Sometimes it is the case that we have already acquired the phone of our dreams, or at least a phone that is good enough, fast enough and modern enough to run the latest iOS operating system. This is the time to question whether you really need to upgrade your phone handset and get new phone hardware or not.
If you own your phone outright and are out of contract with your network, the clear alternative which will usually provide lower ongoing monthly costs is the Sim Only option.
Sim Only, or SIMO deals as the phone Networks often describe them are just that. Only the Sim Card itself is under contract, and of course a Sim Card can be put into any phone at all – as long as the phone handset is unlocked from any Network, or the Sim Card is from the Same Network that the Phone is locked to.
I.e. When a phone is locked to the 3 Network for example, it would only be possible to use a Sim only contract that is also from the 3 Network. This means that if you currently own a 3 Network phone that is out of contract then you need to get a 3 Network Sim Only or ‘SIMO’ deal to use with that phone.
Of course, if your phone is unlocked - which your existing Network can do for you remotely once you are out of Contract with them, you can buy a SIMO or ‘Sim Only’ deal from any Network and use that.
There is one main consideration with the Sim Only deal and that is ’which type or size of Sim Card should I use?’
This depends on the actual model of iPhone that you have as the different phone models use different Sim types.
Fortunately we have a guide to Sim Types to make it easy to identify which Sim Type you need for your iPhone. Over the years Sim’s have got smaller and we now have the older Standard sim size, the smaller Micro-sim size and the even smaller Nano-Sim size.
This guide will help you identify your correct Sim size for the iPhone that you have whether it be the iPhone 3gs, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s or the latest iPhone 5c range.
The only anomaly here is that often Sim Cards are described as ‘Combi’ or a ‘Combi-Sim’. A Combi Sim is simply one that can be used as all three types - a Standard, Micro or Nano Sim, which means that it is all three sims in one. This is achieved by the card having cut-outs so that the Sim type you need can be popped out of the card. If that is confusing, see the picture below:
So now that you have decided which is the Sim type for you it now remains to choose the Best Sim Only contract for your iPhone.
As ever, each iPhone owner is different and although the iPhone was designed with the Internet and Data in mind some people do not use their iPhone email, download music from the iPhone store or browse the Internet as much as others while on the go.
Clearly you only need to use the Networks data allowance when you are out of range of Wi-Fi, because you can switch on the Wi-Fi function on your phone and use that instead at usually no charge at home or in a store.
Using Wi-Fi on the phone will drain the battery more quickly though, and this is the main advantage of using Network Data – extended battery life.
If you are one of those people that only occasionally uses theses type of data services on your iPhone away from W-Fi (i.e. in your car or another remote location with no Wi-Fi) then you can usually get the cheapest Sim Only iPhone Deals because often data usage is the most expensive portion of an iPhone SIM Only contract.
You can therefore look for deals with 0.5GB, 1GB or even 2GB of data which will be more than enough for casual and infrequent data usage per month. (I.e. Casual email, browsing and downloading per month) as most of the time you will be using your Wi-Fi connection to do all these things.
Next up is the amount of Voice calls that you make and people who use less data are likely to be talkers instead so will use their iPhone for making lots of voice phone calls. All Networks describe this as the number of Minutes or Minutes Allowance available in the plan or contract.
Clearly the higher number of minutes, the better for the voice conversation-heavy iPhone user but it can be useful to divide the Networks stated Minutes Allowance by 30 as the numbers are usually giver per month. When you divide the Minutes Allowance by 30 you end up with a guide to how many minutes per day is in the Allowance, assuming that you use the same amount each day.
So for example a Monthly Minutes Allowance of 300 on an iPhone deal will be the equivalent of 10 minutes per day. This is calculated by dividing the iPhone deal Monthly allowance by the average number of days in the month. So 300 minutes divided by 30 days will equal 10 minutes per day.
The last attribute of a cheap iPhone deal to consider is the Texts allowance. This tends to be the cheapest part of an iPhone contract as most Networks are giving away their texts very cheaply.
The rise of Apps like WhatsApp which offer free international text messages have reduced the value of Texts down to almost nothing for the phone networks, so it should be possible to get a high Texts allowance with any of the best iPhone deals available here.