart Andrews particularly liked Voxi’s head-turning deals – such as this one – unlimited extras, commitment-free plans, rock-solid reliability and excellent performance.

I’ve picked out one deal in particular that you should consider: 35GB of 5G data (up from the normal allowance of 30GB) for just £15/mth on a one-month plan that you can cancel at any time. Here’s the clincher, though: you’ll also get unlimited use of social media, video and music apps, including Instagram, TikTok, Twitter/X, YouTube, Netflix, Spotify and Apple Music. That means any social-scrolling, video-bingeing and tune-blasting you do via those apps won’t come out of your 35GB allocation.

Cons

The only gnats in the ointment were the fact that it’s slightly pricier than options further down this list and it charges for roaming abroad, although it’s hardly alone in that respect.

Read our full Voxi review


2. iD Mobile: The best cheap SIM only deal

Price: £10/mth | View deal at iD Mobile

Green iD Mobile SIM card on a wooden table

Data70GB
Price per gigabyte14p
Unlimited calls/textsYes
Plan length12 months
Percentage of customers who would recommend iD Mobile*79%
Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsNovember 2023
Mid-contract price increasesNo

*According to the Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards 2023 survey

Pros

iD Mobile is another MVNO that runs on Three’s network, which means you’ll be getting great 5G speeds and coverage – alongside dirt-cheap, short-term offers. In our most recent iD Mobile review, we awarded it a more-than-respectable four stars out of a possible five, but no extra Expert Reviews award (see Cons section below).

Our reviewer praised iD Mobile’s budget-friendly outlook, superb 5G performance, useful data rollover feature and free roaming in the EU up to a generous 30GB. I’ve picked out a top iD Mobile deal for you: 70GB for £10/mth on a 12-month contract. What’s more, I’m happy to recommend a longer-term plan here because iD Mobile has promised “to lock the price of your SIM only plan, so it doesn’t go up mid-contract with annual price rises” – unlike many of its rivals.

Cons

Customer service was a negative. As we explained, “just 17% of customers told us they were very satisfied with iD Mobile [in our Mobile Network Awards], with an additional 36% fairly satisfied”. That’s well behind other networks on this list.

Read our full iD Mobile review


3. Smarty: The best SIM only deal with unlimited data

Price: £16/mth (was £20/mth) | View deal at Smarty

Black Smarty SIM card on a wooden table

DataUnlimited
Price per gigabyteN/A
Unlimited calls/textsYes
Plan length30 days
Percentage of customers who would recommend Smarty*92%
Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsNovember 2023
Mid-contract price increasesNo

*According to the Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards 2023 survey

Pros

We’ve been big admirers of Smarty for a few years now – and so have the respondents to our annual Mobile Network Awards survey. In our most recent Smarty review, we awarded the Three-powered MVNO four stars out of five and an Expert Reviews Recommended gong, which was backed up by its second-place finish in the awards.

It’s not hard to see why we like Smarty so much: it serves up great-value deals with lots of data, its 5G performance is up there with the best, and its free EU roaming allowance of 30GB is one of the most generous around.

So, if – like me – you want the peace of mind that comes with an unlimited deal, this is simply the best around: bottomless 5G data for just £16/mth on a rolling, 30-day plan that you can cancel whenever you like. That’s a whopping 20% down from its usual price of £20/mth, but get in there quickly because the offer is unlikely to be around for long.

Cons

The only thing that stood between Smarty and five stars was that its customer-satisfaction scores were down from the dizzy heights of 81% last year, although 63% of users still said they were happy with the customer support they received.

Read our full Smarty review


4. EE: The fastest SIM only deal

Price: £36/mth | View deal at EE

A blue EE SIM card on a wooden table

DataUnlimited
Price per gigabyteN/A
Unlimited calls/textsYes
Plan length30 days
Percentage of customers who would recommend EE*69%
Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsNovember 2023
Mid-contract price increasesYes

*According to the Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards 2023 survey

Pros

If you’ve got a need for speed, look no further than EE. It’s been the fastest mobile network in the country for over ten years now, although Three is gaining ground and the MVNOs are undermining it on value. Nevertheless, our latest in-depth EE review gave the veteran network four stars out of a possible five and an Expert Reviews Recommended award.

The author of our review, Stuart Andrews, found a lot to like about EE: its blistering 5G and 4G speeds, nationwide coverage, impressive customer service and a wide selection of genuinely useful extras.

My pick of the EE SIM-only deals is the all-singing, all-dancing Unlimited Max offer for £36/mth on a rolling, 30-day plan, which comes without a speed cap. There’s no denying that it’s pricey, but you’ll be getting the SIM equivalent of a Formula 1 racing car to pop into your phone.

Cons

The price is a major sticking point as EE’s plans are vastly more expensive than those from, for instance, Smarty and iD Mobile. As we explained, “it is unquestionably… a premium option, and many users might find that the cheaper, virtual networks go fast enough while costing a whole lot less”.

What’s more, I’ve decided to only include one-month plans that you can cancel at any time here because, like many of its competitors, EE has decided to introduce mid-contract price hikes every March by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus an extra 3.9%.

Read our full EE review


5. Tesco Mobile: The best SIM only deal for customer service

Price: £12.50/mth (£11/mth with Tesco Clubcard) | View deal at Tesco Mobile

A blue and white Tesco Mobile SIM card on a wooden table

Data30GB
Price per gigabyte42p
Unlimited calls/textsYes
Plan length24 months
Percentage of customers who would recommend Tesco Mobile*86%
Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsNovember 2023
Mid-contract price increasesYes (without Clubcard)

*According to the Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards 2023 survey

Pros

Tesco Mobile is an MVNO running on O2’s network and has truly embraced the parent company’s motto of “every little helps” – especially when it comes to customer service. In our most recent, full-length Tesco Mobile review, we garlanded it with four stars out of five and an Recommended award after it took home the Best Customer Service silverware at our yearly Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards.

In particular, we highlighted Tesco Mobile’s free roaming in the EU (a real rarity nowadays), solid reliability results, superb customer service and tasty discounts for Tesco Clubcard holders in our review.

The deal I’ve picked out here gets you 30GB of 5G-compatible data for £12.50/mth on a two-year contract, but that will fall to £11/mth if you’ve signed up for a Tesco Clubcard. Moreover, Clubcard owners will be immune to any mid-contract price increases for the full 24 months, while those without one will be subject to price hikes every April of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation plus an additional 3.9%. Luckily, signing up for a Clubcard is free.

Cons

The main question marks were over performance, with both 4G and 5G speeds not matching those of its competitors. Meanwhile, 5G coverage is still patchy, but it’s steadily improving.

Read our full Tesco Mobile review


6. Lebara: The best SIM only deal for calling abroad

Price: £15/mth | View deal at Lebara

A blue Lebara SIM card on a wooden table

Data30GB
Price per gigabyte50p
Unlimited calls/textsYes, plus 500 international minutes
Plan length30 days
Percentage of customers who would recommend Lebara*95%
Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsNovember 2023
Mid-contract price increasesYes

*According to the Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards 2023 survey

Pros

It might not have the name recognition of other networks on this list, but Lebara has been going from strength to strength over the past few years. An MVNO running on Vodafone’s network, it’s tailor-made for those wanting to stay in touch with friends and family abroad, while being able to use up all of their data allowance in the EU and India (or up to 30GB if you’re on an unlimited plan). In our latest Lebara review, we gave it four stars out of five and an Expert Reviews Recommended award.

We singled out its bargain 30-day plans – of which this is a prime example – as well as its bundling of hundreds of international minutes and free roaming for praise in our review. We concluded overall that “as a cheap and cheerful mobile network, Lebara has a lot to give”.

This is my pick of its SIM-only deals at the moment: 30GB of 5G data for £15/mth on a rolling, 30-day plan that you can change or cancel whenever you like – plus 500 international minutes to 42 countries, including the EU, India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and Ukraine.

Cons

We did have questions about its lacklustre customer service scores in the Expert Reviews Mobile Network Awards survey and inconsistent performance.

Read our full Lebara review


Where are the other mobile networks?

You might have noticed a few glaring omissions, such as Vodafone, from my list. Simply put, this is because I’m not happy to recommend these mobile networks based on their most recent in-depth reviews on our site and the results of our annual Best Mobile Network Awards survey. Below, you’ll find a quick rundown of why they didn’t make the cut, along with links to our reviews

1. Three: Fast 5G, but poor customer service

Appropriately, we gave Three three stars out of our five in our latest review. Despite being impressed by both its 5G speeds and coverage, we couldn’t look past its mediocre customer service in our Best Mobile Network Awards. As we explained, “just 19% of Three users told us they were very satisfied with their customer service, with only 37% fairly satisfied”.

Read our full Three review


2. Vodafone: Nice extras, but so-so performance

It was a similar story with Vodafone, which is apt given that there’s a plan to merge it with Three in the future. We awarded it three stars out of five, praising its feature-packed bundles and flexible phone deals while drawing attention to its middle-of-the-road performance and disappointing customer satisfaction scores.

Read our full Vodafone review


3. O2: Doesn’t justify the high price

There are a lot of positives about O2: you can tailor contracts to your specific needs, there are plenty of handy extras and you get free EU roaming up to 25GB. However, all of that is undermined by the above-average prices, the poor customer service results and the fact that you can get faster speeds elsewhere. This led to a verdict of three stars out of five in our review.

Read our full O2 review


How does Expert Reviews find the best SIM only deals for you?

Tesco Mobile, Smarty and Voxi SIM cards on a wooden table next to a nano SIMAs deals editor at Expert Reviews, there’s nothing I like more than digging out a SIM only offer that will save you money without any compromises. Below, I’ve briefly outlined the method I use, but I’ve also written about it in more detail at this dedicated page.

Have we given the mobile network a good review?

Like a certain wood-stain brand, Expert Reviews does exactly what it says on the tin. We gather together experts in their fields to produce in-depth reviews – and mobile networks are no exception. That means every deal you see above will be based on the write-up we’ve given it in the past, as well as the results of our annual Mobile Network Awards customer survey. If a mobile network isn’t up to snuff or we haven’t reviewed it, I won’t recommend one of its offers.

Is there something for everyone?

At Expert Reviews, we realise that one person’s bargain is another person’s splurge, particularly in these financially tricky times. Consequently, I’ll always make sure that there’s a range of different deals for every budget in the roundup – as well as covering the other options from the same provider in a table beneath the mini-reviews.

Are there any hidden catches?

Although mobile networks are meant to flag any hidden fees or rises as obviously as possible, it can still be easy to stumble into a trap. That’s especially true for the new mid-contract price hikes, which involve certain networks increasing prices by a set amount every year (usually the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus an extra 3.9%).

To put it mildly, these aren’t great and, wherever possible, I’ll avoid recommending any deal that will become more expensive as time passes. However, if one does make the list, I’ll always be transparent in the mini-review and justify its inclusion.


How to pick the best SIM only deal for you

Not sure where to begin with my list of recommended SIM-only deals above? I’ve put together a quick, jargon-free, checklist below that will answer all of the major questions.

What is a mobile virtual mobile operator (MVNO)?

Mobile virtual mobile operators (or MVNOs, to avoid the mouthful) are simply smaller networks that piggyback on one of the four major ones: EE, Three, Vodafone and O2.

For instance, Voxi uses Vodafone’s network, while Smarty and iD Mobile make use of Three’s. MVNOs tend to be much better value than one of the giants, offering shorter-term plans that you can escape at any time.

READ NEXT: How to avoid price hikes with an MVNO

How much data do you need?

This depends on how much you use your phone when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. If you only do a spot of browsing and listening to music on your commute, 20GB to 50GB should be enough.

If, on the other hand, you like to devour Netflix, play games and use your phone as a personal hotspot for your laptop, you’ll need a big data plan such as 100GB or unlimited. Luckily, these are now affordable and often represent the best value.

At the other end of the scale, I’d recommend steering clear of any data plan under 10GB – unless you’re sure it will be enough.

How long should the contract be?

Most SIM-only contracts generally last 12 months, but some networks are now offering compelling deals that sign you up for 18 months or two years. You can save some money by going for a longer-term plan, but you should always double-check if there are any mid-contract price hikes as, unfortunately, these are increasingly common.

You can also pick up rolling, one-month plans from the likes of Voxi and Smarty, which are both excellent mobile networks at the top of my list. These allow you to wriggle out whenever you like and jump to a better deal.

What speeds can you get?

Huge swathes of the UK can now get faster 5G speeds, but there are pockets where 4G is still the speediest option. To find out what you can get, you can either select one of the deals above and use the mobile network’s own coverage checker or use Ofcom’s tool for a general overview.

How much roaming is included?

Sadly, the days of being able to use all of your call, text and data allowance in the EU are gone. Instead, some mobile networks charge a daily fee to roam in Europe, while others let you roam for free up to a daily cap.

If you’re heading further afield, expect to pay a lot more, although, as we explain in our roundup of the best roaming SIM only deals, there are exceptions.

Read more

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