In most cases you will find that you will be saving money with a SIM-only contract. Here are some example scenarios to help you understand where savings can be made:
Scenario 1 - You already have a phone and want to switch to a SIM-only deal.
With this example you will have already own a mobile phone from an old or existing mobile contract. The cost of the phone has already been paid for in this situation so we do not need to include this when calculating the total saving.
Let's assume your current price plan is with Three and gives you 600 minutes, Unlimited Texts and 1GB of data for £36 a month ( a typical mobile tariff ). Now, this may have been a good deal because you got a phone with it a couple of years ago but now you have the opportunity to get a similar ( or better ) plan for a much cheaper monthly cost.
Having a quick search of the current SIM-only contracts you will find several contracts that have around the same minutes, texts and data for anywhere between £10 and £15 a month.
Now for the basic maths:
If you were to continue on your current contract for the next year your total cost would be: £36 a month x 12 months = £432.
Using a SIM-only plan on a mid-range 12-month contract would cost you: £15 a month x 12 months = £180.
Therefore your total saving for a year would be £432 - £180 = £252. This is a very significant saving just by keeping your phone and switching to a SIM-only deal!
Scenario 2 - You are going to buy a phone outright:
In this example you have either already bought a new phone outright on PAYG or SIM-Free or are going to purchase it. Let's assume you want to get the iPhone 6
and you want to find out whether it's cheaper to get it on contract or SIM-free with a SIM-only.
Now, this situation is a little more complex than the first scenario as we need to take into consideration the cost of the device itself as well as the total cost of getting the phone on a typical 24-month contract. This is what we call the total cost of ownership or TCO if you like acronyms. :)
If you are looking to get an iPhone 6 with Vodafone for example, the cheapest tariff on a 24-month contract starts at £36 a month with a handset cost of £99 a month. With this deal you get 500 mins, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. With Vodafone SIM-only
you can a cheaper monthly tariff for only £14 a month on a 12-month contract and get 900 minutes with 1GB of data.
This is a superb deal however, we still need to factor in the cost of the iPhone 6 and we all know that it's pretty expensive. The 16GB version has a retail cost £459.
Now for the maths:
The TCO for your mobile contract is: £149 + (£33 a month x 24 months) = £963 over 2 years
The TCO for your SIM Free iPhone 6 and SIM-only is: £459 + (£14 a month x 24 months) = £795 over 2 years.
In this scenario you would save £168 over 2 years. A significant amount.
By switching to an even cheaper deal you will save a lot more money so it's important to make sure you are getting the right plan. Many people do not use the entirety of their allowance each month. The savings in this type of scenario are also dependant on the cost of the phone.
For more examples play around with the figures in the boxes above to see what your savings could be.
Once you've decided you're definitely going to get a SIM-only contract, you can compare all the cheapest deals over on our comparison search page.