Dan Howdle | February 1st, 2024
So you're looking for a new SIM to go into your existing phone or tablet and you've just discovered there are literally hundreds of them about. What's the best deal? Is such-and-such a good provider? Should you get a bare-bones cheap-as-chips SIM or something with a few more comfortable extras? What about 5G? Do you really need it? The world of SIM only deals is far more confusing than it has any right to be.
Sure, you could go poring through endless comparison tables (we have plenty of those) trying to hone down which SIM is the best right now for your particular needs, but why bother? After decades looking at SIM deals, we can sniff out the best deals for particular use cases with ease. And that's what this article is all about. So let's take a look at the best out there right now.
|Best overall SIM
|iD Mobile 120GB SIM: £12p/m
|Best unlimited data SIM
|Lycamobile Unlimited Data SIM: £15p/m
|Best budget SIM
|Lebara Mobile 5GB 5G SIM: £4.50p/m
|Best 5G SIM
|SMARTY Unlimited SIM: £18p/m
|Best data only SIM
|O2 100GB data-only SIM: £19p/m
Network: 4G & 5G coverage | Free Apple TV+ | No contract
In terms of the best SIM we could find, it all came down to striking a balance between data limits, the speed and reliability of the network, and price. 120GB is an enormous amount of data, so although unlimited SIMs are all the fashion these days, 120GB is such a vast amount of data for a phone to use in a month it might as well be unlimited. This deal has unlimited minutes and texts and comes with free access to Apple TV+, Apple Music and Apple Arcade. iD Mobile operates on the Three network.
Network: 4G & 5G coverage | EU roaming included | No credit checks | No contracts
This deal from Lycamobile is second to none in the burgeoning market for unlimited data SIMs. Not only does it offer unlimited everything, including 5G data, it also offers free roaming to EU countries and 100 minutes of calls abroad to certain select countries. Furthermore, there's no contract, meaning you can cancel anytime – a privilege you'll usually pay a premium for with other SIMs. Lycamobile is on the O2 network, which offers excellent 4G and 5G data coverage and speeds.
Network: 4G & 5G coverage | No mid-contract price rise | Free EU & India roaming | Capped spend
This new deal from Lebara is redefining 'cheap SIM' at a meagre £4.50 per month. For the price of a coffee, you can get 5GB of data – yes, okay, that's not a lot, but for anyone spending most of their time at home or in the office, on wifi, it's going to be plenty. Minutes and texts are limited to 1,000 of each, and while limits are relatively unusual, few people will exceed those limits. This SIM is a fantastic way to save some money. Just be sure your usage can fit happily within those confines.
Network: 4G & 5G coverage | EU roaming included | No credit checks | No speed caps
At £16 per month and a 1-month contract you can leave any time, it's just incredibly hard to beat, no matter the criteria. iD Mobile uses the Three network, so 5G coverage is copious. You should still use Three's coverage checker, though, if you're not sure 5G is available where you live.
Network: 4G & 5G coverage | EU roaming included | Six months free Apple Music
O2's 100GB data SIM is our current top pick. It's among the cheapest out there for that sort of monthly data – 100GB – and importantly includes free roaming data within the EU. The latter is a feature that many will find useful when you consider these SIMs will be going in a tablet or laptop. Now, this one does come on a 24-month contract so do bear that in mind. If you want a no-contract data SIM you're going to be paying more for the privilege, with the advantage you can leave anytime. O2 also has a version of this SIM on a no-contract basis, but it currently costs £30 per month. You can follow the link below to find that one too.
Not happy with your choices? Well, fill your boots and feel free to use our extensive SIM comparison tools to find the right SIM just for you. Before you do, though, here are some things to consider to help you find what you're looking for and avoid any pitfalls:
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